Singer/Songwriter, Destiny ‘Adia’ Andrews was born in St Louis, Missouri but I’d say she hailed from Huntsville, Alabama. She calls herself a mutt when trying to describe exactly where she’s from, as she grew up all over. But “Huntsville is home” she insists. That’s where all her close relatives and her late grandmother – the most important piece to her puzzle—were from. Admittedly, She should probably come with a warning sign, one that reads “slow down, no assumptions just yet!” If you don’t know, Adia is a Gospel singer but not the average.
I attended the Source 360 sponsored showcase last month in Brooklyn uncertain of exactly what to expect when Adia stepped on the stage. She was beautiful, energetic and most notably, extremely faddy. It didn’t take long to realize that Adia had something else to offer, something rare. There was so much more behind the sporty snap back and the ripped jeans she rocked and she was not shy about revealing it. I had the pleasure of being blown away by her moving and inspirational vocals and lyrics. I even got a chance to meet her when she was done and I could tell then that what she displayed on stage was not a façade but who she actually is at heart. I offered Aida my hand and with all this beautiful bubbly energy she completely disregarded it and gave me a big hug as if we’d known each other forever.
About a week later she and I had the chance to really catch up.
TP: I know you have all kinds of stuff going with the album coming and everything but first tell me a little about yourself, growing up, how you started singing and all that good stuff.
Adia: Okay well I was born into a musical family; my parents have been traveling and doing workshops my entire life so when I was in my mom’s belly I was at rehearsal (chuckle). So yeah ever since I was a kid I was playing and singing and writing, I always had a studio growing up in my house. My parents just kind of nurtured the gift, I was in dance throughout junior high and music was just always something that I loved. When I started taking it seriously initially I was trying to pursue a mainstream career and I experienced some things in my life that showed me I needed to take a new path and as God kind of saved me and rescued me my life started to change, you know, and my music changed with it but I’m still authentic to the urban background and the music I like to make. It’s not traditional Christian music but if you strip away the beat and the music, the message is still God and it’s still Jesus.
TP: I’m glad you went there because that was one of my next questions. Did you feel like that was risk to take because I know that genre can be extra critical when artists come in and they’re mixing the Gospel and Hip-Hop.
Adia: It’s hard, they’re becoming more and more receptive of it, but for so long they were afraid of it because it didn’t look and sound like what they’re used to. The Gospel industry is definitely very traditional so I did feel like I was taking a risk but at the same time I felt like this is something that’s needed for our generation; you know they need something that they sonically like to hear on the radio that they can listen to. I just wanted to bring a different element to our generation and say look you can still love God and you can still be creative and you can be artistic and use your gift to magnify him.
I let Adia know that I totally agreed with her outlook. I think her approach will allow the youth to feel that it’s “OK” to praise God and even cool to! Speaking of cool I had some more questions for the Hip-Hop Christian vocalist. She’s super stylish so I wanted to know who inspired her style wise and how she came up with her fashion ideas. Adia mentioned Beyoncé as her favorite, Rihanna and Teyana Taylor, “I’m kind of like a tomboy at heart but then I’m still a girl” she said with a laugh. Tia and Tamera Mowry were also mentioned as some of her fashion inspirations.
As far as musically, you can find some Mary Mary, Kierra Sherad, Lecrae, Sia, of course a little Bey and Rihanna and even a little Rap on her iPod – all genres, just good music.
Next we got into the album – Behind the Enemy Lines. I was intrigued immediately by the title especially after watching her perform and seeing some of her videos online. This is what the alluring lady had to say…
“The album concept is simply talking about the battle field of the mind and how a lot of times we hold ourselves hostage and we’re the ones keeping ourselves away from everything that God has for us and so the album talks about being trapped behind enemy lines in your mind and you being your own worst enemy at the end of the day. It speaks of the journey going from that to a place of peace and willingness and surrendering to the will of God.”
One of Adia’s videos that I watched was titled, “Rags to Riches.” After viewing it I was touched and needed to know just how personal her music is. “It’s my story,” she explained. Straightforward, but a testament that if you’ve been brought up in church or simply have a relationship with God, this girl’s music will move you. The visuals matched to each tune make the project even more touching. Adia expressed that her ministry is her life, her testimony. Her issues with fear and anxiety—issues that I’m certain most young people deal with, I know I do—her lack of peace and how her voyage, spiritually and music brought her back to serenity.
Another one of her music videos for a record called In “Your Seat” has a much more up-tempo feel.
The chorus goes:
I know that you wanna praise him
Go ahead go in right now
You can praise him in your seat
It don’t matter where you are
You can praise him on your job
You can praise him in your car
Go on praise him in your seat
Adia shot the video in NYC (her first time ever in New York!) The video shows her true experience, stopping at Essence and having her listening party.
For the close out question, I wanted to know what advice Adia had for the youth, trying to pursue their dreams in the music and entertainment industry. “My biggest advice would be to stay true to who you are. It’s very cliché but it’s a really important thing to do. For me I realize that people can tell when you’re not authentic and when you’re pretending to be something that you’re not or you’re trying too hard to do this or that, like no, stay true to who you are and if the Lord is telling you that this is what he wants you to do then you follow that and you don’t let nobody tell you that you can’t, don’t let nobody come and try to discourage you or tell you different because when you’re sure and you know the path that God has laid out for you that voice is always there and that feeling is always there and I believe in following that gut. So never, ever, ever, ever compromise who you are for the sake of other people, stay true to who you are!”
Adia’s album Behind Enemy Lines is in stores now. Her latest single “Torn Identity” is in heavy rotation and is available on iTunes. She is headed on tour in November and you can follow her on twitter and Instagram at @Adiasings and watch her videos on YouTube. Also check her site out adiaofficial.com for everything you want to know!