French-Caribbean singer, bassist and producer Adeline (pronounced ad-uh-leen) spent most of 2020 soothing our frazzled nerves with her retro-futurist take on funk, R&B and soul, dropping 21 new songs during the pandemic, including 2 EPs, a fire hot duet with Kamauu called “Mango”, and numerous other collaborations and guest appearances with artists including Pastel, Kraak & Smack, Blue Lab Beats, Jonathan Singletary and up-and-coming French rapper Lisko. With hustle and shine (and cautious optimism) of a classic NYC immigrant, she kicked off the new year with A COLORS SHOW premier of “Whisper My Name”, and has plenty more new music coming in 2021.
Adeline also produces music under the moniker Nightshade with partner Morgan Wiley (Midnight Magic, Jessica 6). For their first act they co-wrote and produced the sun-drenched summer jam “Mango” for Atlantic Records artist Kamauu, which also features Adeline on vocals and bass.
Adeline has toured globally, appearing with Anderson .Paak, Lee Fields, Chromeo, Big Freeda, Natalie Prass and more, and has performed at Afropunk, Funk on the Rocks (Red Rocks) and
Winter Jazz Fest. When she’s not in the studio or touring her own music, Adeline also plays bass in CeeLo Green’s band.
How did you find music? Did you grow up in a musical household, or are you first generation?
I grew up in a musical family. I have 3 siblings and they all sing and some of them play instruments. My father is from the Caribbean and music is a huge part of our culture.
I probably started singing around 2 years-old, pretty much when I started talking. Growing up, my siblings and I spent all of our time putting together shows and singing together.
Which decades of music influenced you the most and why? Name your favorite R&B/Soul artists who inspire you constantly. – ex: as well artists from 60s until now.
My influences involved as I got older and as my sound shaped up. When I was a kid, it was all about the divas (Mariah, Whitney, Céline) and there was a lot of Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley in my house.
I evolved with the times from 2000s R&B to the Neo Soul movement which had a huge impact on me as a late teenager.
That’s’ s also when I started digging into 60’s and 70’s soul. Listening to Aretha Franklin for instance had a huge impact on my singing.
My two satellite artists are Prince & Chaka Khan. My life literally changed when I started really listening to these two. My sweet spot would be 70’s Funk & Soul. Curtis Mayfield, Earth Wind & Fire, P Funk, Chic, Sly & The Family Stone, Roy Ayers.
Why is ‘Intérimixed’ album unique?
I would say it’s unique in the sense that every song is revisited by a different artist/producer. What I love most about is that there are people from different parts of the world. Btw the US, France and the UK.
What do you expect from your listeners with ‘Mystic Lover’? What is the message behind that you want us to understand?
Mystic Lover is to me the song that represents my bass and vocal signatures the most.
I hope that people can hear my influences but also hear something new. More importantly though, like all of my music I hope that it makes people feel good and takes them on a journey, makes them forget where they are for a minute and travel somewhere dreamy and fun.
Tell us a little bit about the story behind ‘MANGO’ feat KAMAUU.
Kamauu and I had been talking about collaborating for a little while. We finally put a date in the calendar and when he got to the studio, we didn’t exactly have a plan, we just wanted to collaborate. When he walked in, Morgan and I were working on this instrumental and Kamauu started freestyling right away. He didn’t even want to hear another track. We wrote the song in 3 hrs. and that was pretty much it! Even then it felt like a magical moment. Everything sort of fell into place. The way the trumpet landed on the track too: our friend Carter Yasutake was in the studio next door working with someone else and just popped by to say hi. I randomly said “hey Carter, lay down some trumpet”! He recorded for 5 minutes and left.
When you’re not recording and performing, what other hobbies make you tick?
I do a lot of fitness, some jogging, some yoga. I also meditate. I love to cook. I read and enjoy political conversation with some friends.
What particular song you have written resonates with you the most?
Mystic Lover. Mango.
How do you approach making music? What’s your creative process?
I make all of my music with Morgan Wiley. Together we have formed a production/songwriting duo called Nightshade. We meet at the studio every day from 2pm to 2am.
A lot of the music comes from programming a beat first, or Morgan sitting at the piano. Then I put down a bass line and I freestyle some vocal ideas. We usually keep the first ideas that come and write to them.
How the pandemic situation affected your career and how did you overcome this challenge?
I have to say things have been going well considering. I think about people who have lost closed ones and I don’t ever want to complain. Like most challenges, the pandemic has forced me to do things differently. But somehow challenges often force you into something you already wanted to do anyway.
Not playing shows has been the hardest, but I got to spend all of my time creating and releasing music and who knows if I would be doing this interview right now if things had been different.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for independent artists nowadays? What would you change in a toxic system in order to help them more?
The metric system. We have numbers attached to us that unfortunately have become a determining factor for our “value”. The fact that someone can see your popularity before they can hear your art is super dangerous.
But there is a silver lining in the streaming system with artists being able to release music more freely and listeners having access to music that is not just main-stream major label run radio.
A letter to your FUTURE self. What would you write?
Keep working. Keep believing. You know where you are going.