American Idol alum Adanna Duru on her debut EP Stardive, her influences and what’s next for the bright, young star

Posted on 2 September 2017
By Khyle Deen
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​20 year old singer and former contestant on both The Voice and American Idol, Adanna Duru recently put out her debut EP titled Stardive, it’s an alternative pop album, it’s really gorgeous listen if we do say so ourselves.

Our social media and content editor got some voice time with Adanna to ask her some questions and find out a little bit more about her creative process, what inspired the album and what her plans are for the future.

You can read our interview below:

PR: Hi Adanna, very pleased to be chatting with you, loving the EP a lot! How’ve you been since it’s release? How’s your week going?

A: “It’s been really good thank you, spending time with family, lots of family time.”

PR: Excellent, so important in life! Now, with regards to your new EP Stardive, did you write all 7 of the songs yourself?

A: “I did, I wrote every single song by myself, though John Ibe wrote his verse in Fingertips, and Julius wrote his verse in Quinn, but yeah, everything else was written by me.”

PR: Very cool, I love that, such great music. Now about the song Tape, does the subject of that song know that it’s about them?

A: “I actually don’t know, I haven’t even told him that I’ve written a song about him, it’s been like a year since I spoken to him, though he did RT the album when I posted it on Twitter so I don’t know if he’s listened to it or it was just for support but he shared it.”

“Maybe he listened it it, maybe not.”

PR: Ah right haha, I’m sure he’s listened to it and perhaps on some level he knows

A: “Maybe yeah.”

PR: So would you Tape is the deepest song you’ve written so far?

A: “No, the deepest song would have to be the title track Stardive.”

PR: What would say was the hardest song to write on the album?

A: “The hardest? Hmm, I think Tony, because every song is written about a personal experience, something that I was feeling, something that a boy did to me or a way I was feeling with friends. Most songs weren’t too difficult to write, Tony is inspired by somebody that I know and it’s basically a social commentary about rebellion, rebellious youth.”

“When I wrote the song, I wrote whatever came to my mind and it was flowing, I wanted to make sure that I was being honest and making sense. The hook was really hard to write, I wrote 4 different choruses for Tony and I didn’t come across one that I liked, even the one that’s recorded, I wasn’t super happy with it and just thought “This is my first record, I’m just gonna put something out” which isn’t usually ideal but I went with my gut but Tony was definitely the hardest song to write on the EP.”

“I wasn’t writing from first person like I usually do, I was writing from second person which was kind of weird for me, but it’s second person the entire time. Although the song is coming from a real life experience, it was definitely the least personal song that I wrote”

PR: Wow ok, really nice to understand your point of view on your work, so can you name your favourite track on the album?

A: “I’d say my favourite is Are You Gonna Call, it’s also my mom’s favourite. That song really resonates with me lyrically and sonically, I just really love the approach we took with it, so simple. I kind of went after a genre that I didn’t know how to go with, alternative pop. I feel like it was a really beautiful introduction to my alternative pop side and yeah, it’s a really sad, dark song but I just dig it”

PR: Ah no that’s really good to tap into a lot of emotions, especially on a first album as that can often help set the tone for an artist’s career. Would you say Stardive does that?

A: “I definitely think so, the thing about the album is that, some of my favourite artists range from Justin Timberlake to Stevie Wonder and Janet Jackson, and every single one of those artists takes risks with their music, they don’t really do just one genre and stick to it, they challenge themselves.”

“I think Stardive is a good representation of my versatility because I don’t think the songs sound too identical or too similar, but I do want to continue to break down walls for the rest of my career. I want to be able to be like a chameleon and keep adjusting, making new kinds of music while still having that hint of Adanna. I don’t want to feel like every time I make a song, that people can’t connect with me”

PR: I think that’s a strong quality in any artist really, if you can identify that in yourself and make albums with those qualities, write from the heart and make the music that you truly want, that’s the best kind of artist.

A: Thank you

PR: Just going back to the song Tape, could you go into detail on writing that one, you mentioned on Twitter that you threw the song out, so what made you go back and select it for the album?

A: “Yeah, when I wrote Tape it was kind of the end of that part of my life, where I was infatuated with this guy, I’d known him my entire life and when I wrote Tape, that was literally when I realised that this guy isn’t serious, he’ll never be serious about me or anybody for a very long time, so I need to stop feeding myself these lies.”

“That’s when I came up with the little hook of “I’ll make sure to get this on tape” when I used to think about him, I’d always tell myself that this is how he is, so when I wrote it, like I felt like I was burying all of my emotions here, I didn’t want to do that, I kept thinking it was too personal and almost a sign of weakness and didn’t want to put my business out there like that. I completely deleted it from my Notes on my iPhone and texted my friends like “Oh I wrote a song about him and deleted it” they were messaging me with support, then a day or 2 later I was all “Oh shit, no, that was a really good song, I need to find it again” but I’d wiped it off my phone so luckily I remembered it all again, which literally never happens. I rewrote it and went to the studio to record it right away”

PR: Haha that’s really great, I think that it was really meant to be on this album, considering you remembered it all.

