MUSIC | Introducing.... Adi Ulmansky
Adi Ulmansky is taking a refreshingly hands on approach to her music career, self-proclaimed ‘producer-singer-rapper’ she is bringing to life her own space-age, pastel shaded, electronic fantasy via her unique sound and visuals.
With striking looks and songs to match you can see why comparisons have been made with artists such as M.I.A. and Iggy Azalea, but this Israeli singer really is setting herself apart, creating her very own brand of electro-pop.
How did you first become involved in music?
My parents really love music and my mom also played several instruments, so I was pretty much growing up with music around me. But I think I first felt “this is what I want to do” when I heard Radiohead. The combination of the computer with the warm instruments really felt right – the electronic production fascinated me, and producing became my main passion in my music.
Who did you listen to when growing up? Which bands, singers?
As a child I used to listen to a lot of pop music, from Spice Girls to Hanson to Destiny’s Child. As I was growing up, I started listening more to rock and electronic music – Radiohead, Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Michael Jackson, Sigur Ros and others.
How has growing up in Israel affected your music? What’s the music scene like over there?
Israel is very western by culture. Although our language is Hebrew, almost everybody here knows English too and we consume a lot of content from Europe and the US. But all of Israel’s neighbours are Arab countries, so it creates a very unique atmosphere. I think growing up in Israel really inspired me and made my music more unique, because everything I had experienced as a child was a little different from say – what a kid in the UK would. Israel is also pretty small, so you get a lot of influences from different regions all packed very close by – that too inspires creation. But the small size also means the music scene is rather small too. It makes it really difficult for music that’s not part of the mainstream to be successful as it has barely any market. But there are a lot of very creative musicians here and in the last few years it feels like it is getting a little bigger. I hope that with the internet making the world smaller, it will create more opportunities and make things easier for local artists.
Not only do you write your own music but you also produce and edit it, do you feel that this level of involvement lets you express yourself the best? Are you very judgmental on yourself when creating music?
The main thing that leads me in my creation is enjoying it and listening to my gut feeling. I’m not trying to be part of a genre, nor to please anyone – it is my world of fantasy, where I can do anything I want. Producing is an amazing thing – endless possibilities of sounds, atmosphere and vibe. You are actually creating the whole environment of the song and it’s an amazing feeling to start something from scratch and see where you can get it to. I only judge myself by whether I like it the next day.
You were a member of Lorena B, before branching out into your solo career, what made you decide to start your own solo project? Has that time in Lorena B been vital in allowing you to see the industry before starting your own solo project?
I loved Lorena B, my fellow band members and the music that we made. It was definitely a fun ride and I’m really happy I was part of it. But at some point we wanted to go in different directions, and I felt it was a right time to do things on my own. As much as I love what we did as a band, I must say I enjoy what I do now so much better – but it is always easier when you are a solo artist and can just do whatever you wish, without compromising on anything.
You’ve got your first EP coming out in September, how’s it been recording that? Where have you been recording? Was it hard choosing which songs to include?
It was an amazing experience and the craziest ever! I released my debut mixtape this January, and started touring with it and only started working on new songs a few months ago. I performed in Prague on the United Islands festival this June, and on my way there I toured London as well and while there I spoke to my manager (he’s in London) and we decided to release an EP on July/August.
It was so insane – the last song, Gun Shot, was written in about the last 3 days I had left before closing the EP. So choosing which songs wasn’t really a problem haha! But it was so much fun recording it! I record at home, so it is easier to get something like this done in a short time, because I don’t depend on studios’ schedules too much. Plus, it is always easier to be creative in your own home.
You’ve got a great, individual style, how important are clothes for you? What brands/ designers are catching your attention at the minute??
Thanks! I actually like the visual side of things just as much as I like the music itself. I always feel my creation should have both – the sound and the looks, and it leads me as an individual too. I think that’s part of who I am. I like fashion and style that are influenced by street fashion, the 90’s and Japanese culture. I love Jeremy Scott’s designs and young brands like Mary Benson, Young Blood, W.I.A collections and Joyrich.
Watching your music videos it feels like you put just as much effort into them as the actual songs. Do you find it easy to think of video concepts for songs? I really like the videos for ‘I Always Liked Men With Good Hands’ and ‘My Heart’ who worked on those ones with you??
That’s so true! The visual side is important to me, and when it comes to music videos, it always feels like the visual should complement the music and the music should complement the visual – they are part of a single package. And as an artist, it is really fun working on the videos too, because it lets me “play” with visuals which I don’t really get to do when I write music.
On some videos I worked with other directors and some I directed myself. The video for ‘I Always Liked Men With Good Hands’ was completely spontaneous – I met with a good friend, Ori Sinai, who’s a very talented director, cinematographer and editor, and we just played with ideas a little – I think what works there is the simplicity, and Ori was talented enough to make it super interesting and cool. The video for ‘My Heart’ was an extremely fun experience. I can proudly say it is my own creation – my idea, I directed it, did the styling and everything, and I love the result so much! A good friend of mine named Nir Perry helped me execute everything, which was really exciting because none of us did anything like this before. And now that the EP is out, some cool new videos are on their way!
What can we expect from an Adi Ulmansky gig?
A lot of good energies! I try to put a lot of energy into my shows, to give fans something more than the music itself – everybody can listen to my music at home, they must get something extra from a live show. Also, in some venues I bring a cool video-art that’s playing behind me during the show. Besides, recording music is great, but the immediate feedback you get from people dancing and cheering right in front of you when you perform live is the real thing.
What have you got planned for the rest of 2013 and beyond?
For 2013 - tour, tour and tour! Haha! And release some more music videos from the EP. Moving forward – tour a lot more, obviously, and I hope to make my debut appearance in the US and other regions. And of course – release more music, more videos, and keep making fans happy as much as I can!
Take a listen Adi’s new EP “Hurricane Girl’ out now!
Keep up with Adi via twitter @Adiulmansky
Words | Alex James Taylor