Adrian Chalifour begins solo career with an open heart

The Peak sits down with the Victoria-based musician to talk about his new music and his inspirations

Victoria musician Adrian Chaliflour performs July 31 for the Festival of Lights at English Bay.

By: Kelly Chia, Staff Writer

Adrian Chalifour, an artist and performer from Victoria, B.C., is debuting as a solo performer and touring this summer. He recently released his single, “Open Heart“, a song dedicated to a certain type of person that we all know, he says. It’s about that friend who’s the first to fall in love and the last to let go, the first to step forward and give and the last to ask anything in return. 

I had the chance to sit down and talk with him over the phone, and got to discuss how much Chalifour is motivated by these moments written straight from the heart.

Chalifour has been performing originals for over 15 years at various festivals, like Canadian Music Week and Indie Week. Coming from being the frontman for Towers and Trees, it’s important to Chalifour for his single and solo project to be under his name. 

Chalifour wanted to put his whole original self out in his music, saying that putting his own name on his newest album, Joy, gave him the certainty that it was truly his sound. He really wants to make connecting with his audience a priority. While talking to him, I found that was the point he drove home; Chalifour seemed humble and truly steadfast when he spoke about his music.

Music is a hobby, he says. On top of writing and performing music, Chalifour also works a full-time job and is a father of a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. He adds that he tries to make time for music on weekends and dedicates Mondays to work on music professionally. Becoming a dad has changed how he views music in his life. He says that one of the tropes of becoming a parent is that once you become a parent, you hang up your hobbies. He says he wrestled with a lot with uncertainty before his daughter was born, worrying about how it was going to change him. But he remembers how minutes after holding his daughter, he realized that nothing needed to change. If anything, like creating music under his own name, he’s been able to be as much himself as possible.

When talking about “Open Heart,” Chalifour expressed how he wanted to use his platform to give space to stories outside his own. For the star of the video, Chalifour wanted someone completely different from him. The videographer, Shiraz from Made You Look media, directed him to drag royalty James “Jimbo” Insell. Chalifour knew that he was perfect for the role. Choreographed by Monique from Raino Dance, Jimbo shines in the video, a vibrant symbol of colour in the bleak room. As the video progresses, the dancers become less muted and share Jimbo’s contagious happiness. It’s a fun, insistent look into how love can feel: fast-paced, and an absolute rush to your brain.

Another song that Chalifour released recently was “The Dark”. The lyrics level with the uncertainty of life (the dark) but emphasizes that we shouldn’t run away from it. His voice has a uniquely raspy, yet clear quality. Even just from this video, I know Chalifour told me the truth about what music meant to him. His passionate stage presence is charismatic and honest, a genuine strive to connect to his audience. The music video is interspersed with footage of his old band, Towers and Trees, performing, emphasizing the connection between these two music projects. Chalifour remarks he doesn’t see this career change as the end of one thing or the beginning of another, but simply the next evolution: new constellations taking shape.

As we closed out our conversation, Chaliflour reflects that he doesn’t regret anything he’s done in music. Chalifour has an inspiringly determined belief in his art, something I so rarely have had the chance to see. In the brief time that we spent together, it was clear how much passion he put into his art. He gushed about it, but was also realistic about what it took for him to be able to do that. Having to fight really hard for your wins, and how your wins can’t just be commercial — which can sometimes feel like pushing a piano up the hill. 

I found myself learning from someone who had already established a long-term relationship with his craft, acknowledging the difficulties in it but still pursuing it to the best of his ability. Chalifour is focused on making his music speak, and it’s already beautifully evident in his work. I can only imagine what he’ll accomplish next.

You can catch Adrian Chalifour performing “Open Heart” at the Honda Celebration of Light on July 31st. His music is also available on all streaming platforms.