Delve into this exclusive interview with New York singer-songwriter ADIV, joining forces with the LA native India Shawn. Together, they interlace their new, ethereal, soft layered soundscape that beckons us to plunge into their sublime harmonies. 'Perfect Time' allows us to drift into a euphoric dreamscape, evoking emotions of yearning for that particular person and not wanting to waste a second without them. Through this interview, discover the birth of this collaboration as we gain insight into the minds behind it.
Taking it back to where it all began, it was essential to understand how these two crossed paths. As India Shawn chuckles, she recounts, "I was just a fan of his Instagram page." What started off as internet friends sparked a co-creation. "He [ADIV] invited me to the studio, and we made this incredible song together in our first session. It was a no-brainer for me."
Sharing his side of their discovery story, ADIV reveals, "I've been living in LA now for six years. This is the first piece of music I'm releasing since my first project in 2021." 'Life Could Be Different' (2021) by ADIV showcased his borderless musicality, spotlighting the unconventional, as his catalogue breathed a level of freshness often championed within the alternative space. Applauding him for his authenticity when developing the creation of his unique sound, his elevation was bound to lead ADIV into rooms he would immediately be recognised.
"I've been a fan of India for years. She works with a lot of people that I admire. I've always liked her voice and everything she's put out. We just met randomly. She was eavesdropping on one of my conversations and joined in," he told us.
"We instantly clicked. I asked if she wanted to do a session, and we made this song. It all happened very, very organically."
Throughout our conversation, the chemistry between ADIV and Shawn was palpable, unveiling a profound working relationship that resulted in their creative synergy. While deciphering ADIV's approach, Shawn shared her insights, stating, "ADIV is definitely a person that lets the inspiration come to him." Shedding light on their artistic style, she continued, "He really took the lead, which made me comfortable to start humming my own melodies. We were just bouncing off each other.”
ADIV echoed similar sentiments, emphasising the power of collaborative sessions in music-making. Songwriting for the last 15 years, he highlighted, "I think collaborative sessions are always the best way to make music. My whole studio environment revolves around going in, sitting with someone, and bouncing ideas off them." Reflecting on the invaluable contribution of Shawn to their creative process, ADIV added, "For me, it was nice to see her in her element and for her to show me how she writes and creates her melodies. Without her, there would be no hook or pre-hook." Ultimately, when collaborating, musicians must first begin with a conversation. Like a dance, collaborative songwriting requires respect and understanding that gradually evolves, leading to a deeper connection that translates to a killer track.
Produced by their mutual friend David Michael Ott, 'Perfect Time' emerges as a sonic composition blending sultry, ambient textures of Shawn's sun-kissed vocals and ADIV's gentle tones. Effortlessly melding electronic synth chords with pulsating drum patterns, 'Perfect Time' is a soulful, sexy concoction; leaving us in a temporary dream-state. Adding an extra layer of genuineness, the intentional incorporation of live instruments enhances the listening experience further. "I love synths. I love the 80s, but I love not making it so obvious that I'm doing the 80s," ADIV confessed. "I always want to make music that I like. I love instruments and sounds and knew [India] would too."
Unpacking the creative process further, Shawn added, "We were definitely recording dry. Whatever we had to give that day, that's what it gave." Dry recording: capturing audio without any added effects or processing such as auto-tune. "That was different but necessary," she went on. "I needed to get out of my comfort zone, and it pushed me to [deliver] my best vocals."
"India can be jazzy. And I love that, and I didn't know that." Reflecting on the experience as a whole and their takeaways from what they learnt from one another, ADIV expresses his appreciation, saying, "Just hearing her sing and being very jazz-influenced, I love that." Grateful for the compliment, India reciprocates the admiration, stating, “ I love his [musical] approach to songwriting and the not thinking so hard part. It turns out to be more poetic and leaves room for interpretation, which is important and just makes the song cooler."
Defining the “Perfect Time”, ADIV states “There is no ‘perfect time’. Whatever you want to do, do it. Whatever you want to say, say it. Don’t wait for that moment that you have built up in your head. We all have these moments that we will build up in our heads like ‘Oh, when I’ve reached X, I’m going to do this.’ Every crazy thing that’s ever happened to me has happened at my lowest points or inopportune moments. Whether it’s relationships, business, careers, artistically; there is no perfect time. Just make sure you do what you want to do at that moment.”
As the conversation shifted towards their musical influences and current favourites, Shawn eagerly shared her current rotation., "I'm here for the London girlies," she confessed. "I've been listening to a lot of Cleo Sol and my girl Tiana Major9 who I'm obsessed with. Shout out to them." Acknowledging her love for the live sound, Shawn emphasised it as an aspect of music she deeply resonates with. "I'm moving towards more live sound and just remembering that's what I love. That's what moves me. Those artists are definitely in that realm of music."
"I was definitely going to say Cleo Sol. [India] definitely stole my answer," ADIV chimed in. "I've been listening to the latest Cleo Sol project, the latest Miley Cyrus project and the Lil Yachty project. That kind of encapsulates all the types of music I love: country, bluegrass, Americana, and alternative R&B. Those are the elements that are on the [upcoming] project."
Closing our conversation on what we can expect from this talented pair, Shawn beamed as she shared her recent London show. "This will be my first ever solo London show. I'm so excited and, of course, a new body of work."
Also holding exciting developments, ADIV disclosed, "My second EP is coming out this fall. It's called Liberty, so look out for that. And I have a couple of shows in London this fall in October too."
Stream their new single, 'Perfect Time' and be sure to show ADIV some love at his live show this Autumn.
Photography by Monique Gardener