Can you tell the people your name and where it derives from?
As a child I secretly toyed with the notion of becoming a professional Hip Hop Artist. I wanted to name myself something significant and I wanted the name to be similar to my given name (Adrienne). So I looked in the dictionary and came across the word Adrift. The word Adrift has a somewhat negative connotation but so did my wanting to be a rapper, at least according to my parents. My first ‘stage’ name was Adrift Discourse. I dont like to tell people that. That name was corny..It had to go
After my first demo I changed it to Adrift Da Belle. My friends thought it was because I was born in the south. I actually changed it from Discourse to Da Belle because I begin to understand that the talent and passion I have for making music was about to take me on a journey. I wanted to honor it and embrace it at the same time. I was told once that I shouldn’t work so hard to get to where I’m going that I forget to appreciate the Journey. This ‘Journey’ has been tumultuous, empowering, triumphant, heart breaking, etc, etc. In all that , it’s a thing of beauty so I added Da Belle. Da ~ Hip Hop for the and Belle ~ French for Beauty . So, thats where my name is derived from my journey. My beautiful unexpected journey.
First thing i noticed about you that really stands out to me is how in a sense “real” you are all around. The lyrics are relatable and always tell a story, your visual representations are always plotted towards the content and set in a very “classical” hip hop manner, with aesthetics of graffiti and lots of shots of the community, like in your video for “Breathe”. I can’t help but get a serene sense of nostalgia when listening to your music, not in a way that your music is anyway outdated but, there’s a form of warmness and compassion that is present in your work that appears to be so lost today in the artists that jam our media outlets with stories on self absorption and “pop” like visuals in the club or some other place ghetto children can’t relate to therfore, falsely recognize as “real” when actually there couldnt be anything faker. With all this in mind I’m lead to ask you what your goals and intentions are when you approach a musical project? What or who do you think about when you pick up your pen to write?
Breathe is actually a 5 year old song.. the video itself is about 4 years old. When I write a song I go with what the beat makes me feel-the vibe. So, if the track makes me feel like telling a story I tell a story. If it invokes confidence I talk shit. Its all about the beat and the vibe I get from it. I dont get a beat and have a concept in mind before I hear it. I do keep in mind what I have already recorded in the past. I try to stay consistent with the mood of the project i’m recording for as a whole. For instance, my latest Drift Chronicles is about the last two years of my life…its really honest, its experimental for me. I wanted to give fans a glimpse of Adrift off stage and off the hip hop scene. So I kept that in mind when writing. Ultimately its the vibe though.
I know you probrably have heard similar questions before as a female MC today but, i feel more inclined to ask you this question more than anyone else. How do you see the female MC’s of today? I know alot of dope ones that have been around for years like bahamadia..etc; and then there is the young Nitty Scott MC today holding it down for the boom bap era. But, the ones who garner the most attention and radio play, seem to not even be rapping anymore and if they are its not about a single thing thats real or even relevant to anyone besides other millionaires and impressionable children.
Is it frustrating to be the kind of artist you are and work as hard as you do paying close attention to your writing knowing that the tv specials, major labels, and radio stations seem to only be interested in showcasing the same artists over and over again in a literal loop, that only speak & portray material idiocy? is that even a concern of yours?
I get this question a lot. The reality is Hip Hop is a boys club. It’s a male dominated industry. So, I salute, appreciate, and support any woman doing her thing in this industry because at the end of the day – it makes it easier for me to do what I do. From underground/indie to mainstream. As far as your last question about material idiocy, etc…i really don’t agree with that. The society we live in didn’t become the society we live in over night and we cant blame rappers for that or the powers that create playlist etc for what it is – these people did not start “the fire” if you will. The reality is people (the masses) enjoy what is being showcased – if they didnt they wouldn’t support it so if people aren’t responding to your music – make better music. Period.
Regarding your question about working hard, I do work hard and pay attention to my lyrics etc, thats not to say those who are getting the most shine now dont. The dynamics of anyone’s creative process is really none of my concern. I do know that for the most part, Artist (no matter what lane) work damn hard.
