The Iconic Multi Platinum Singing Sensation Adina Howard [Interview]
The Iconic Multi Platinum Singing Sensation Adina Howard
Interviewed and written by Tocarra Eldridge
Adina Howard is one of the most memorable and greatest artists that the 90’s generation has ever seen and was created from that era. As an R&B icon, the International Multi-Platinum Award-winning artist has influenced the likes of artist such as Lil Kim and Foxy Brown.
Howard’s album releases includes Do You Wanna Ride?, Welcome to Fantasy Island, The Switch Up, and Resurrection, just to name several. One of her most recognized albums is Do You Wanna Ride?, which struck certified gold and platinum in 1995. She would become a household name as she eventually reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 with her single “Freak Like Me”. Some of Adina Howard’s other chart-topping singles include songs such as “T-shirt and Panties” and “Switch”.
Aside from her musical artistry, being gifted and talented as she is, the Grand Rapids, Michigan native also has acting under her belt as she has appeared in films such as Casanova’s Demise, Poke the Sleeping Bear and Relaxer. She has also appeared in the stage play Man of God.
Currently as she tours the globe, I had the privilege to catch up with the multi-dimensional songstress Adina Howard to discuss her new album, the key to her longevity and success, as well as her ability to empower young women. Here is what she has to share with the readers.
Tocarra Eldridge: You are working on a new album and a single that is soon to be released. Would you like to tell us a little about this amazing and exciting project?
Adina Howard: The project is pretty much a follow-up to the music that I’ve been releasing over the years. This project, like most of my projects, is based around my journey, and how I do what I do – how I process things. I’m very excited about it because I get to deliver music to the people that support me. It’s all about being truthful and speaking my truth. The music is always going to be about my truth.
Tocarra: What do you believe makes this album different from any other project that you have ever recorded?
Adina: I don’t strive to be different; I just strive to be me. My music will always have a common theme. I don’t think that I have to give you something different in order for you to pay attention to what I’m doing. Life has a tendency to be repetitious, so to speak, and we have a tendency to go through life and experience things in a certain manner. So, with this project, the only difference, if there is to be a difference, the difference would be the way I am in this particular moment in my life and what I choose to share in this moment.
Tocarra: Do you have a favorite or any favorite songs that you wrote for the project that are close to you? If so, can you tell us why?
Adina: I am still in the process of creating this project, so there is not one particular song that I like. I am one of those individuals, as an artist, there is not ever one song that I fall in love with like ‘oh my God y’all gotta hear this song, this is it’! (laughs). Every song has a piece of me in it.
Tocarra: In the music industry you set a very attractive tone with your sexual lyrics and image. Can we expect this album to portray the same? If not, do you mind sharing the new tone or image that you will portray?
Adina: See, that’s where it will be different. (laughs) I am so over the whole hypersexual active situation. My focus is going to be on where I am at this moment. Sex is so overdone at this point in the industry – what would make that stand out amongst what Beyonce, Nicki Minaj or whoever else is doing? I don’t care to do that anymore because everybody else is doing it. They can go ahead and run away with it; I’ll continue to be on my path and embrace the road or the trail that I’m supposed to be on. If I happen to do a song that has to do with something sexual – it’s not going to be the focus. If you really pay attention to the albums that I’ve done before, especially that Do You Wanna Ride, the only reason why the sexual music was highlighted is because that was what they wanted to highlight. If you listen to the other songs on the album many of the songs were not sexual. All of my projects have had songs that had nothing to do with sex. There was never an album that from start to finish [sex] was all it was. Even though that seems to be the focus, there is so many things that I deal with. I deal with heart ache, disappointment and anger. Whatever I do, it’s always going to accomplish the things that I go through on my journey because we as human beings do not just stay on one level. There are ups and downs; it’s a rollercoaster ride. That’s always what my projects are going to be because that’s my life.
Tocarra: When your fans and listeners listen to the album, what can they anticipate hearing?
Adina: They will be able to hear growth in my vocal ability. They will be able to hear my spiritual growth, my mental and emotional growth. That’s one of the things that I always strive to do, is to always present the growth that I’ve encountered in my life, because if you’re stagnant and stay still…there is no point of you even being who you are.
Tocarra: Is there a projected time and date that you expect the project to be rereleased?
Adina: We’re hoping that the release of the single will be second quarter, but we are not in a rush to put music out there because we have to do it right.
