She may be the vintage queen of Toronto, but electronic pop artist Adaline claims a pinch of small town B.C. in the eclectic Canadian upbringing that brought her from sea to shining sea and back to the centre of the universe.
In a telephone interview with the Kelowna Capital News this week, she shared a little known secret: she once lived in the Okanagan. Thus her tour stop next month at the Streaming Café, for a performance streamed live via the Internet, marks a returning to old haunts.
Her first tour through the sunny city was for college, which she attended under the given name she does not give out for interviews about her music career. Okanagan University College, now Okanagan College, provided a way to acclimatized to the concept of study—a pursuit which would last some time for this creative soul.
“I went to four universities and did English and theatre, so I think I was just doing my first year requirements…when I was there,” she said, noting her family still lives in the area.
Labelled as from Vancouver, Adaline was actually born in Ottawa. Her family hopped and skipped around the country as she grew. Eventually, she spent eight years in her adopted West Coast “home town” before deciding Toronto might be a better fit for her anthemic, electronic pop; but the rambling road left its impression.
All of that practice in the moving van produced a young woman with a fluid sense of identity. She reportedly shed her given name after calling her phone company to complain about a huge bill she couldn’t pay and hearing that the company’s new “Add a Line” promotion could solve all her problems.
The ever-glamorous, even exalted Adaline persona, in all her sequin-clad finery, has not proven a rocket ship to the moon as a professional identity. There are very few electronic-influenced female pop stars in Canada and they are certainly not the focus of folk-obsessed mainstream indie music fans. As such, Adaline has had a hard time on the marketing and radio-play front, working for years to break in.
“Music is a creative thing, but sometimes the industry isn’t that creative,” she said. “So I haven’t really found a lot of other artists to tour with so far.”
Nevertheless, donning a new skin as Adaline certainly helped the girl beneath the movie star face shed her roots as the daughter of a preacher belting it out in the Beesley Family Singers.
Similar to Dragonette and Austra in Canada, her sound mirrors the moment in Europe with a look to match Welsh pop siren Marina Diamandis, of Marina and the Diamonds, or Florence Welch, of Florence and the Machine. And just as Feist went overseas to find like minds before making it big under the old maple leaf, Adaline is hoping she might build a transcontinental career, spending time overseas and at home.
With Marten Tromm, Tino Zolfo and Ontario-native Hawksley Workman (née Ryan Corrigan) as producers on her latest album, Modern Romantics, she has certainly impressed the right industry names in Canada already. Adaline is presently travelling the country on the CBC Radio 3 train, Tracks on Tracks. She has been compared to Judy Garland by the national broadcaster’s spin masters, for her melodramatic stage presence, and is clearly considered a darling among their subset.
She has also secured the attention of a vintage shop in her Toronto neighbourhood. The shop owners put aside anything and everything they figure will keep her in the shoulder pads and sparkling shine to which she’s become accustomed.
And the Streaming Café has bent its usual constraints as well to make her June 2 show a success.
Adaline will play the Streaming Café on Saturday, June 2 for a special late show beginning at 10 p.m. Space is limited. Tickets are $12 in advance or $17 at the door, at 596 Leon Ave, Kelowna.