A: Maybe you’re right yeah.

PR: So listening to the album, which I’ve done a lot, I think my personal favourite song would have to be Fingertips, it’s a really groovy and sexy song. What inspired this song?

A: “Fingertips was inspired by a guy I was dating earlier this year, essentially the first guy that I’ve truly connected to, every other guy was like a crush or deep infatuation or I was being played, something childish. But this was the first guy that I could really see myself with for a very long time and it was mutual.”

“I wrote the song based on experience, I wanted to write a sexy song that wasn’t sexual, write a song that made people feel sexy and make lovers want to do what lovers do. I’m not a big fan of overly sexual songs, I have a really deep appreciation for songs that are able to get their point across when it comes to those matters, without having to spell it all out and be super vulgar and specific. I feel that when you take the imagination away, it’s weird and slightly intrusive.”

“So I wrote the song about the simplicity of having my face held when I’m being kissed, it’s kind of a “fill in the blank” if you want to kind of thing, I remember a friend of mine texting me saying “Ooh I love Fingertips it’s so sexual haha” and I was like “Well what’s sexual about it?” and he was like “Oh well the way you sing it and the lyrics” so I said “Well look at the lyrics” he responded “Oh you’re right, it’s not sexual at all”

PR: Yes, definitely agree, I also don’t like songs that are too vulgar, it’s better to use imagination when listening, when listening to Fingertips, I do think it nicely and slowly approaches that line of sexy but without crossing it, it kind of takes you on a sexy journey.

A: “Yeah, I prefer to call it sensual rather than sexual”

PR: PErfect word for it, the album is getting a lot of love online, Twitter is abuzz with positive feedback which is obviously great, so what’re your plans for the rest of the year? Are you working on new material?

A: “Right now, my plans are to ideally release an EP in 2018 but I’m not entirely sure what my next move is, I also want to work on collaborations with other artists, not for my own songs, but popping up in other songs and stuff like that. Helping to again show my versatility and increase my fan base.”

“I’m also just kind of letting people enjoy my debut EP right now, taking a little break from recording, I’m going to start again soon because I love it, but yeah, I’m just going to see what kind of perception Stardive brings in and look at representation from management and indie labels because I’m fully independent right now so I’d like to see what happens next with that.”

PR: I saw that on Twitter, found that really interesting, so have you faced any challenges in doing everything solo?

A: “Yeah, one of my biggest challenges is starting new projects, usually due to funding, I don’t have an investor or a label backing me, although I do the freedom as I’m able to make all of my own creative decisions, but it does get hard having to do everything myself as I have to find producers for the album myself, I was very blessed as they were all really great producers.”

“Also, team that I had making the Fingertips video with me, like everyone that I ended up collaborating with, it was a miracle from God. I’m literally my own entity without outlets. I don’t live in the heart of Los Angeles, I’m in a suburban city like 30 miles east of LA so my contacts aren’t exactly knocking on my door, it’s a lot of hard work”

PR: I think that when you do all of that hard work, you kind of realise your limits and are able to push them a little bit, working hard for what you want is essentially the only way to get things done these days. It’s great that you’ve decided to face it head on, at 20 years old, you’ve got a long career ahead of you so it’s great to conquer challenges early on.

A: “Well thank you, I agree”

PR: You mentioned some of your favourite artists earlier, who would you really love to work with one day?

A: “Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, Timbaland is probably my favourite producer, I really want to collab with him a lot in the future, and JT as an artist, he’s just so super talented, really great at what he does, I pretty much know all of his songs and love how he has a hand in every step of the production process, I think that’s really important”

PR: We’re huge fans of Justin Timberlake too, your song Fingertips definitely sounds like something that could be featured on Future Sex/Love Sounds.

A: “Yeah, thank you, Future Sex/Love Sounds is really one of my favourite albums of his, that album has my heart”

PR: Justified too!

A: “Yes! Señorita is so good!”

PR: It is! Haha, now with your first album out the way, what would you say is the message that you’d like to push out there with your music? Like what would you say to our readers and listeners of your music?

A: “I’m a big advocate of overcoming adversity, when you feel that you don’t have the resources to do something, like look again, I promise that you’ll find a way. I think that’s a recurring theme with this album.”

“I talk about overcoming depression and one of the core reasons I felt like that, was that I didn’t think there was a way out, but I found a way out, I’m very proud of this record so I’d like people to remember that there’s always a way”

PR: Ah well that’s obviously very great news that you overcame that, came out the other side strong, as I say, it’s a lot to deal with doing everything yourself so you should definitely be commended for that.

A: “Thank you so much”

PR: Well thanks a lot for chatting to us Adanna, it’s very much appreciated and again, love the album and we wish you the absolute best.

Adanna Duru’s debut EP Stardive is available on all streaming services, alternatively, you can check out the music video for her song Fingertips above and listen to the album below.