Check out our interview with rising indie-pop artist Ada Marques who just released her new single “Bell.”
“Bell” takes a captivating and honest look at how our prior relationships can distort our self-image and impact our approach to future opportunities. Echoing the agony of feeling overlooked or forgotten, the narrative of “Bell” mirrors the sonic build of the song. Beginning as an acoustic whisper, meant to represent the insecurities and timidness felt by Ada, the dreamlike indie-folk track builds into a bold explosion of strings and horns, celebrating her decision to rise up, champion herself and release her emotions candidly.
Reinforcing that it is on us, and not on those who’ve damaged us, to dictate what life we will end up living, Ada uses “Bell” to gently remind her listeners to put their ghosts to rest and stop replaying and reliving the same moments over and over again in our head.
Follow Ada @adatheband
Hi Ada, please tell us a little about you?
Hiii! I am a songwriter from Northern California. I’ve been a music fan birth. I knew it was all I wanted to do with my life since I was 7. I have journals with my third grade writing saying I wanted to grow up to be a musician. However, I’ve been always very shy and unsure of my writing so I didn’t show anyone until a year ago. I kind of already accepted that I shouldn’t take my songs seriously, but I received wonderful encouragement from the people I decided to share it with and now “Bell” is living in my phone mastered and produced. It’s crazy to me.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Emotional, shy & passionate
How did you get started in the business?
I feel like I started back in kindergarten when I used to secretly borrow my aunt’s CDs so I could listen to my favorite albums. I would listen and study them everyday after school until my aunt got home and ran to put them back in her room. I was big into Celine Dion, Whitney Hutson and Sheryl Crow back then. I began writing songs that I thought an artist like Celine Dion would sing. So imagine an eight year old writing an uplifting, dramatic, sometimes romantic, power ballad. I started writing for myself around middle school.
How has this changed your life?
It has changed my life in so many ways, but I think the biggest way my life has changed is the way I feel more authentic to myself. For the longest time, I didn’t tell even my closest friends and family about my passion for music. I felt almost insecure about it. Now that I am more open about this huge part of my life. I feel like I am coming into my own.
We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?
I began my journey in a more professional manner six months months ago when I become friends with one of my favorite artists, Paige Shannon. She introduced me to her amazing producer, Chris Reynolds and we began to bring my music to life. Working with Chris has been a dream.
Describe your sound in 3 words?
Soft, confessional and clumsy (but in a good way, hopefully)
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
Female singer-songwriters influenced me deeply. Growing up with artists like Joni Mitchell, Taylor Swift, Stevie Nicks, Tracy Chapman, Carole King and Fiona Apple had such a deep impact in the way I wrote and approached music. Their stories and words still bleed through my wiring to this day and I always go back to them when I’m stuck. As for choosing to make music, I feel like I didn’t have a choice. Music is something that has always been running through me and sticking to every part of my life. I went through a lot of phases like any person would, but music is the only thing that stuck through it all. It was not a decision but more of an instinctual response.
Do you play any instrument?
I play the guitar, piano and dulcimer (which I picked up because of Joni Mitchell of course haha). I want to learn the banjo, bass and drums next!
Do you ever get nervous?
Every single second of every day. I am a very very insecure about my songwriting to this day. I still think my friends are lying to be that they like “Bell.” I am the annoying friend that’s like “are you sure,” “are you lying to me?” Hahah. I am working on it though. I’m learning to be okay with doing the best I can do at that moment in time and that being enough.
Tell us about your new single “Bell?”
Bell was written a couple of years ago on my bedroom floor. It was the first song I felt was good enough about to share with my friends and family. That was the first song most of them heard that was written and sung by me.
What’s the story behind the song?
I wrote it while going through a phase where all I did was listen to Elliot Smith and was deep in my feelings about my tendency to isolate myself from others. It’s about feeling forgotten by someone and wanting to remind them about it but also not wanting to bother them. It’s one of the few songs I’ve written that I can still relate to even now.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
When I feel as if I written something that accurately represents what I felt at the time. I knew “Bell” was finished when my friend asked me, “does it represent everything you wanted to say?” And I could finally say “yes.” I think that’s the most special part of songwriting is being able to capture exactly what you wanted to. Those moments are rare but when it happens, it’s magic and liberating.
