Montreal-based singer-songwriter Adeline Saive has spent the last year experimenting with genres including pop, folk, and soul, and is learning avidly from industry professionals, while having successfully released three singles in 2020 as an independent artist. Her anglophone debut single gathered over 20,000 streams on Spotify, and her francophone debut ranked in the Top 200 ADISQ charts in Québec for 8 weeks straight, thus demonstrating her commitment and a promising potential.
Her parents both being classical musicians, Saive was exposed to music since childhood and was encouraged to rigorously pursue an instrument. She began with the flute, piano and voice, and then learned the acoustic guitar. She sang in several choirs as a child (Singapore Symphony Children’s Choir, Jeune Choeur Ferney- Voltaire) before moving to solo performances in her teens in musical events and plays, leading Chicago & Phantom of the Opera.
She began songwriting at the age of 13, and over time gained musical and lyrical inspirations from such artists as Taylor Swift, Kasey Musgraves, Whitney Houston, Ed Sheeran, Patrick Droney, Francis Cabrel, Zachary Richard, Lara Fabien, Kygo and Stromae.
Adeline’s multicultural background, being raised in Tokyo, Geneva, Singapore, Copenhagen and Montréal, is a foundational part of her identity and explains why she is constantly drawn to diversity and experimentation in her creative process.
Today, she continues to collaborate virtually with other artists, engages with her audience through monthly livestreams, and she is actively working alongside renowned producers in Montreal such as Chris Vincent from Busty and the Bass, Lucas Liberatore from Planet Studios and Stephano Galante, producer of Andrea Bocelli, on the production of her debut EP, expected for Spring 2021.
Check out our brand new interview with Adeline below where we discuss her new single “Playlist”, the creative process behind her upcoming debut EP, and what her perfect Christmas playlist looks like!
What was the inspiration behind your latest single “Playlist”?
This song is a dreamy reminiscence of a past love, brought to life again through hearing “our song” on my playlist. I am fascinated by how music can awaken our memories in such vivid ways. I am sure everyone has a song that reminds them of their mother, perhaps their grandparents, ex-lovers, best friends on a road trip, or current partners.
And when that song comes on, it’s like you see everything just as it was in that particular moment; our senses rekindled, and the details revitalized.
I wanted this song to have a nostalgic touch, translated through soft bells, vocal echoes, and synth pads, but still remain positive through a solid groove and an uplifting melody.
Also, this song is a subtle homage to the modernization of technology, as this new generation now uses playlists instead of making mixtapes in order to express, display and share their emotions and moods. The technology may have evolved, but the underlying sentiment of sharing music and communicating through music remains unchanged.
In describing the track, you said “Words, faces, feelings, visuals, emotions, senses, details, … what comes back to you when “that song” comes on for you?” What’s a song that has that kind of impact on you?
What I love so much about this song, is that the underlying theme is so universal and something that happens to us so often, that we may not even be aware of.
This song embodies the fact that, even after time has settled, it just takes one song to take us back to a specific memory in space and time. Wonderful, painful, or bittersweet, we can see all the details once again. And there’s almost nothing we can do, it’s anchored. The lyrics of “Playlist” don’t focus on whether this is a pleasant feeling or not, but rather how powerful music really is.
What’s interesting is that different songs have that effect on me, for example, Queen and Genesis take me back to driving in the car with my Dad when I was little, Stephen Day takes me back to memories with an ex or the song “Fire In Me” brings me back to a road trip on the Great Ocean Road with my Australian friends. And here’s the thing, I could be doing the dishes, but when that song comes on years later, it stops me in my tracks and I see it all vividly, still!
With Christmas coming up, which songs would be on your perfect Christmas “playlist”?
I love the classics: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”, Michael Bublé is a MUST! But otherwise, Stevie Mackey just released a new Christmas album and he’s an incredible singer!
What was it like for your anglophone debut single to get such a positive response with over 20,000 Spotify streams?
