Adina Howard Interview
Looking to achieve the same success as her 1995 debut album “Do You Wanna Ride?,” singer Adina Howard is back with a “Private Show.” After watching her two previously recorded albums, “Welcome To Fantasy Island” and “The Second Coming,” fail due to shelving and poor promotion respectively, Howard once again has battled through issues with her label and the marketing of her current album “Private Show.” Despite the issues however, the album is out and Howard looks towards a bright future. During an interview with DJBooth.net’s DJ “Z,” Howard discusses her desire to stay in the music business, her status as a sex symbol and why she has been asked by fans for their assistance with child support payments.
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Adina Howard Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an R&B vixen who, in 1995, asked the world if they were a, “Freak Like Me.” Her brand new album, “Private Show,” is finally available to the world after countless delays and comes over twelve years after her debut, “Do You Wanna Ride?” Please welcome Adina Howard – how are you?
Adina Howard: I’m blessed. How are you?
DJ Booth: I am great. It’s a pleasure to have you on the phone with me today, live from North Carolina. I hear it’s hot there.
Adina Howard: Hella!
DJ Booth: You know, Chicago is where I’m talkin’ to you from, and our weather’s been so inconsistent – today 78, next week it could be 95. I don’t know if you have that same inconsistency, but I’d rather go with 78 than 95.
Adina Howard: We had the inconsistency earlier in the year, but now it’s just consistent with the high 80’s low 90’s – and let me just say that Chicago is my favorite city on Earth.
DJ Booth: Next time you’re here we’ll definitely have to get together.
Adina Howard: The food is great, the shopping is great, the culture is awesome – everything about that place is just amazing. Before I purchased my place down here in Charlotte I was actually considering moving to Chicago.
DJ Booth: We’d love to have you as a part of our city. Let’s talk about the new album, Adina. Your album has literally gone through the wringer just tryin’ to get out – has been pushed back numerous times and had to jump through hoops just to get clearance on production, songwriting, and cover art. What do you think accounts most for all the difficulty that you’ve had to go through to get this thing heard?
Adina Howard: The label. [laughter] It has everything to do with the label. I do my part. The majority of artists do their part. A lot of people don’t see what’s behind the scenes; what usually goes on is it’s a hurry-up-and-wait process. They rush us to do what is asked of us and we do it, and then we have to wait on them to do their part, and sometimes they just don’t handle their business. But it’s unfortunate because, when they don’t handle their business, we’re the front person so everybody looks for us and tries to assume that it’s our fault, or that we don’t have control – and there’s some things that we do have control over, [but] there are things that we don’t have control over. And in this case I did what I was asked to do, and did to the best of my ability, and when it came to the label to do their part, I don’t feel that they put their best foot forward. But it’s really neither here nor there at this point. It’s done; it’s finally out – tada! [laughter]
DJ Booth: Adina, do the frustrations caused by this process (of having your album release pushed back) make you question your desire to stay in the recording business?
Adina Howard: Yeah, it actually has, and I actually walked away from this business once already. The album, “Welcome to Fantasy Island,” is my second album that was supposed to come out – it was shelved. “T-Shirt & Panties,” actually came off of that particular project. When they didn’t push “T-Shirt & Panties,” for the first single, I was really frustrated. May second manager at the time really wasn’t supporting me and did some real backhanded things that I didn’t appreciate on his part. And I just said, “You know what? I’m not prospering from this in any way, shape, or form, and in the big scheme of thing it’s just really not worth it.” And I walked away from it. And that was between ‘96 to mid ‘97. Somehow, a booking agent was able to locate me – and at the time I lived in Vegas – and asked me if I wanted to do some shows. And then I was like, “No problem, I’ll go ahead and do it.” The business ended up pulling me back and one of the main reasons – as frustrating as it is – are my fans. Those are my FILL IN asking me, “When’s the new music coming out? What’s goin’ on with [unintelligible]? You need to come back, there’s a void, nobody can do what you do. It’s just empty, you have to come back.” And it was just like constantly hearing that over the years, I was like, “Okay.”
DJ Booth: Well, I’m sure your fans are one of the many reasons why you’ve wanted this new album, “Private Show,” to be out. In regards to this project, do you find it eerily ironic that – obviously you’ve chosen the title, “Private Show,” previous to all the problems – but that a lack of promotion essentially made it a private matter?
Adina Howard: Yeah, and it’s funny that you say that, ‘cause my manager actually made that comment. She said, “I guess it is really a private show, huh?” Because very few people are gonna hear this due to the fact that the marketing and the promotions is not there. Because there’s no budget for video. There’ no budget for radio. There’s no budget for promotions. And it’s strictly going off of my Myspace page, that there is any form of promotion and marketing.
DJ Booth: Well sometimes, Adina, it just takes that strong, grassroots approach and a loyal fan base that you clearly have, and that’s all you need for success.
Adina Howard: Yeah, and you know what? It did great. And actually the album is doin’ very well. It was – overall #30 on the iTunes chart, and then at some point on the R&B chart it was #4. Then it dropped to #80 a couple days ago and it jumped up to #69. It’s hangin’ in there in spite of the lack of promotions and marketing and the essential tools. But I’m bein’ blessed, so I honestly really don’t have any complaints about it, ‘cause it could be worse.
