Tone Talk with Adeline

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My name is Adeline, pronounced [ad-uh-leen] like magazine. I’m basically that little girl who was born with a mission to make music and has been going after her dreams all her life. I’m a singer, bass player, songwriter, producer. But I’m also a black Caribbean woman (my father is from the Caribbean island of Martinique, and my mother is French) and an immigrant (I was born and raised in Paris). I dropped out of my first year of college to move to New York and focus on a musical career as a singer. A couple of years later, I “accidentally” started playing bass and found the piece of me that I had been looking for. Until two years ago, I was the lead singer of nu-disco band Escort. I quit the band to launch a long-overdue solo career. I released my first solo album in November 2018 and am now preparing to release an EP in July 2020. My favorite artist of all time is Prince, and my other heroes are Chaka Khan, Curtis Mayfield, P Funk, Sly & The Family Stone, to name a few.

If you like loud, colorful outfits that don’t make sense, high pitched vocals, and funky bass lines, I’m your girl.

What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
My introduction to the term of tone first came trough vocals. It was always one of my favorite words and something so important to me.

The tone is what you want to hold close to your ear and listen to as you fall asleep. Tone should feel like a warm hug. It was super interesting for me to find out how to develop my tone on bass. Coming from the singer’s angle, tone was something that you’re just given, it’s the natural DNA of your voice. But as a bass player, tone is something you create. It comes from your fingers, the way you touch the strings which is unique to you, the emotion that you put behind each note you play. The technical choices you make also matter :the instrument, the strings, the pedals, treble no treble, mids, lows. You get to create the recipe that best represents your identity.

Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
Sadowsky jazz bass, Fender vintage P bass, Moolon P bass. All 4 strings. I’m not a huge pedal freak, I keep it pretty minimal. My go-to is the Aguilar envelope filter pedal, Whammy for bass, loop station (still haven’t used on stage), MXR Carbon Copy (delay). 

What about strings?
D’Addario super light, and I change them like almost never.

Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
Not really. I’m more focused on capturing the moment than getting the sound. Groove comes first. My concern is to get the right feel on the take, and sometimes it can take hours. In terms of tone and effects, I handle that during the mixing process.

How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
It’s pretty challenging when playing in different venues. I use the same brand Aguilar which helps. I think I keep consistent by knowing my basses really well and being able to adjust them depending on the room. 

What does your practice consist of?
I always start with scales, then playing along to a couple of songs I love, then practice playing my own music. Because I sing and play on stage, I have to spend a lot of time shedding to my own songs and deconstruct my songs slowly over and over in order to achieve playing them while singing at the same time. It’s tedious but so rewarding once I get it. 

What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
Don’t believe what people say when they tell you female musicians are competitive. As long as you are humble and generous, you will find a community of sisters that will have your back and support you. Also, identify the men that are supportive and make them your allies. There are a lot of them out there. Learn to be as self-sufficient as possible, but don’t forget the magic that community creates.

 

 

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