ADORA: “I feel like my accomplishments look nicer from the outside”

Known for working with the likes of BTS and TXT, rising singer-songwriter ADORA tells NME what it feels like to finally step out of the shadows and into the spotlight

With 10 years in the industry as a producer, songwriter and K-pop all-rounder under her belt, ADORA’s name can often be found tucked underneath mammoth releases by artists (and friends) such as BTS, TXT, GFRIEND and more. But look closely beyond the glittering global achievements and staggering chart successes, there lies the singer-songwriter herself – an angelic yet ambitious Seoul native who just wants to chase her dreams.

Heralded for her ethereal vocals and undeniable knack for songwriting, and with impressive credentials, it would be fair to assume ADORA is already something of an industry power player: headstrong, unafraid and primed for a mega career that a producer-turned-solo artist could have. But when NME caught up with her, it felt most apparent that, yes, while she acknowledges she has done incredible things as part of the rich tapestry of other artists’ history, she can almost hardly believe she is a part of them.

These accomplishments are dazzling enough, and ADORA does not take lightly the support and trust fans of her peers have shown, but it’s clear that a career on the other side of the recording booth is one she has been yearning for some time now. All this has culminated in ADORA making her solo debut with the gritty, bubblegum-tinged alt-pop banger ‘MAKE U DANCE’, featuring Eunha of VIVIZ.

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The single was met with fever-pitch excitement online from the K-pop community when it was released in late-2021. But more than that, the wider music scene has also acknowledged her talents, with the singer being spotlighted by the Recording Academy as a K-pop producer who defined 2021 and named as an artist to watch by NME in our 2022 NME 100 list.

With a whole new year ahead of her, NME speaks to ADORA about what it feels like to finally be in the spotlight, her plans for the future and the best advice she’s ever received.

How do you feel since making your debut as a soloist, and the release of your first digital single, ‘MAKE U DANCE’?

“Thankfully, I had the opportunity to work with great people to prepare and release ‘MAKE U DANCE’. I believe I was able to receive this much attention thanks to the many efforts and works of so many people. It had been a longtime dream of mine to be in the industry as a player with my own music. The fact that I’m really chasing my dreams is overwhelming and shocking to me.”

Taking the decision to move from “behind-the-scenes” to being in the spotlight must have been a little daunting. How did you find it?

“It took quite a bit of time to even make the decision, and there were several setbacks as well, but I feel very thankful that I can take my first steps with all this heartwarming love and attention!”

How did Eunha of VIVIZ come to join you on ‘MAKE U DANCE’, and why did you decide to have a guest artist on your first single?

“I was able to contact her myself through a friend! Actually, I’m pretty shy when it comes to meeting new people and feel uncomfortable asking for favours. But the reason I contacted Eunha despite all that is because I needed a different tone featuring on the track and Eunha’s voice was so perfect! That’s why I approached Eunha.” (Laughs)

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adora solo debut btx txt gfriend producer songwriter achievements
Adora. Credit: AURA Entertainment

What is the best advice you have received while working towards your solo debut?

“The very practical pieces of advice were very helpful to me. There are many instances where I consider everything optimistically, so sometimes, I lose touch with reality. The punches of reality that made me pull myself together in those situations were most memorable.”

Fans love your production style and trust you with their favourite artists. Did you ever feel pressure to “get it right” when working with such global artists?

“There is always a weight I have to carry. Many times, I feel like my career or accomplishments are exaggerated to look nicer from the outside. Especially since I’m the person who knows my weaknesses and inadequacies best, I feel a burden that I need to work harder to meet expectations.”

Although you just debuted, you are not new to music. You’ve enjoyed so much success as a songwriter and producer, having built a fanbase of your own just from that. How did it feel to have so much encouragement from fans who found you through other artists, and even from those artists themselves?

“I didn’t anticipate the support and encouragement of other artists, so I was a little surprised and very touched! I’ve worked with such amazing artists and staff members who’ve had incredible careers, so I was actually quite afraid of being a burden by entering in as a ‘player’ in the game. Their fans have also shown me lots of interest and love toward my new start, so I feel very thankful and strengthened.”

Do you hope to continue producing and writing for other artists while releasing your own music?

“I’m always down and ready to get to work on something if someone reaches out. I don’t want to set any bars or limitations to myself as a solo artist! But this also goes for music. Although I don’t know what the future holds, I would like to do my very best with any upcoming opportunities given to me! It could sound like I’m being overly ambitious, but I really want to work hard and take on new things.”

adora solo debut btx txt gfriend producer songwriter achievements
Adora. Credit: AURA Entertainment

Growing up, were there any role models that particularly encouraged you in your aspirations to work in music?

“Someone who has particularly influenced me is lyricist Seo Ji-eum. I coincidentally got to know her and we became like close sisters. She is such a warm and great older sister and friend, but at the same time, she’s a lyricist with an incredible career!

“She’s the person that made me realise that writing lyrics isn’t simply about filling in cadences with words. Additionally, she inspires me in how she carries out her ambitions beyond the scope of writing lyrics. It really pushes me! (Laughs) She will soon be releasing a song that she composed, wrote and performed herself! I had the chance to watch her from the sidelines during this process and needless to say, I was amazed.”

As we see more of your own personal style come to life as an artist, I’d love to know about the artists that inspire you too. Do you have any dream collaborations in mind for the future?

“Every single artist is like my music teacher, but most recently, I’ve been super into an artist named UPSAHL. I have her on constant repeat when I’m in the car! But if I were to mention just a few, I’d have to say 24kGoldn and Alec Benjamin as well”

What is one piece of advice you would give to any young person who wants to work in music?

“It might be terrifying, but take a step forward! You never know what new opportunities await you in taking that step!”

ADORA’s debut single ‘MAKE U DANCE’ is out now.

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