It was very heartwarming! As my first ever single, this was wonderful news! I think people who knew me and friends who hadn’t heard from me in a while were a bit surprised to see me jump into music like that (because I was coming from a different background, having done business and psychology in university), and they were just really happy. As an indie artist, I’m very grateful for the support, the positive feedback of the song, and to receive these encouragements. It definitely motivates me to continue to write and release songs!
Both of your parents are classical musicians. What key lessons did you learn from them about being a musician?
That it’s tough! Haha! They definitely taught me discipline and work ethic, but also, they raised me to have a curiosity and love for music and be open to a variety of styles. I think that’s why today, I really like to experiment with different genres and I really do like numerous styles of music! I love big pop sounds, or simple acoustic / folk singer-songwriter genres or gospel & soul.
I’m really grateful because my parents don’t put any pressure on me. They didn’t push me to do this at all, and didn’t even expect me to actually, they are just happy for me no matter what.
Having a multicultural background, and having been raised in Tokyo, Geneva, Singapore, Copenhagen and Montréal, how did those experiences inspire your creative process?
Definitely a strong sense of curiosity and open mindedness. Seeing and experiencing so many cultures, you really get a sense that ultimately, there is not one way to do things, there is no one right way. Creatively, that’s very freeing. I try not to be scared of making a mistake but instead, to try things, test different instruments and sounds and see them as simply a different unique way of doing things.
I’m also aware that music definitely has an impact on humans, regardless of the culture you are a part of. This is exciting to me, and I just want to be a part of it; this global human creative narrative!
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve been virtually collaborating with other artists, and have been holding monthly livestream concerts. As an emerging artist, have you found it to be more or less difficult to collaborate and engage with an audience while live concerts are on hold? Why?
Definitely harder. Engaging with an audience virtually is very challenging because I cannot hear them, I cannot see them, the delays don’t help, and I think for the audience too, it’s always better to experience music together surrounded by other people who are enjoying it as well, so the overall experience is different.
Collaborations are trickier too logistically, but artists are generally keen to collaborate! In general, we have to adjust and make the most of this difficult situation, even though it may not be ideal, everyone is very understanding of the new way of doing things and very accommodating. I’ve had friends tune into my livestreams while they cook dinner, wind down from work, or do a quick work-out!
I think even with technical difficulties it is important that art continues no matter what, because it is such an essential part of human existence and it helps carry us through every season.
Currently, you are working with a trio of renowned producers in Montreal such as Chris Vincent from Busty and the Bass, Lucas Liberatore from Planet Studios and Stephano Galante, producer of Andrea Bocelli. How’d did you begin working with them? What do they bring to the table? What kind of impact have they had so far on the creative process of your debut EP?
I researched them actually, (I do my homework!) and found them through other artists. I tried to find producers that could be a good match for the style or the particular song I wanted to hire them for. At this point in my musical journey, I really wanted to explore and work with different people to learn how different professionals work, and also, how I work and adapt to various situations. I definitely learned a lot about myself and what works best for my creative workflow, for example: what are the areas that I usually need help with, what do I seek out in a producer, where are the areas that I need to be better at communicating etc… so it was a very enriching process, that was necessary.
These producers are very versatile, which was important to me. They bring an external opinion, which is extremely valuable, and I really enjoy asking them questions or brainstorming with them, to really see their ideas and creative approach and to tap into their expertise and experience.
One thing that I find both scary and thrilling is that any song I brought to a producer could potentially have turned out very differently had I chosen another producer for it. But I think that’s what makes a song so unique and such a special moment in time: it is the ideas conjured up in that time, the team of that moment, the creative decisions that were made, and it exists as it is. There would be no way to re-create it exactly, because it was a serendipitous mix of so many variables.
With your debut EP expected to drop in spring 2021, what kind of lyrical themes have you focused on?
My favourite part of songwriting is playing with the rhythmicality of words and creating patterns with them.
The bridge and verse 2 of “Playlist” are perfect examples of that! Words already have a rhythm, a beat, a melody in how you say them. So, crafting lyrics is foundational yet a delicate and meticulous process for me.
The themes explored on the upcoming EP include: self-love, empowerment, loss, love, celebration and mental health.