Adron is a vibrant Atlanta-based singer-songwriter who has a quirky personality and tunes that fill your soul. Her colorful personality stands out and when you talk to her, you feel like you instantly became friends. Her welcoming persona connects well to her cozy tunes that instantly melt your heart. I got to chat with Adron about her soulful music, why she decided to take up Portuguese, her new track “Your Habitat”, and more.
TYF: You have had quite an interesting start to your music career. Can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to teach yourself guitar and Portuguese?
Adron: I have always known I wanted to be a songwriter ever since I was 5 years old and saw the Beatles in the film “A Hard Days Night” with no real understanding of what the heck they were. I just felt I wanted to be that. I took piano lessons from an early age and got pretty slick at replicating classical music that was taught to me, but I was never able to sing and play at the same time. Some cognitive dissonance there. I picked up the guitar when I was 12 and it immediately clicked, so I set about writing songs as soon as I knew a handful of chords. A couple of years later I discovered Brazilian Tropicália music (Os Mutantes, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, etc.) and my brain exploded. I had a pathological need to be able to sing along to those songs because I sang along to everything, and I started absorbing Portuguese that way. I’ve pursued learning Portuguese as a hobby ever since and have written a handful of songs in the language.
TYF: In 2013 you opened up for Os Mutantes, how did that opportunity come about and what was it like getting to open up for them?
Adron: I’m lucky to have a great relationship with a club in Atlanta called The EARL. When Os Mutantes were on their calendar in 2013, I just reached out and begged for an opening slot. I think my reputation in some Atlanta circles is basically “Oh that girl who’s into Tropicália, no, like, EXTRA into it” so I think for the folks at the EARL it wasn’t too far-fetched. And opening for Os Mutantes was utterly magical. They say “Don’t meet your heroes,” and they’re probably right a lot of the time, but in this case, it was one of the most marvelous, life-affirming moments I can remember. Sérgio Dias, the original founding guitarist of the band, watched my whole set and according to the sound engineer, cried during it. He and I hugged profusely backstage like long lost siblings. I’m not exaggerating. He’s a giant, squishy, blood-red heart of a human being. Completely silly with life force. At the end of the Os Mutantes set, they brought me up on stage to sing their encore performance of “Panis Et Circenses” with them, and I did so, through tears. After that experience, Sérgio and I stayed in touch, making plans for me to join the band and tour globally with them. My mind still reels at this scenario, but it sadly didn’t come to pass due to screwy circumstances beyond our control, messing up their tour plans. But knowing that they thought of me that way, it’s something I’ll treasure forever.
TYF: Since your album, Water Music, is dropping on August 17, if you had to plan an album release party and got to invite anyone you’d like, who would you invite and why?
Adron: First, I’d like to IRL invite everyone around Atlanta to the IRL album release party at Terminal West, August 23! Okay – but my fantasy heaven album release party would take place on a boat in the Caribbean. Actually – it’d take place on the Freewinds, the Scientology mega-yacht. In this magical universe, their assets have been requisitioned and redistributed to artists and other cool entrepreneurs who support spiritual freedom, questioning, and compassionate universal niceness. In between concert sets, there’d be pinball and Guitar Hero tournaments. Maybe VR. Guest list would include everyone I love, everyone who had anything to do with the record, anyone they love. I’d have a special table for my musical heroes, Caetano Veloso, Marcos Valle, Michael Franks, Margo Guryan, Joni Mitchell, Michael McDonald, Luiz Bonfá (who’s dead, but his spirit will have a place setting).
TYF: How did you come up with the title of the album?
Adron: I stole it from George Frideric Handel’s composition and it happens to be the title of a novel by T. C. Boyle, with no particular intended connection to either of those works. It just feels natural to me. It’s nicely vague and inclusive. Also, a lot of the songs on the record are about the ocean or intended to invoke a watery environment.
TYF: Does any of your family or friends listen to early demos of your songs before they get recorded for the album? If so, do they provide any feedback?
