THERE are few musicians out there as daring, candid and innovative…
ARTWORK: Onam Yahav
as ADI. I have been following her career for years and always stunned each time she releases a track. Her latest single, Dreamin’, is another step forward and evolutionary move from one of the music world’s brightest new talents. Experimental beats and exhilarating colours; swooping electronics and electrifying vocals – an ADI song is always an aural adventure. With an E.P. (Dreamin’) out I ask the Tel Aviv-based artist what her plans for 2017 are; whether the Israeli music scene is underappreciated and whether she has plans to come to London.
Hi ADI. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m good, thank you! My week was pretty busy: I had three shows, a rehearsal and a few sessions – but I like staying busy so it’s good.
For those fresh to your music: can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure. I am ADI: a producer-singer originally from Jerusalem – today living in Tel Aviv, Israel. I make R&B-Electronica with Hip-Hop elements and I travel quite a lot.
Dreamin’ has just been released. Can you tell us about the single and what inspired it
I wrote this song while I was going through s*it in my personal life and I was just trying to be as honest as possible and not filter anything – so it turned out pretty exposed.
It deals with my fears and my anxieties while being in a relationship. I had the pleasure to produce this one with the amazing Eric Dingus – who also produced a few Drake song – and I asked KDC to add a verse on it – cause I felt like it needs a manly touch. He totally killed it.
Eric Dingus produced the track. How did you come to meet him and what was it like working with him? What did he add to your music would you say?
The funny/amazing thing is Eric and I never actually met in real life. We Skyped once and talked via emails but it’s been so great working with him. He took the song to a whole new level and added quite a few synths. and bass that made it sound dark-ish (and I love it). He totally got the vibe of the song.
You have released various E.P.s, singles and mixtapes. Would you say what you’re recording now is your best work and how has your music evolved since the early days?
It’s kinda hard to define what’s good and what’s not good but I can def. say that my new work is by far the thing I’m most proud of – it really tells my story; no masks and I feel like it tells my story and reveals all the different layers of my personality.
I used to be scared to talk about my weakness: today I see it as the strongest thing there is. I am ‘proud’ of my weakness: I talk about it, share it, and as a result, I create something good out of the bad.
So, I guess the main difference in the music is the fact that it’s more honest and mature.
Pink Pillz – ADI’s previous single – gained a huge amount of praise and looks at taking anti-depressants and tackling depression. Was that a hard song to write or was it quite cathartic?
It felt really good to just be able to talk about this issue out loud and stop acting as if everything is perfect. It wasn’t hard for me ‘cause I just felt like there was no other way for me – I couldn’t keep on acting and it just got to a point where I felt like I just HAVE to be me and talk about the real s*it that bothers me. I also tried to talk about it with a bit of sarcasm and not make it super-heavy – and to approach it kinda like how rappers talk about drugs and alcohol. I think it’s pretty obvious in the song.
Dreamin’ (E.P.) is going to explore tougher subjects and issues not often raised in music. Do you feel too few musicians address important, everyday topics through fear they are taboo and harsh?
I actually think it started changing lately – Kid Cudi is an amazing example of being to talk about these issues and I think he did an amazing thing by saying to his fans “Listen, I’m going through shit; I got mental issues but I’m gonna help myself for a change”. This is such a big deal; especially in the Hip-Hop scene where everyone is trying to act like everything is perfect. So many people said that his music and his honesty have saved their lives. This is amazing. I really hope that my by talking about those issues in my music my fans will really be able to understand that it’s ok. And that they don’t have to be perfect ‘cause perfect is boring.
Your new material is your first for a couple of years. As you say, it was a necessary hibernation. What compelled the career-break and was the ‘time off’ helpful personally and creatively?
I just really needed some time off to understand how I’m going to create something that really represents who I am.
I felt like I was stuck in a loop: making things that didn’t really feel right and when I met people they were always telling me that I’m so different in real life than how I portray myself in my music – and it just drove me crazy (L.O.L.). So, I had to take some time to be in the studio; play with my machines and computer; experiment and create things that are a bit more experimental (like the track Chinatown for instance) and push my boundaries in general. It was extremely helpful – both personally and creatively.
You are based out of Tel Aviv. It has a stunning and rich music scene. Do you think it gets overlooked by the media in favour of areas like London and L.A.?
I think most people are just not aware enough of the things that happen here and I can understand why. It’s pretty far away from everything.
But once they start digging in they realise that there’s so many amazing musicians and artists around here.
Who are the Tel Aviv/Israeli artists you recommend we investigate?
I hear shades of M.I.A. and Radiohead in your music. Who were the musicians you grew up listening to? Which artists are currently listening to?
I grew up listening to Radiohead, Björk; M.I.A., Mum; Sigur Rós (and more) but it totally changed (L.O.L.). Today, I listen to Travis Scott, Kid Cudi; Kanye West, Skepta; Migos, Lil Uzi Vert; ASAP Mob and those type of artists. Kinda different, huh?
Given your work rate and the commitment you give to music: what do you do to unwind and decompress from the demands of music?
I go dancing with friends mainly – and just hang out and have fun.
Have you got any plans – personal or musical – for the coming year? Can we expect more material perhaps?
After the release of the E.P. I’m gonna release my debut album! I’ve been working on it for quite a while now and it’s still in the making but I’m extremely excited about it.
Hopefully it will be out in the middle of next year.
I know you have a great fan base here in London (and the U.K.). Have you any plans to come play over here in the future?
I love London and my fans over there are dope A.F. – I can’t wait to be back and play some shows/festivals over there (hopefully after the release of the E.P.).
PHOTO CREDIT: Noam Maoz
If you had to select three albums – the ones that have meant most to you – what would they be and why?
Keith Jarrett – The Köln Concert: never heard anything that moved me like this album.
Travis Scott – Days Before Rodeo: the most innovative Hip-Hop production in my opinion; so unique and inspiring.
Radiohead – Kid A: that’s the album that made me wanna become a producer.
Christmas is almost upon us. How will you be spending it and what is top of your Christmas wish-list?
Haha. Thing is I’m Jewish – we don’t celebrate Christmas (L.O.L.). But i wouldn’t mind getting some presents to be honest..
Is there any advice you’d like to offer any upcoming musicians looking to follow in your footsteps?
As cliché as it may sound: don’t try to fit in – stand out!
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song you like (not yours as I’ll include that) and I’ll play it here.
Travis Scott – Biebs in the Trap