I also cant speak on how real or relevant someone else’s music is. I don’t know these people personally. Just like people don’t know me personally. Its all relative. All I can do as an artist is be true to myself, my craft and my fans. I’m not here to judge anyone. Im not God.
Who or what are your biggest influences and inspirators that helped you form your artistry today?
I grew up listening to Lauryn Hill, Redman, Naughty by Nature, Nikki D, Mobb Deep, Jay-Z etc. Growing up in New Jersey exposed me to a lot of artist with great word play and flow. When i was coming up it was all about the flow, the lyrics/content and passion an artist used to get their point across. Adversely, I love rhythm & blues too, so i would also listen to my mom’s cds. The Gap Band, Frankie Beverly & Maze, confunkshun, etc. These artist taught me song structure, melody, harmony, etc – all of which are important to know when writing songs of any genre
How was the transition from coming up as an artist in Jersey then moving to Atlanta for you? I know that Nicki Minaj found her fame by making that same move from Queens when she was coming up. What is it about Atlanta that seems to have black music flourishing right now?
Atlanta simply has better opportunities to advance in music right now. Atlanta historically is a black mecca of sorts so its only right that black music would be so prevalent here. It’s competitive as hell though. Everyone does music here it seems. Thats not a bad thing though-it forces artist to set themselves apart and to find who they are. There are some very talented people here and everyone was the best on their block, in their city or whatever..so if you can come here and make a name for yourself amongst all these talented folks you are on to something. I think the powers that be in music understand all of what I just said about Atlanta, so thats why artist that come out of this city get a lot of respect.
Let’s delve deeper into your musical material, i notice that you have an overall sound of your own. Lots of big boom bap type beats and you fluidly flow between them. How do you navigate your beat selections and what do you look for in a producer? If you had the choice to work with any producer who would that be?
When I start a project I contact producers and ask if they want in. From there I record to what moves me. There is no formula. Its like shopping – you know what you want when you see it. I work with D.R.U.G.S a lot, he’s dope. Also Illastrate, Simon Stone, The Beat Gods, and of course Organzied Noize. It would be dope to work with Kanye West one day. Im just curious about how that dude creates. I’ve been a fan of Kanye since it wasnt cool to be a fan of Kanye. I appreciate his evolution as an artist and individual. So it would be fly to work with him. Ski Beats is dope – I think him and Mos Def’s Taxi is one of my favorite songs of all time. Nottz Raw, also dope
What’s new for Adrift Da Belle? You just had your mixtape ” Drift Chronicles ” drop in May! any upcoming shows or newer material we should look out for soon?
We just dropped the official music video for my single RAW (http://youtu.be/u2yEPVCXbt8) it was directed/edited by @HdotRoss of Street Execs … we have two more filmed; one for Love Somebody -(Directed by W.Feagins, Jr) and Get Money (Directed by @HdotRoss)..then we may do one more…we’ll see.
Far as shows, Im starting a Concert Series called #BELLE100 Concert Series here in ATL. The first show is Saturday 8/4 at the Apache Cafe (Midtown) and will feature performances by Sidestreet Ked, Phene, Twanee Baby, Stanza, Small Eyez and myself. Its going to be hosted by ATL’s Hip Hop Ambassador, Fort Knox with Comedian Sonny G helping him out. Music will be provided by my DJ, DJ Dynamite. It’s going to be a great time. I’m really looking forward to it. There arent very many outlets for indie artist to perform anymore in ATL. The goal is to take the show on the road early next year. Sky’s the limit you know
Tell us something besides music that you hold dear to your heart and why?
I love my family, friends and cooking.My family are greatly supportive of me and have been since I started so have my friends. They always encourage me. Food is just delicious – I love food. My grandmother is an excellent cook. I’ve been told i was a greedy baby so I guess i get it honest. Im seriously considering attending culinary school. I want to own a restaurant one day…
Download DRIFT CHRONICLES (The Mixtape) w/ DJ E. Sudd today!!
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