Tocarra: As an R&B artist, I know you have had many challenges while being a woman in the music industry. Adina, what has been the secret to the longevity of your success?
Adina: I say this with all due respect…not giving a f--k! (laughs) I don’t care about what people think about me. I don’t care about what people say about me because what you eat doesn’t make me s--t. You don’t pay my bills; you’re irrelevant to me. So, I’m not going to focus on what people think or what people say because my life has never evolved around that. I don’t care! Ever! If you have a problem with me, you have a problem with me, take that up with the divine and keep it moving.
Tocarra: In 2010 you enrolled in Culinary School and now hold the title chef under your belt. This venture seems like a humbling experience. As an iconic figure, how was that experience for you?
Adina: To get my Associates Degree in Culinary School has been a blessing because it has allowed me to regain control of my life, and that is very very important, to give myself direction. Being in the industry at the age of 21, although they said I was 19 in the industry – see that’s one thing the industry does – they love to lie. You see reality TV and they do that all the time. Simply regaining control of my life was the main thing. People fail to understand that when you’re in the industry it doesn’t matter what area of entertainment you’re in, there is a form of control that you give up because you allow people to direct you and guide you. In this sense, I’ve allowed myself to say ‘you know what, this isn’t just the sole thing I do; I am not just this’. Many people think oh she’s Adina Howard of the industry. The industry didn’t make me. The creator made me. I just wanted to continue to create and mold me into who I wanted to be, into the image that I want to be proud of.
Going to Culinary School for me gave me essence of pride because I’d accomplished something that no one can take away from me. That was very important for me. I’m a control freak, and when it comes to being a freak, that’s the biggest freak I am – a control freak. To give up my control, it gets under my skin, and I had to get that back because just allowing the industry to take over and dictate ‘this is what we’re going to do, this is how we’re going to do it, and when we’re done with you, you’re done’. I will let you know I’m not! And I’m going to show y’all.
Tocarra: Do you have any other endeavors, hobbies, etc., that you enjoy or partake in during your spare time?
Adina: One of my hobbies that I love to do is fly kites. It’s one of those things I’ve been doing since I was a little girl. Kite flying is something that’s so peaceful and intriguing to me, so I do that when I can. In life in general, in order to strive to certain heights you have to have wind beneath your wings. There’s always going to be an umbilical cord or something tethered to you, and you can only get so far. You can get high, but there’s only going to be so far you can go. The string is my creator keeping me grounded, but I am able to soar to different unknown heights. I get to appreciate that.
Cooking is actually a hobby of mines. I love to feed people, because it’s like a form of seduction and I’m a manipulator. (laughs) I’m just going to be truthful; I love to manipulate and I know that my food can manipulate your mind and your body and get you exactly where I want you to be.
I enjoy just being at peace. There are moments when I just don’t want to do anything at all. I want total silence and in a place where I can just be still, and be centered, and be grounded and just listen and allow the universe and my creator to talk to me. That to me is the most amazing thing in the world.
Tocarra: There are many artists striving to break into the music industry. Do you have any words-of-encouragement for upcoming or aspiring artist who are looking to have the success that you have had over the past several decades?
Adina: The advice that I always love to give is to know the business. There is a line that says 90% business and 10% show. Focus on the 90% business, because with the 10% you will always be able to show up and show out. If you don’t know the business, what’s the point of you even being in it, because you’re going to end up back at ground zero because you haven’t paid your taxes, you haven’t saved any money – so know the business side. Be business savvy. Save your money and pay your taxes. Don’t hire someone who doesn’t have a track record of success, so what’s the point? If you don’t have a track record then that means you can’t get me to where I want to go. Don’t allow yourself to be a guinea pig and allow someone to use you to get to their heights. Focus on what you need to do and be a leader. There are moments when you have to follow, and that’s mandatory, but make sure if you’re going to follow someone that they’re worth you following. In order to be a great leader you need to make sure that person you’re following is an example of that.
Tocarra: Adina, before we close the interview would you like to add anything in closing that we haven’t discussed?
Adina: For me, it’s all about being genuine and authentic – be true to yourself – because when it’s all said and done following another person’s lead is not going to get you where you need to be. Your spiritual GPS needs to be calibrated to where the divine wants you to go, not where somebody expects you to go and you be what someone else expects you to be. If you become what people expect you to be and you go where people expect you to go, you won’t ever arrive to your destination because it’s not where you want to go, it’s not who you expect yourself to be. It’s someone else’s provision for you.
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