It shouldn't take more than a brief listen before you’re hooked on the music of Adrienne McCann, who goes by Adron (it’s childhood shorthand for her first name). Named Atlanta’s Best Songwriter 2012 by the alt-weekly Creative Loafing, Adron creates melodically colorful songs with surreal—all right, quirky—lyrics. She says she never wanted to be a “twee folksinger,” and she wasn’t cool enough for rock ‘n’ roll, but when she discovered tropicalia, the sensual pop music of Brazil, she knew her niche had found her. “As it started to make more and more sense to me,” she tells us, “I just felt the sun shining on my shoulders.”
The thing is, this Illinois native-turned-Georgian is a brilliant samba-style guitarist and an amazingly versatile singer, and her music—so much more than a sweet pop confection—effectively bridges gap after gap between generations and genres. Check out Organismo, her sophomore album, and see if you don’t capitulate.
We spoke with Adron earlier this week.
Influences. “A ton of Beatles, since I was born, basically. Some classical music, because it was in my family. But as I started to decide what I wanted to do as a musician, I was really into Beck. For many years, I was obsessed with Beck. I had a wall in my bedroom that was absolutely wallpapered with pictures of him that I printed off the Internet. It was different from what everybody else was listening to at my age. It spoke to me a lot. It was very eclectic. It was irreverent and nonsensical a lot of the time, which made sense to me and my goofy sense of humor. I was also into Bjork, Belle and Sebastian and Aphex Twins, but when I started writing music all I had was a guitar, and I wanted to make songs that were as big as Beatles songs, but just with the guitar. So I was very ambitious as soon as I started learning.”
Preferences. “I’m always into very explicit melody, just pure, unfettered melody. And wanted to keep that, even while creating chord changes that were totally weird. And I think it can always be done—you can throw any chords together. In fact, one time I threw all the chords I knew into a hat and picked ‘em out at random. And tried to make a melody that was pretty and made sense on top of it. And it basically worked.”
Tropicalia. “I walked into a record store when I was 14, looking to buy something obscure and really hip. That would make me seem really cool. And I found Os Mutantes. They’re sort of like the Brazilian Beatles, but wackier. I felt immediately at home in it. I felt like I had stumbled upon the secret part of myself that I didn’t know was there. In a way it made sense, because Beck was heavily influenced by them as well. So I guess it felt like familiar territory. I just became obsessed with that kind of music, and their peers at the time. Caetano Veloso is now my hero; he’s my ultimate musical boyfriend forever. All those guys really just blew my mind a lot. And since I always sing along to everything, I ended up learning a lot of Portuguese, too.”
Audiences. “There are people scattered all over the place who are audiophiles and who are into unusual things. And can find them because of the Internet, so your audience is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. And starting out in the South is an extra-special obstacle for me, because a lot of the Southeastern scene is kind of narrow in what it wants. It’s like, you want music you can drink to, you want country/bluegrass, you want hip hop, or you want a spectacle. And I’m none of those things, really. It’s tricky, definitely, but I’ve gotten so much love from so many unexpected corners ... I know that the listeners are out there, and they’re really appreciative. It’s just enough to keep going."