We had the good fortune of connecting with Adeline Um and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adeline, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I started pursuing an artistic career because I believe that story telling is one of the most beautiful ways to connect with others. One of the most rewarding things that I have experienced in my time as a songwriter is being able to openly share my journey with others, which, in turn, allows for others to feel comfortable sharing their own journeys. As an anxious person, I often get really nervous expressing myself because my mind races with so many thoughts; music creates that safe space for sharing your feelings authentically and naturally.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think that one of the things that sets me apart from others is that I am a Korean American artist who is currently based in Scotland, United Kingdom. I came to Scotland for my undergraduate degree, got married, and I haven’t left since! I think that my multi-cultural background gives me a perspective that I never knew that I would have. I am most proud of my evolution from singer-songwriter/jazz singer to a topline songwriter and I have just reached 1 million plays on Soundcloud. Never in a million years did I imagine myself in the Deep House/Electronic music scene, but I was really proud of the fact that I stepped outside of my comfort zone in 2017 to explore my sound even further. I think that I’m also proud of the fact that though I’ve doubted my abilities so many times, I’ve continued to persevere. I got to where I am today through the amazing musicians that I’ve met (virtually and in person) along the way such as Charles Vadala, SubSpace, and Rohaan along with the entire Sofar Sounds community.
One of the biggest lessons that I have learned along the way is to never give up. If you truly believe that you have been given a gift, then you need to use that gift to the best of your abilities no matter what challenges come your way. As I mentioned earlier, there have been so many times where I have doubted my artistry, where I think that I’m not good enough or that I don’t have what it takes to be where I want to be. What I’ve realized is that there’s not enough time in the day to worry about what other people might think of you or if you are good enough or not. I am learning my worth and though it’s a journey, it’s one that I am proud to be a part of.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I live in St. Andrews, Scotland which is about an hour north of the country’s capital, Edinburgh. If my best friend were visiting the area, I would immediately take them to my favorite coffee shop in town called Cottage Kitchen for coffee and Victoria sponge cake. I would then make them hop into my car so that we could drive a few minutes outside of the town and see the cows and sheep that freely roam on their farmland. Scotland is such an amazing place because it is filled with beautiful scenery, but it is also filled with so much history and FUN (especially in Edinburgh and Glasgow). One of my favorite hidden gems is this Korean hole-in-the-wall in Glasgow called Kimchi Cult. Honestly its some of the best Korean street food that I’ve had in my entire life. Also you cannot pass on traveling up north and seeing the Scottish Highlands, Loch Ness, and Glencoe — they are truly some of the most breathtaking scenes that you will ever experience. Also (final thought) you must MUST have an authentic fish and chips in Anstruther, which is about 20 minutes outside of St. Andrews. You will never regret. Basically we would do an entire trip based on food and scenes — what more could you ask for!!!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not be where I am today without the love and support that I received through Berklee City Music. The staff, my colleagues, and my friends all have shaped me and allowed for me to find a sound that is unique to me. My music mentor, Misael Martinez, gave me the confidence to keep pursuing my artistry, even when I felt like I wasn’t enough. My incredible pianist, Charles Vadala, has kicked it with me since 2012 and we have this beautiful and complimentary musicianship bond that has really shaped my sound (he is playing in so many of my tracks on Spotify and Soundcloud). My all-female a cappella group, The Accidentals, taught me what it means to love and accept myself for the beautiful woman that I am and they also gently helped me form a sense of stage presence. My beautiful creative entrepreneur friend, Tiffany Black started my journey with Sofar Sounds, which eventually led me to a Sofar Sounds tour — my first tour ever and hopefully not my last. My most favorite collaborator, SubSpace, has helped me create a new world sound that combines Eastern and Western cultures and has massively expanded my audience. My mom has walked alongside of me for every single song that I have ever written. We have cried through every song together, she has come to almost every one of my shows, and she has supported me unconditionally through my entire journey. Lastly, my husband, Myles Allen has been the source of so much of my inspiration. He has encouraged me in everything that I do, and he truly believes in my artistry (sometimes more than I do).
Eilidh Harbison, Felton Kizer