Canadian music producer Adaku releases music as ‘Adaku Live’ and is influenced by a range of genres, including house, jazz, blues, rock, funk, disco, afrobeat and more. This range makes each of her shows as exciting and different as the last. From learning to mix for her friends’ house parties while studying at law school to growing her audience through the recommendations of others, she has consistently gone from strength to strength. So far, she has performed at shows in America, Canada and Ghana. Her recent venture ‘Presenting Adaku Live’ involves Adaku putting together mini live sets, each with a different theme and lasting for around 5-10 minutes. Notable mixes include ‘the boy’, an experimental masterpiece, featuring Miley Cyrus and Halsey amongst others- as well as ‘he’ll do what she does’, a bass and house fuelled mix, featuring artists such as Grimes and Shenseea.
Currently based in New York, she has created a mix in collaboration with Atomic Vox, called adaku live x atomic vox: amy winehouse is one of my favourite artists. It is a mix influenced by females in music, with each song included either performed or produced by a woman.
Specifically, the mix consists of the following tracks:
- ‘Cherry Bomb’ – The Runaways (Cherie Currie vocals)
- ‘Leave (Get Out)’- JoJo [Lenny Globe edit]
- ‘Drunk in love’- Beyonce (Jeni Suk) [manlikekane remix]
- ‘Stronger Than Me’-Amy Winehouse [el Hawaiano edit]
- ‘Take The Box- Amy Winehouse
- ‘Cold Walk’- Dre Ngozi
- ‘Take The Box/In My Bed’ – Amy Winehouse (Jimmy Hung)
- ‘Nitevision’ – Bambii ft. Pumputtae
- ‘Flagrant Haus’ – Dre Ngozi
- ‘Torn’ – Natalie Imbruglia
Named after one of Adaku’s favourite artists, it acts as a self-proclaimed ode to Winehouse. It features snippets of her words woven into the tracks, beginning with a section of an interview with CNN and finishing with a segment from her interview with Jonathan Ross. This is due to Adaku’s admiration of how clear Winehouse was in interviews, that she wanted to make music that connected people.
We caught up with Adaku over email, to discuss the inspiration behind her recent mixes, her favourite shows that she’s played, and everything in-between.
How did your interest in producing begin?
“My love for music has always been strong, but my interest in production officially began two years ago.”
What is your favourite show that you’ve played?
“I fondly remember performing in Accra, Ghana in December of 2019. I happily laced the evenings with house, disco, funk, and afrobeat music.”
What inspired you to start doing your 5-10 minute mixes?
“I took a break for a bit. During my time in quarantine, I began to put a new spin on mixing, allowing myself to push the brim creatively and experimentally. I wanted to be able to create musical moments and journeys through mini sets. Each set is influenced by recently explored notions of nostalgia, memory and mood.”
Which is your favourite mix that you’ve produced so far?
“This mini set was inspiring because it was exclusively influenced by female artistry and consisted of female musicians who had either performed or produced the track. I used to have a favourite, but the meaning behind each set is so varied, I have to say that now, they are all my favourites.”
When did you first listen to Amy Winehouse?
“I began listening to Amy Winehouse when I was in elementary school. She was just…good.”
What made you decide to dedicate this mix to her?
“Coincidentally, I created the set on the day of her ninth anniversary. She is authentic, talented, uncured, and terrifically human. She had always been clear in her interviews that she makes music that makes people connect. I liked that about her.”
Which female artists are you listening to at the moment?
“The female artists I listen to have either influenced my sound or align with what I’m currently interested in. For example, in the mini set, amy winehouse is one of my favourite artists, I sampled staple female artists such as Amy Winehouse, Beyonce and JoJo but I wanted to make sure to call attention to some of the talented female producers in Toronto, such as Dre Ngozi and Bambii. I typically do this throughout my sets. I like to blend influential artists with emerging artists.”
How have you found being a female producer in the industry?
“It has been exciting so far. The inspiration is endless.”
Do you have any advice for other women with aspirations to become a music producer?
Keep up with Adaku Live: