Introducing EDM’s Next Leading Lady, Adara (Interview)
Voice, beauty, talent… Adara has it all. Born in Denver but currently splitting her time between Nashville and Atlanta, Adara has been taking the dance music scene by storm starting with her first solo release “Stadium,” to her Beatport chart No. 1 for her feature on Shogun’s “Dragon,” and now with her second solo single “Expose.”
We got a chance to catch up with the multi-faceted musician to talk fashion, karaoke, her conservation efforts and more following the release of “Expose” and its remix package featuring Florida-native Jeremus and new artist La Kapitan. See what Adara had to say to us below and make sure to pick up the original & remixes now on iTunes!
OTB: Tell us about your new single “Expose.” What was your inspiration for the track and what was your creative process when creating it?
ADARA: I’m really excited to share my new single, “Expose.” It’s inspired from real life experiences and the feeling of taking a leap of faith to open myself up to another person. Expose is about vulnerability. It’s about stripping away your fears and letting another person see you completely, even inside the shadows and forgotten corners of your heart. Sometimes, it’s not as easy as simply unlocking a door. Sometimes, you need someone to come along and knock down the walls you built up over time. Expose is about that moment when you decide to be completely open and defenseless with someone. It’s about that decision to join your souls, feel the rush of energy, and FINALLY let someone in. “Just expose me.”
There was a great synergy in the room when we wrote “Expose.” Ross Lara, my producer, started composing a beautiful track and shared it with me. I loved it and wanted to write something to it. Ross, Jeff Garrison (lead singer of Cassio Monroe), and I sat in the Archipelago studio in Atlanta and wrote the song one evening. It came to us pretty easily. It’s exciting when all of the collaborators on the tack feed off one another’s energy and inspiration. I love writing with Ross and Jeff and I’m really proud to be releasing “Expose.” It’s a very emotional track for me.
OTB: At what point in your life did you decide that you wanted to make music a full-time career?
ADARA: I’ve been writing music since I was little, even if they weren’t always well-structured songs. I remember improvising songs with my friends on my karaoke machine when I was about 6. At the time, it recorded all of our creations to cassette tapes (who even owns a cassette tape anymore?!). I listened back to some of them a few years ago and definitely didn’t find any keepers for the catalog!
In high school, I started composing songs on the guitar and piano while working with a local band named Pairadeux to record some demos. I then attended the Kauai Music Festival, sponsored by BMI in Hawaii, where I made connections and realized that I could actually make music a full time career. With some much needed encouragement from my now mentor David Pack (lead singer of Ambrosia), I knew that I had the chance to make my dream come true.
OTB: You originally have a pop background. Why did you decide to make the move into EDM?
ADARA: I grew up listening to pop music. As I got older, I fell in love with Coldplay which is like the gateway band into electronic music. Once I heard the new TRON movie soundtrack by Daft Punk, I was completely hooked on synthesizers.
My music and lyrics have always had a fantasy vibe to them and the Electronic Music genre really allows for me to create those kind of songs. “Fantasy” in music is how you lyrically approach a topic. It’s the difference between describing it like you would in a normal conversation and describing it like you were writing a fairytale. To me, Trance music definitely sounds magical. That’s why working with DJ Shogun on the song “Dragon” was such a great fit.
I was drawn into the electronic world through my producer Ross Lara. From the first moment we wrote together, I realized that this is where I really belong. I feel free to spread my wings and take more risks in this genre. The sky is the limit. Plus there is a strong emphasis on beauty, love, and respect. Music should have a message and I think electronic music does that very well.
OTB: If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
ADARA: I’m going to break the rules here and pick three because I simply can’t choose. I want to work with artists that are challenging the mainstream mold and have a very unique and strong musical voice. They have a sound all their own and I would love to blend genres and different sounds.
Coldplay – because they are perhaps one of my biggest influences and their lush soundscapes and poetic lyrics really transport the listener.
Porter Robinson – because he has a fresh, youthful, indie approach to Electronic Dance Music. He doesn’t fit the mold. His sound choices are really unique and worldly.
Lorde – because she’s a poet with a tinge of darkness. She’s so real and raw and I could learn so much from her songwriting. I think we could make something really weird and really cool.
OTB: You recently collaborated with Shogun on his Beatport Trance No. 1 single “Dragon.” Can we expect some more big collaborations in the future?
ADARA: Absolutely! Coming from Nashville, I love collaborations. It’s a chance to blend styles and create something totally new. We are planning to do a follow-up track with Shogun at some point in the near future. I am also looking forward to working with some other great DJs and artist in 2015.
OTB: What does a typical day look like in the life of Adara?
ADARA: I’m a morning person so I like to get my day started early. I usually work out, have breakfast, answer emails, and start working on music. Most days I’m writing songs, composing a track, taking voice lessons, or rehearsing. Between all of that work, I make sure to eat healthy meals 🙂 Avocados and blueberries are some of my favorite foods! Then I always make sure there is time for family, friends, and inspiration. You’ve got to get out into the world in order to write about it. I like to end the evening watching a show or reading a book that inspires me musically. And then I fall asleep and dream. I have some CRAZY dreams, but I’ll save those for another day 🙂
OTB: What was that last ‘EDM’ track or album that you bought?
ADARA: I actually just purchased Porter Robinson’s album “Worlds.” I can’t stop listening to it. In fact, I’m listening to it right now 🙂
OTB: What’s your favorite song to sing for Karaoke?
ADARA: “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
It’s a beautiful song by one of the greatest bands. Enough said 🙂
OTB: We heard you’re a fan of fashion. How would you best describe your style?
ADARA: My fashion style is a mix between future and fantasy while always emphasizing strength. I worked with Mychael Knight this year to create some awesome pieces that we will be releasing early next year. He uses a lot of strong geometric shapes and patterns while blending a lot of mixed textures. There is also a lot of emphasis on shoulders which I think is one of the most beautiful parts of the female figure.
OTB: You’re a multi-instrumentalist. What instruments do you play and which one is your favorite?
ADARA: I play the piano, guitar, drums, and I’m trying to learn the accordion.
The piano was my first love and continues to be my favorite. There is something about the piano that really resonates with my heart and who I am as an artist. The piano is so expressive with a hint of sadness. It’s like a wise and old soul, very deep and introspective. The piano brings out the melodies in me that the guitar does not.
OTB: Tell us about your conservation efforts. What do you do and how did you get involved?
ADARA: I’m really passionate about land conservation. I really want to get involved in some open space projects next year. I am working with Archipelago Entertainment to set up some projects for 2015. We are talking to different charities and sponsors to put on various events or shows to raise money for specific causes. Keep an eye out in 2015 for the news!
One of the goals on my 2015 tour will be to donate at least some portion of every show to a cause or charity. This will be a fun way for me to give back even if it is just in a small way at first.
OTB: What life motto do you live by?
Look for the beauty in everything. It helps to stay optimistic and it will always make life extraordinary.
OTB: What can we expect from Adara in 2015?
ADARA: I’ve got a lot of new music coming in 2015, so stay tuned. I am working on a track with DJ Shogun to follow up our song “Dragon”. I’m also planning on hitting the road to tour with my new music and create a live experience that gives the audience a glimpse into my world.
I also want to focus on fashion which is my other passion. I’ve been working with one of my favorite designers, Mychael Knight, to design some performance pieces. With fashion heading in a futuristic direction, we want to make some more exciting outfits to show the world. I also want to make it to Fashion Week in New York to fully embrace the experience!