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Adam Barley

Adam Barley
Abby Duran December 19, 2022

The goal of every creative is to “thrive as an artist." However, for Adam Barley, being an artist means being alive. “Everything I've been through," he recalls, “comes back to this vision." Between college, diving into the culinary world, and recovering from substance abuse, Barley reclaimed the defining moments of living through music.

He presents his new profound outlook under his stage name, Aphelyon. As this moniker suggests, Barley separates himself from the furthest driving point of mainstream media. Yet he brilliantly released a self-titled track as a wordless introduction. His guitar replicates his former and present self, navigating internal discovery in a cosmic environment we can't always seem to understand.

After multiple scares with drugs and alcohol, Barley began to piece together moments leading up to his pivotal turn. Through his culinary creations and musical mission, these moments are his “fuel for living."

Barley attended Jefferson City's Carson-Newman for music education and Nashville's Belmont University for a graduate degree in vocal performance. “I loved music at a young age," he recollects, “but I didn't know what to do with it." He was particularly drawn to the art of opera and intensely studied the human voice. In conjunction, he mastered the guitar, piano, and songwriting, which he teaches outside the stage and studio.

During his studies, he gained the value of a work ethic from an unlikely source. From waiting tables to cooking, Barley “fell in love with the industry." Culinary craft became “cathartic" and “a welcomed break." Eventually, Barley found mindfulness in the madness of working at a three-star Michelin restaurant in Manhattan. By throwing himself into an area of intense focus and combining his love for music, Barley has been able to stay sober since the age of 17.

In 2014 Barley returned to South Carolina. “Charleston is a great bed for inspiration. The outpour of music became healing, grounding, and clarifying." However, he recognizes that diverse music rarely resonates with Charleston residents. Yet, this disconnect doesn't stop him from pursuing his purpose or hindering his passion. He performs at eclectic venues with DysFUNKtion, and tours along the east coast. Furthermore, he has teamed up with the earthy rhythms of musician Graham Whorley for a massive global project yet to be announced.

His area of focus, as a solo artist, is combining Adam and his alias Aphelyon to fuse two melodious worlds. “The guitar is my primary instrument," he affirms. With the capability to hear compositions within a single piece of music, Barley's classically trained ear allows him to blend guitar melodies with electronic harmonies-harmonies that led him to the downtempo trip-hop artist, Emancipator.

“I resonated with the entirety of what he was doing. I could hear all the compositional aspects. It made sense to me. It was the perfect inspiration for my soul. To emerge all my musical being in that one place."

Although Aphelyon's aspirations stem from another artist, it's more about pursuing the ability of artistic independence. Artists such as Emancipator bring freedom to fruition and successfully combine an individual's perspective with sharing via studio, streaming, or stage. Aphelyon's style blends an outer electronic atmosphere with the very relatable chords of the guitar. Barley captures an audience that otherwise places all electronic artists in the category of pushing buttons and thumping sounds.

“My art is everything to me," Barley reiterates. “It's authentically and thoroughly how I express my feelings and who I am." If he were to write a book, it would appropriately be titled “How to Emote Through Art." What makes this musician stand out from the moment you meet him to his emanating stage presence is his “love for life" and goal to “bring it to everyone." His mantra stems from the “foundation of a love of being alive daily."

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