Adron: My brother, Matt, has the inside track on most of my unpublished work. He’s very insistent. He makes regular, all-caps demands for new songs. I love his feedback because it’s almost uniformly along the lines of “HOLY SHIT THIS IS THE GREATEST THING I EVER HEARD,” which is always good to hear. My mother sometimes gets early access, and her feedback is usually “I need to hear this about a thousand more times before I present my evaluation,” which I’ll take as a compliment. She wishes I whistled less, which is something I respectfully ignore.
TYF: Throughout your career, you’ve released a number of songs, how has your sound evolved throughout the years?
Adron: I feel like I’m simultaneously evolving in two directions. On the one hand, I’m learning how to better arrange music for a bigger band and add in more elements, more interlocking parts, and pay more attention to rhythm and groove while taking my guitar out of the spotlight. On the other hand, I’m also writing other songs that are much more suited to solo or stripped-down performances, whose lyrics are more communicative, with more room for vocal subtlety, and with more polished guitar work. In the future, I want to find a way to merge these two areas where I’ve grown and start putting really deliberate, confident song structures together with just the right arrangements and orchestrations, leaving enough room for subtlety and singable-ness, but super-delicious instrumental stuff right where it’s supposed to be. I’m also hoping to lean even harder into that late 70s soul/fusion/elevator vibe.
TYF: What is your writing process like?
Adron: It keeps changing! I used to do music first, lyrics later. I’d write a whole guitar progression and melody in one sitting, piece o’ cake, and then take months to finish the lyrics. Nowadays, I’m trying to write lyrics first, or at least isolate a particular story I want to tell, and then summon up a musical arrangement to fit that story. It’s working well. I think in the end I get a more communicative song. But really, songwriting nearly always feels sort of accidental to me. I sit down in a certain mood and screw around on the guitar and then oops – a song.
TYF: I love your new single – “Your Habitat”! Can you tell us a little bit about the song?
Adron: I love it too, thanks! It’s become one of my favorite studio recordings of ours. The song is a bittersweet love song, about wishing you could carve out a little notch in the fabric of spacetime, where you could be with your desired person, protected from reality. The bittersweetness is in the suggestion that the desired person maybe isn’t about to go to that place with you, but you’re trying to coax them into that fantasy anyway. The more I’ve worked with this song (and these things always take on a life of their own in the studio and through repeated performance), the more it reminds me of a Doobies-era Michael McDonald composition, in the production but also in the lyrics. He’s so good at that lovelorn, hopeful but wary, emotions-on-your-sleeve vibe. I also love the dreamy Rhodes intro, it reminds me of Mister Rogers Neighborhood. Also, the screwball synth that leads later in the song makes me think of some Marcos Valle tracks, where every other aspect of the track is pretty dignified, and then this hilariously colorful synth line comes in and just brings everything to life in a totally different way.
TYF: How long did it take to complete the song “Your Habitat” from beginning to end?
Adron: Felt like forever. I could reasonably say at least four years. We worked this one over and over. I think the final released version was our third attempt at building the song from the ground up. The real challenge that kept tripping me up was having the song feel retro almost elevator-y and campy, but still genuinely melancholy and affecting. The crucial thing was to get the tempo exactly right. It’s a very thin line to tow, between cornball-campy and emotionally raw and real. But for me, that’s where the real magic happens.
TYF: When will you be going on tour and sharing the new music with fans?
Adron: I’m currently working on an October tour through the South and Midwest! I’m dying to get on the road again. Going on tour is one of my happiest times. There’s no feeling quite as satisfying as knowing your only obligation is to just get from point A to point B, play your songs, and press on. The nagging question “Was I enough of a musician today” evaporates for those few blessed days.
TYF: Lastly, if you could go on tour with any artist, who would it be and why?
Adron: Caetano Veloso because he is my hero. I owe him more for his inspiration than I can possibly express. If I ever get to share a stage with him I’ll die happy, no matter what else happens.
Learn more about Adron and her new music here.