“This was one of the most generous, attentive, nourishing characters I’d ever met.” Adam Cohen On Acknowledging The Influence Of His Father, Leonard Cohen

You grew up with your father’s voice. You grew up with him writing. You grew up with him reading to you. You watched him backstage as he performed. Was it hard for you to find, like, your own voice, to recognize that his voice was a part of you, that it influenced you in the way that people have a right to be influenced by the people who they take in as they’re going through their formative years? Was it hard to acknowledge that influence in the same – and at the same time figure out who you were as a singer and songwriter?

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You know, I’m triggered to answer that in two ways. I mean, the first is to look at it statistically, you know? Statistically, I think in humanity, you know, Napoleon’s son, Frank Sinatra’s son – you know, it’s very, very difficult to capture people’s imaginations in the same way as one would if your name was Joe Smith – you know? – and you had no provenance. Statistically, the heirs of people who do great things can often not do great things as remarkably and in such a beloved way. There’s that. And then there’s the idea that – you know, that I grew up perhaps under this tyrannical shadow, this oppressive, tyrannical shadow. And it’s quite the contrary. I mean, this was one of the most generous, attentive, nourishing characters I’d ever met. He encouraged me up to the upper-sunniest branches of the family tree. And as I say, you know, I really do believe my story is far more of a success story, not just the instruction I got from a master, not just having his attention and encouragement and the example of his own life and work. But the great privilege of being invited – again, you know, having started in the mailroom of the family business, the great privilege that it was to end up at the penthouse, you know, making boardroom decisions with my boss.quotedown2

Adam Cohen

 

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