“We Should All Be More Like Meryl”
HE’S A MODEL AND ACTOR, MAKES BEAUTIFUL HOUSE MUSIC AND IS (ALMOST) BESTIES WITH MERYL STREEP. HELLO ADAM DAVENPORT! INTERVIEW BY MARC ANDREWS.
DNA: You’re gay, sexy and making electronic dance music. We need to know more.
Adam Davenport: I was a lonely kid who survived bullying by playing the piano. My ears consumed everything with a beat from Janet Jackson to Earth Wind And Fire. Dance music is part of the soundtrack of my identity and self-acceptance.
We love a bit of old-skool Janet Jackson!
Janet’s albums Rhythm Nation and The Velvet Rope were monumental in my journey to accept myself as a young, gay, black man growing up in Chicago. She sang about homophobia, racism, AIDS and self-love on pop/dance tracks and I was blown away to learn the genre could be used to convey a message.
How do your real life experiences inspire your music?
My debut, My Return Address Is You was inspired in the aftermath of a two-week romance during my first summer in NYC. Dance music has always represented freedom and inclusion. On the dance floor, all are welcome regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual identity. The beat makes the people come together. What’s your Beyonce connection?
I sent Shanica [Beyonce’s cousin] a message on Instagram after I watched some of her YouTube videos. I pitched her My Return Address Is You and she agreed to collaborate. I would definitely work with her again. And Björk.
Is Frank Ocean a hero for you?
I admire and respect what he’s doing but wouldn’t consider him an influence.
Are you aiming to be the next Calvin Harris?
I’m aiming to be the first Adam Davenport! I’ve loved Calvin since I Created Disco and his music has inspired me but comparisons aren’t so healthy for the ego and expectations can be a trap that set you up.
When will we hear you sing on a record?
I sound like a Disney character when I sing. It wouldn’t work for the type of music I’m making.
You’re also a working actor. How did you get into that?
I moved to New York two years ago, shot the cover of a local gay magazine, and that got me signed to a company representing fitness models. Within six months I was supporting myself solely from acting and modelling. And now you’re in our favourite TV show, High Maintenance.
Love that! Look for me in the first episode of the new season.
We hear you and Meryl Streep have a thing going, too! I’m all about Meryl Streep! I wrote her a letter when I was in college and she responded with a handwritten note a week later. We should all strive to be more like Meryl Streep.
When did you come out?
I was 13 when my parents found photos of naked men I had saved on the computer. There were some sessions with a conversion therapist. Self-acceptance can be difficult when your own family attempts to change you. I carried huge feelings of shame and inadequacy and took nearly two decades for me to learn to love myself. Today, I’m happy my parents have come a long way in their acceptance of me as a human being.
Being an openly gay artist, do you feel the responsibly to be a role model?
Absolutely. All artists have an opportunity to use their voices to influence or inspire in some way. Belonging to two marginalised communities, I understand that our differences should make us feel beautiful, rather than be a reason to hate or belittle one another.
Are you romantically attached?
Yes, I have an amazing boyfriend. Every day I learn from him what it means to be in a meaningful relationship with someone who you care about and who inspires you.
Do you have a workout regime?
I try to commit to 4 to 5 times a week, 60 to 90 minute workouts, focusing on a different body part for each workout. I don’t do cardio because I’ve always been lean. What do you wear at the beach?
Shorts that are very short and bright with sunglasses from Anne And Valentin.
Where’s the best place for people to keep track of your career?
Facebook or Instagram. I try to be transparent, sharing my journey on social media so others might be motivated by the hustle.
Our differences should make us feel beautiful rather than be a reason to hate or belittle one another.