What book should every entrepreneur read?
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. My relationship with creativity has always been rocky. This book gave me the tools to start seeing creativity in a more healthy and sympathetic way.
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
Getting stuck in your head only causes frustrations and standstills. For the longest time, I hid such a big part of myself due to me being in my head about what people would think and perceive me as. I wasted so much time not doing what made me happy. I still get in my head all the time but knowing what happens when I get out is a great way to remind myself to stay present.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
It’s okay not to be perfect all the time. I have always been very hard on myself and would be embarrassed at not being great at something the first time I did it. However, that’s part of the process. You’ll write hundreds of bad songs, lose your rhythm while strumming and sing in the wrong key before you get your footing. You may slip up to this day too. It’s all part of the process and nothing to be ashamed of.
How would your best friend describe you?
Honestly, calm. If there is a crisis, my gut instinct is not to panic but to be calm and logical. I am having a melt down internally but I will not show it for the life of me. When I demonstrate very strong emotion to anyone but my journal, its really bad.
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
Then I Try Some More (which is also the title of one of my favorite albums by Joanna Sternberg). I think my life has consisted and probably will always just be me trying my very best at everything and anything.
What’s next for Ada Marques in 2022?
I am finishing up my EP and I hope to release it by the end of the year. This is my first time making a cohesive body of work so it’s been exciting to think of songs as a bigger piece of a puzzle rather than a one off song.
What is your favorite healthy food?
Orange beet juice, I promise its better than it sounds and even better when grandma used to make it. It’s also really good for your skin and cools you down well on a particularly hot day.
And your favorite cheat food?
Fries, fries, fries & I have never felt guilty about it haha.
How would you explain your fashion style?
I like to be comfortable. The most comfortable clothing for me are maxi, oversized dresses. It’s easy to just slip on and go but still look some what presentable. I am a sucker for summer dresses matched with a pair of oxfords.
What is your own definition of happiness?
Doing what you love and being excited to do it every day surrounded by people you admire without measuring it by materialist success and notoriety.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Dolly Parton. I am a huge fan of her songwriting and I want to ask her millions of questions about her process.
What would be the dream holiday, and who would you go with?
My dream holiday is probably going to Greece and pretending I am in Mamma Mia! And that’s one of the most embarrassing things I’ll ever admit. I grew up with that movie, it means more than it should to me. I would want to take the entirety of my friends and family. I can’t choose.
Best advice ever given?
Be kind to yourself. Nothing will get done without sympathy for others and most importantly yourself.
Do you support any charity?
I am a very passionate about climate change and animal rights. I am starting out in a smaller scale with little changes to my life but I also am paying close attention to who I’m voting for and how leaders are making decisions about the future of our planet. I am also very passionate about women’s rights and supporting organizations who fight for a women’s right to choose and make decisions to their bodies.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I hope I am still releasing songs. Whether they are written for me or someone else. I’ll still be writing them no matter what though.
Favorite song? Why?
Oooooo this is such a hard question. I have so so so so many favorite songs and different answers depending on certain circumstances. I think my overall favorite though is “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell. It’s the type of song that grows with you. Seven year old learned something from it and fifty year old will probably learn something else too.
What do you think of Social Media?
Social media has always been very hard for me. I was the type of person who would often delete social media and then download it and then delete again. It’s a love-hate relationship definitely. I have found some of my favorite people/artists/art through social media but it’s also an easy way for me to compare, dissect and obsesses over very unhealthy things.
Where we can follow you?
@adatheband on all platforms! (My username is a nod to one of my favorite artists, Samia). Ada Marques on all streaming platforms!
Book: Devotions by Patti Smith
Quote: “Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars”
Movie: The Princess Diaries is so comforting to me. I can’t explain why, I think it reminds me of home.
Tv Series: Schitt’s Creek. I am a sucker for sitcoms, it’s all I watch basically.
Favorite Food: Japanese food, anything and everything.
Travel Destination: Greece
Sports Team: I am embarrassed to say I know absolutely nothing about sports, but I am from the Bay Area so I think it may be blasphemous to not say The Golden State Warriors. May dad would be very upset with me.