Adanna Duru is a talented singer, dancer, and creator who makes music inspired by her life, and her Nigerian roots. I got the chance to interview her and discuss her experience in the industry, her relationship with musician Amir Kelly, and her upcoming song with him “Imposter.”
What was your experience like on “The Voice?”
The Voice was super weird because I was so young. I was 15 years old — I had never sang on a stage that big and totally tanked my Blind Audition seconds after Adam Levine turned around. That’s why you can’t find the full audition anywhere. But it prepared me for so much. It gave me a head start on really seeing what it takes to be a kick-ass recording artist.
You were a very competitive student, how did that impact you and your career?
I love this question because I was just talking to my roommate about this earlier today. I was an AP student. Being a competitive student taught me how to be a go-getter from a pretty young age. It taught me how to structure myself, my thoughts. My goals and ambitions.
What was your experience like in pageantry?
I didn’t connect with it — we all try things!
How is dance involved in your craft?
I am a natural dancer, I had training as a child but never continued. These days if I’m not dancing on stage, I’m dancing on the dance floor or in my bedroom. Dance helps me decide how to structure the rhythm of a song when I’m writing. Often I’ll dance to the rhythm of lyrics to test if they flow.
What was it like for you on American Idol?
American Idol was also super weird. But super cool because it changed my life in crazy ways. It gave me a platform, it gave me credibility, it gave me so much. But with these shows, it’s all about what you create with the buzz afterwards, and how you continue on your path.
How does your Nigerian background influence your latest song?
I speak a lot in my native language, Igbo in this song. The song was inspired by all the men in my DMs who tell me they’re Nigerian princes and that they want to marry me and give me a life of luxury. I’m like yo, that car you’re posing in front of isn’t yours.
What was your experience like working with Amir?
Amir and I met when I beat him in a singing competition eight years ago. We were like 14. I love how he tells the story — he’s so funny. That’s my longtime friend. We’ve always been involved in helping each other shine. This is our first record together! He’s an amazing writer and I love his vision. I wrote this song about a year ago and hated the chorus I wrote so I put the song down and showed Amir and the other writer, Nadja White. Amir came up with a verse and Nadja came up with a chorus that I actually liked. So we did it.
How do you balance teaching, going to school, and making music?
Well, last year I decided to drop out of school (all my Nigerian relatives are screaming right now). It just became a distraction. It’s super frowned upon as a child of immigrants, but now I have more time to make even more money as a private vocal coach. It’s amazing because I have so much time to work on music and live my life — and it’s really nice to not work for anyone! Life is great! I just moved out of mom’s house and the blessings are falling in my lap.
What does “Imposter” mean to you?
“Imposter” is about seeing through a person’s BS. It’s definitely a funny song — I wasn’t going for any deep metaphors here. It’s just about being bothered by men who pretend to “have it all” when they’re actually struggling to live an unrealistic lifestyle. It’s about the frauds of the world.
Feature image via Adanna’s team at Duru Nation