DJ Booth: You’re definitely right about that. Adina, through your work in the music industry, you’ve achieved a sex symbol status. When you first started, was that a goal you looked to achieve as you were making your music?
Adina Howard: I didn’t think anything about it, honestly. We recorded the project together and I was not thinking about the concepts of the songs, and the image that was being put out, it was just, “I like this music, it feels good, and this is me.” So, for me it was just, “Let’s do what we have to do,” and it represented me in a positive light, in my mind. I’m a provocative, sexual, sensual individual. And, to me, I don’t see anything wrong with that. So to put it out there and to just do it was like, “This represents who I am at the time,” and I was like, “Why not?”
DJ Booth: I couldn’t agree more. Who do you think, other than yourself, in the music industry, who has that sex symbol status, deserves that kind of title?
Adina Howard: [laughter] Other than me? Nobody!
DJ Booth: Okay.
Adina Howard: I think – and no disrespect to the young ladies that are out there, and the women that are out there, but I don’t think any of them dare take on that image, because it comes with a lot of responsibility and it comes with a lot of criticism, and I think that that’s not something that they want to deal with.
DJ Booth: Ironically, my next question was who doesn’t deserve it, but, you answered both in one! With songs such as, “Freak & You Know It,” the aforementioned “T-Shirt & Panties (with Jamie Foxx),” and “Nasty Grind,” you’ve no doubt been on the stereo while people have gotten to know one another – if you catch my drift.
Adina Howard: Absolutely.
DJ Booth: How does it feel knowing that your music essentially has inspired what is seemingly a crazy amount of wild sexual encounters?
Adina Howard: It makes me feel good, because at least I’m inspiring people to connect with one another instead of killing one another. I’m allowing people to be intimate and connect with each other as well as create life. I’m very pleased. I have no complaints about it. I have endless people come up to me during performances or after performances and they’re like, “It’s because of you I made child one, two, three, four, whatever.” And I actually had this one young lady come up to me; she said, “You know what, I’m taking you to court for child support.” [laughter] And I didn’t know what to say, because, it’s because of you I had three kids? I was like, “Okay, well, all right,” you know?
DJ Booth: You say, “Does that make me a godmother?”
Adina Howard: You know, exactly! And if that’s the case, I am god-mommy to a lot of children right now.
DJ Booth: The newer generation of female artists don’t seem as confident in the sexual stance that they take. Do you find that men like a woman who is sexually dominant?
Adina Howard: They like to tease you.
DJ Booth: Exactly.
Adina Howard: It really depends on the man. Some men like strong women, some men don’t. And I know for me, with who I am as an individual, the men that approach me are clearly strong in more ways than one. It takes a special kind of guy to be able to handle a female such as myself, and any female like me.
DJ Booth: In an effort to make sure “Private Show,” becomes a public matter, explain why your new album needs to purchased?
Adina Howard: It needs to be played because there’s nothing out there like it right now. It needs to be heard by the public, because it’s a very, very good album – it’s very good music and everybody from [the] producers to the songwriters, to the photographers, to everybody involved in this project – we all worked very hard to make this a reality. And it’s very important that they get something of quality. It’s a great album, and I’m not just saying it because I did it, because, to be honest with you, I don’t really listen to my music a whole lot. I would rather listen to somebody else than listen to myself, but I’m very proud of this project and it has something on there for everybody. You know, it’s not just totally about sex; it has subject matter dealing with relationships, being cheated on and forgiving the person for cheating, and then of course you have the sexual, sensual, provocative music that always sets the tone. Then you have the club cuts, where you can get ready on a Friday or Saturday night, and get yourself hyped up because you’re about to go out. So, to me, and what I’ve been told, it’s a classic album, and it’s definitely worth havin’ in your collection.
DJ Booth: Let’s say, for example, I want to pick out a track that’s perfect for me. Let me just give you a little background: currently single, last relationship about six months ago, kind of looking for something but not really, wanna just have a good time and meet someone. What would be my track, Adina?
Adina Howard: You’re just wanting to have a good time?
DJ Booth: Just want to have a good time, not necessarily any major attachment, but definitely someone in my life.
Adina Howard: “L.O.V.A.,” that’s a good one. And if you’re still gettin’ your groove on, “Tease,” would be a good one.
DJ Booth: Those are gonna be my two new favorite Adina Howard tracks!
Adina Howard: [laughter]
DJ Booth: Adina, I appreciate your time and I wish you nothing but the best of luck with your brand new album, “Private Show,” and career. Give everybody that Myspace address so they can find out more about how to pick up a copy of your new album.
Adina Howard: It is myspace.com/adinahoward, and it has an iTunes link on there so all you have to do is click on the iTunes link and it’ll take you to the album and you can download it. Or they can go to Circuit City or Best Buy to pick up a copy.
DJ Booth: Beautiful. Thank you so much.
Adina Howard: You are awesome! Thank you so much for taking the time out to do this interview, and actually enjoying doing the interview.
DJ Booth: My pleasure. Adina, let me just say, it is impossible for me to be on the phone with you and not enjoy doing an interview.
Adina Howard: Thank you! [laughter]