A Q&A with Ade Fabola

Ade Fabola interview main

Soft, soulful fingerpicking from Nigerian-born, Manchester-based singer-songwriter Ade Fabola…

What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
The latest release is called ‘Something Good’. It’s about yearning for hope and positivity in the wake of disaster and isolation. I feel like this resonates with a lot of people at the moment given the state of the world – the pandemic, the political unrest and everything that appears to be upside down. The song is for everyone and anyone who yearns for that little bit of light at the end of this long dark tunnel we find ourselves travelling through. I wrote this at the start of the first lockdown last year and somehow, almost a year later, it still rings as true for me as the day I wrote it. Basically, shortly after the first nationwide lockdown in the UK, I remember being out on my daily permitted walk and I was thinking about what had been on the news and social media leading up to that moment, and I was overwhelmed by just how different everything was – business places out of work, social outlets closed, people panic-buying in the shops – and on top of all this, the isolation blues got to me a little bit. All I could think was “man, we could use some good news right about now,” which eventually turned into the line “I could do with something good”.

What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
Probably trying to promote a new release in the midst of a global pandemic, with no live music, no touring opportunities and so much uncertainty. Still, I’m glad we got there in the end 🙂

Who produced the release – what did they bring to it?
It was produced by Mat Lepannen at Animal Farm Records in London. Mat was simply amazing in the production; he took the song to a new level that I never thought it could get to. I’ve enjoyed working with the folks at Animal Farm; they’ve got such good ideas and helped me with my vision for the songs during production.

What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I want my music to provide solace in hard times, a place that people can escape to. I hope it makes listeners feel good. I hope that listening to my music will give folks a warm, fuzzy feeling in their core, a feeling that reminds us of what it means to be human, to take pleasure in the little things and to be kind to each other.

How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
There’s no set process, not one that I can articulate anyway. I always try to keep writing, sometimes writing for writing’s sake (to process my thoughts), and other times writing purposefully with a view to share it with the wider world. Inspiration often strikes when I’m overwhelmed by an emotion or a thought, for instance love, heartbreak or socio-political injustice. It also strikes when I come across good music (maybe a live performance or a new record) that moves me so much. When this happens, I try to immerse myself in a headspace that’ll allow me to put lyrics and melodies together. Sometimes I start a song by noodling around with melodies on a guitar, and then I come up with lyrics based on what’s burning in my heart. Other times I take some words I’ve written and come up with suitable sounding melodies based on the vibes the song is headed in. Sometimes everything comes rushing altogether, all at once. When that happens, I have no choice but to drop everything and give in to the music.

What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
There have been several pivotal records and artists that have influenced me over the years. I came across Bob Marley when I was quite young, and although reggae doesn’t really feature in my style, that music left an impression on me. Then there’s Bob Dylan’s music; ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright’ might just be the most influential for me. Everything from the storytelling to the instrumentation left a mark – I often say that’s probably where my interest in fingerpicking came from. Passenger and Tallest Man on Earth have also heavily influenced my musical journey, largely due to their lyricism and fingerstyle technique.

Ade Fabola interview portrait

What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
I’d love to tour everywhere, from East to West haha. Actually, it’ll mean a lot to me to tour and play live music in Nigeria someday. I’ve not been there in several years, and my brand of music isn’t what comes to mind as far as popular music goes in that part of the world. It’ll be an interesting experience, I think. I’m based in Manchester these days, so I’d love to play in the Academy and the Albert Hall someday soon 🙂

If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
The new release, ‘Something Good’, marks a new chapter in my music and is a good intro to my other material. The song features my “sound”, the mellow nylon string guitar, as all my other records do, but this one just shines in its production and vibes, so please, start with ‘Something Good’.

What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
Ultimately, this is a journey and I’m trying to make the most of it, do the best I can, and have fun in the process. I plan on releasing more music and building my following in the coming months and years. I wrote a lot in 2020 and was fortunate to record a bunch of songs which will be coming out this year. Something Good is just the start, the first of those songs, so there’s a lot more coming later in the year. I’ve been writing away in lockdown and I’m looking forward to when we can get back in the studio to record more. When things get better, it would be nice to go out and play these songs live, maybe even go on tour when the logistics allow, but for now I’m focused on making music and building my online following.

Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
Thank you for this platform and thank you to all the people out there that stumble upon this. If you’re reading this and made it this far, thank you. Thank you for supporting indie artists 🙂

For more info visit: instagram.com/drfabola


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