Welcome to a new website series, giving unsigned and independent artists the chance to participate in a written interview. This time, we speak to Sussex based solo artist Adalia. A relatively new name on the scene, she has just released her debut EP entitled Stray Hearts. As part of promotion for this EP, we sent her a series of questions relating to her journey, influence and production. Here’s what she had to say.
When did you start performing, and what were your influences?
I first started properly performing about 6 years ago with my old bands, an all girl rock group where I was the lead guitarist, and a heavier Avenged Sevenfold-esk back where I was vocalist. In both of these I learnt my love of writing and started become fascinated with artists such as Bowie, Black Veil Brides, Adam Ant, Queen – all these incredible performers who took things to a whole new level – the embodied different personas to help free themselves on stage. Looking at Freddie Mercury alone – a man who off stage was extremely introverted and shy yet is a phenomenal performer – as someone who loves the idea of performing yet can be slightly reserved when it comes to it (particularly as when I started uni my performing days, ironically, diminished) it was truly inspiring.
Although, as I said, I haven’t performed much recently, it has allowed me to focus on developing writing style, and more importantly create Adalia, who had been an idea in my head for roughly four years now. It’s liberating seeing her develop from a concept to someone I can’t wait to take out on stage.
When it comes to visualizing who I want to be next time I step onto a stage, I think of Billie Joe Armstrong’s (Green Day) energy, Andy Black’s presence and Mercury’s ability to let go.
How did the debut EP come together?
As I said, Adalia has been an idea I’ve been working on for quite some time now. The idea actually derives from a band called Madina Lake, they’re one of those bands who I listen to every song and go “I wish I wrote that”. The whole concept behind them and their records is incredible, and the kind of cross-media art that holds no boundaries. I fell in love with it so much that it made me realize that’s the kind of artist I am, I thrive off narratives and concepts. As soon as I had figured all the nitty gritty regarding that the rest happened almost seamlessly. I had story in my head. All I had to do was write it. I’m a lyrics first kind of songwriter so naturally that’s how most of the tracks were done. I recorded basic versions – acoustic guitar, piano chords and vocals, then sent them to my hand-selected musicians – people I knew and looked up to, but most importantly people I knew who would push me to be my best. From there we hit the rehearsals rooms and played around until they sounded like full songs.
There is some fantastic musicianship on this ep, who and how?
The musicians on this EP are incredible and some of the nicest people you will every meet! So happy someone else has picked up on that, and without them this wouldn’t have been possible, so let me introduce you to them:
- Kieran Philbin – lead guitar, ebow
I had worked with Kieran a couple of times, such a lovely guy! I chose him because I knew he would treat the songs as if they were his own, but also he always has these weird quirky ideas that no one could ever think of.
- Matty Halliwell – Piano; Synth
I’ve known this guy for years and, to date, he is still the best pianist I know. He has a way of playing that is you can just hear the emotion in it. Plus, being one of my old friends he is one of the most honest people I know, and I can always trust him to give me his professional opinion when it comes to lyrics and arrangement.
- Ollie Summers – Bass
The way Ollie plays bass is his personality to a tee – fun and slightly odd. I think a lot of people assume a bassist’s role is to lock into the groove and stick to typical root notes, instead Ollie created something exciting and interesting without sound out of place.
- Sam Calder – Wrote the drums, (Georgia Challinor – played on the EP)
He was the first person I asked actually. Like Kieran I had played and wrote with a few times before. He’s a drummer who writes for the song, not for the sake of hitting a kit, which is something extremely important to me as a songwriter who relies on narrative. Unfortunately he couldn’t be there when he was recording so Georgia stepped in, she learnt Sam’s parts but added her own flair – so I am lucky to have two incredible drummers put their mark on STRAY HEARTS.
All of these musicians have their own unique flair, something I knew this EP needed. All of these were my first choices and I wouldn’t settle for anyone else, thankfully they all said yes with minimal bribs!
Your songs are quite eclectic but have a familiar vibe running throughout, how do you go about writing a song?
I am fascinated with storytelling, and that’s exactly what STRAY HEARTS is – a strong. It’s an origin story of how two unlikely heroes lead the Unspoken Youth. I think that’s the vibe that carries it. When I’m writing there are underlying themes that drive it, whether it’s rebellion, being true to who you are or trying to survive – I think that’s what ties my music together. I like to think I don’t write for a specific genre in mind, I know the kind of style I write and prefer to listen to, but my influences are so diverse it’s impossible to stick to one. When I was writing STRAY HEARTs I had my usual influences of Madina Lake, Black Veil Brides, Jim Steinman. But I was also heavily into artists like Panic at the Disco and Billy Joel at the time, so all of those shaped how my writing went. I hope that answers that question haha, I mentioned a bit more about my specific routine earlier when it comes to writing a song.
Although you’ve recently released this EP, when will you be working on the next one?
At the moment I’m just experimenting with writing, I can’t see an EP in the near future but definitely series of singles – the thing is this has been a four year project (from the creating Adalia to releasing) I’m still figuring my next direction – but that’s the great thing about song writing is that you don’t a specific direction to create something incredible. I am, slowly – very slowly – writing a book to go with EP that tells the tale of the Unspoken Youth. I am also getting band together and will hopefully start preforming again soon, I have also a new song writing partner and we’ve started working on some new bits and pieces so we will see how that goes and hopefully be sharing that soon too.
Thank you: We would like to thank Adalia for participating in this interview. If you are interested in taking part in a written interview: email Admin@SouthWavesAudio.co.uk
Photographs: Jack Smethers Photography