Gothenburg singer and multi-instrumentalist Adna is right at the beginning of her career, but it’s clear she’s got a lifetime of music to offer. Her debut album Night was released this week and we got the chance to take a look into her dark world.
I like working during the night because I get more space for my own thoughts, I hear more of my own sound, says Adna.
And that sound is very distinctive; at times melancholy, at times romantic, but always calm and honest, much like the woman herself. Sitting quietly in front of me with a black coffee, Adna is unfazed by the recent surge of interviews and interest in her music. Perhaps this is because she faced the public’s attention at the age of just 18 when her song Corner of my Heart was used on the soundtrack to MTV mega show Degrassi. Or perhaps it’s because her focus is trained unwaveringly on her music, and not the whirlwind that sometimes surrounds it.
– When I write music I like the theory, whether I’m playing piano or guitar or percussion. It’s like a language, and if I can’t record an idea I can always write it down. The lyrics start out as a sort of poetry and each lyric has its own melody which I play on the guitar, and then because I’m a huge nerd the theory comes in and I write everything out on paper. When I grew up I listened to Bosnian music and the melodies in that sound like home to me. I think those melodies can be melancholy and I use something similar in my music, but with a more modern sound from my electric guitar and effects pedals, and hard and dark percussion.
I like working during
the night because I get more
space for my own thoughts
The combination of Adna’s musical craftsmanship and lyrical openness draw you into her world from the first track on her record, so how does the album compare to her live performances?
– When I play live I play solo, so it’s just me and my guitar and some pedals. There’s something very pretty about being able to play the songs as I wrote them right at the beginning, and it’s fun to improvise and use my voice, because I really try to use my voice as an instrument. I mean, if I have my own sound, this melancholy sound, then I’d like to try and keep it, but still I always experiment. I want the album to be one thing and my live show to be something else.
This desire for experimentation has even lead Adna to leave her home. Whilst Night was written in Gothenburg and recorded at Samuel Lindberg’s studio in Stockholm, she’s working on her next project in Berlin.
– I really want to work with music as art, and I think that’s more possible in Berlin, she says. I like the thought of painting with music to create a feeling, and I feel that that attitude is kind of disappearing today in the music industry, it’s always about money. And of course being a musician and working with music is a job, and you should get paid, but you shouldn’t try and use it as a way to earn a lot of money. As long as I can pay my rent I’m good with it. I think it’s a bit sad when people use music as a way of doing other things.
It seems as though this view of the world, sad but quietly idealistic, has influenced much of the writing on Night, is it something she feels in her everyday life?
– I want people to have their own ideas about my music. We all have our different ideas about being left, or hate or love. That’s another reason I like silence, because it leaves a lot of space for people to feel what they feel. I think I’m quite a calm person, of course I like to have fun but if I want to work a lot I have to be serious. I love to work and if I want to stay inspired and keep creating then I have to stay awake, it’s the only way I can get better.
Watch the brand new video for Adna’s song Night here.
Photography by Mathilda Österlund.