Seven Questions w/ Neo-Soul Songstress Adeline
Above image by Morgan Wiley
When we last heard from Adeline in May of 2020, she was just about to release her debut EP Intérimes, smack in the middle of an escalating pandemic. But rather than focus on the fear and anxiety all around us, she instead spoke of rising above and finding creative inspiration in isolation. In a matter of weeks, she had taught herself how to conceptualize and direct her own videos, immediately resulting in the stark but sultry clip for ‘Twilight,’ a track that came off like Sade as filtered through classic ’70s soul. She’s done five more videos since then.
Of course, nearly a year-and-a-half later, neither she nor anyone else could have expected we’d still be doing battle with this deadly beast of a virus. But the impressively self-possessed Franco-Caribe songstress (who previously fronted NYC cult nu-disco stalwarts Escort) has kept on keeping on, and is preparing to release her second EP, intriguingly titled ADI OASIS, this Friday, September 10. Tracks that standout immediately include the elegantly cool ‘Whisper My Name’, and the sensual, retro R&B gem ‘Eternity’, featuring a guest appearance by Dutch up-and-comer Joshua J.
With more than a half-million monthly streams on Spotify, Adeline seems destined to be one of the post-COVID era’s genuine rising stars. So before she blows up, we slowed her down long enough for a chat about living in quarantine, soaking up inspiration, and just exactly what ‘Adi Oasis’ means.
You stayed very busy writing and recording during the pandemic. Ultimately, how would you describe the experience?
In short, I realized that I had been living in quarantine for years already, haha. I’m trying to find some humor in this obviously, but it’s true that my daily life didn’t change dramatically because I was fortunate enough to still be able to go to the studio everyday. Now that shows have come back, I realize that last year allowed me to live the unique experience of making music without having to juggle schedules. That was all I had to do, all day, every day.
There’s a slightly exuberant quality to the singles ‘Whisper My Name’ and ‘Eternity’ – what was your state of mind when making the new EP?
I made this EP in the midst of discovering a deeper connection to the reason why I make music. Being stripped down of everything besides the essentials, I felt even more in touch. Between the pandemic and the social-political context we were living in, I understood that making music was not only my passion but my duty. People need art to help soothe them, and the world needs art to write down history; and artists need to make art when they go through hardship. I didn’t have many fans at the time, but I actually understood that it didn’t matter, either. Even if I could touch two people, that was huge for me. Music is not only a hustle and a dream but my form of expression.
What does ‘Adi Oasis’ actually mean?
Adi Oasis is the person I become when I do anything related to music. My nickname is Adi, while the word “Oasis” came to me when doing some deep self-reflecting around what music means to me, and what I want to mean to the world surrounding me. It’s about the way I approach challenges, which was confirmed even more last year. In a bizarre way I thrive in hard times; I guess I visualize the oasis in the desert and I don’t stop running until I find it.
The music sounds a little bit 60s, a little bit 70s, a little bit 80s…like you can’t pinpoint its chronology. Is that intentional?
It’s not intentional, no. I draw inspiration from these three decades, so I guess it just comes out that way.
I don’t believe we invent anything, we just soak up and reinterpret, and I try not to plan too much when I create.
What were some of the things inspiring you while you were writing and recording?
My personal life, personal challenges, New York City, the Black Lives Matter movement, the desire to see the world get better, love, trees, people holding hands, people with great style. People.
How did you come to be your own video producer? And will you now produce videos for other artists?
I started doing it because it was either figure it out on my own or [have] no video at all. Since we were in a time where everybody was making content DIY, it trimmed away my fear of not making something good enough. Everyone’s standards were lowered a bit, I got in the flow of it, and grew to really enjoy it. I’m not sure I’m qualified enough to work for other people, but if I had the opportunity it would be super fun.
When your EP is released we will have been living with COVID for a year-and-a-half. Do you hope that your songs can help uplift us in such a time as this?
Absolutely. That is my hope and my goal.