At 18 years old, the Parisian-born singer-songwriter, Adeline, moved from the City of Lights to the Big Apple. For her whole life, the artist believed she would be a singer. She knew the reality was stitched into her DNA. But the journey didn’t wrap up overnight. It took some time.
In New York, she tended bar and worked as a model. She hustled and struggled. Eventually, a career began. As a kid, Adeline had acquired some experience as a performer, singing in children’s choirs for French Mickey Mouse Show equivalents across the Atlantic. It was a start but not a dream fulfilled. Eventually, however, she began to dig into her newfound love for the bass guitar. Later, as a result, she got a job playing and singing backup in CeeLo Green’s soul group. Now, after all that, Adeline has come to both an end of the road and a new beginning, both of which are marked by the release of her newest EP, Adi Oasis, out today (September 10).
“During the pandemic, because we were not going on tour,” Adeline says, “instead of working in the studio five days a week, I was there seven days a week, 12 hours a day, constantly making music.”
Adeline’s new EP’s title is significant to her. To some, it might seem the moniker to her alter ego. But for the songwriter, it’s more so who she is.
“It’s really me, truthfully,” Adeline says. “There’s no real separation between the artist and the person, to me. I’m a musician all the time, even when I’m a wife and a step-mom. I’m still a musician.”
One night, Adeline woke up and the word “oasis” appeared to her. For her, the word represents a deeper connection to music. It’s more than a job, more than a hustle. Instead, it’s both an outlet and a connective device. For too long, even though she knew she wanted to sing and perform, Adeline didn’t trust the idea that anyone else really cared. Now, after reading fan mail during the tumultuous 2020 and learning of her resonance, she knows there is even more there than she first assumed.
“I wasn’t confident enough to believe this was for other people,” she says. “It takes a long time.”
Growing up in Paris, Adeline says she was born into a world of music. She has a musical family, her siblings sing. She began performing at five years old. She picked up the bass later in New York City after the player she’d hired had to cancel. She already knew how to play guitar, so she learned the parts and it became love at first pluck.
“You don’t choose who you love,” Adeline says. “When I started playing it, it felt like I’d found myself. It’s not easy to explain, it just made sense. It was the answer to something I didn’t know what I was looking for.”
For Adeline, growth was slow at first. She makes the point: so many artists are inundated with “genius” artists like Prince and Michael Jackson. So, if you’re not a prodigy to begin with, there’s a sense that somehow you’ve failed. But this is obviously untrue. In a way, Adeline had to shed these unrealistic expectations as she locked herself in her room to shed on the bass and get better in The City That Never Sleeps. It takes courage to follow your instincts and, so, Adeline puffed out her chest and followed her own path. At the same time, though, it was one bolstered and buoyed by the history of African-American artists, she says.
“I just want to give it to African American artists,” says Adeline, whose father is from Martinique in the Caribbean. “Because the tremendous influence of what they’ve created with music and have continued to create has resonated with people of color worldwide, and I’m one of them.”
As an artist, Adeline has learned as much from George Clinton and Rick James as she has from anyone else. She appreciates the unabashed attitudes of funk artists. She appreciates the depth of soul music. If it wasn’t for African American artists, she says, she wouldn’t be where she is today, as an artist, especially as someone who grew up in Paris when there weren’t many people of color on television.
“That allowed me to project and imagine myself doing it,” Adeline says.
Today, Adeline likes music that’s danceable. She’s influenced by the bright, vivid music of the Caribbean. On stage, she moves a lot. She’s a flame. She’s also ready to stand on her own two feet and be the center of the spotlight. And, as the artist continues to work (a new album is rumored for 2022), that spotlight will assuredly continue to grow and grow.
“I’m always thinking about what’s ahead,” Adeline says.