“I always knew I wanted to have an all female band that I could play live shows with.”
Six months after Adeline Vamenta, 19, released “Drive Slow” her junior year of high school, the song hit 12,000 streams overnight on Spotify. The six-minute power ballad is bass-heavy, energetic, and subtly gay.
“I had a crush on this girl” who was a senior when she was a freshman, Vamenta said. “It was like my first real gay experience.”
It was only her second single on Spotify, and the first produced, written, and performed solely by Vamenta in her basement studio in her home in Westford, Mass.
The song blew up—and landed on many gay, woman-loving-woman playlists, Vamenta said. By 2019, it hit a million streams.
“I wasn’t quite ready to like, have an explicit lyric that made it obvious, and I also didn’t feel like I needed to,” she said. “The situation of it, the yearning of it, really, I think that it really came across in a way that I didn’t even intend for it to.”
It’s been almost four years since that release, and “Drive Slow” is still her most played song, with almost 1.5 million streams on Spotify. “Drive Slow” and “Tell Me When,” another 2018 single, were Vamenta’s beginnings as ADDIE, her “musical project” which has blossomed from solo writing and producing in high school to leading a tour this summer off of a new single release. Her first full album release is expected in July.
Vamenta, who’s currently studying at Berklee College of Music as an electric bass principal and music production and engineering major, has amassed almost 30,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. With two EPs and more than a few singles, the success of “Drive Slow” encouraged her subsequent releases, all from before her time at Berklee.
“I feel like it was just a great start to my career, knowing that there are people that resonate with my music just has motivated me to keep going,” she said. “Just having that success up front, I would not (be) as quick to doubt myself.”
Vamenta said some of her favorite releases from her earlier works, like the song “Bitter 16,” helped her explore her writing style. That first track on 2018 EP Addie has some light distortion on Vamenta’s voice, and the lyrics are exasperated over a rhythmic beat: “It’s a bitter sixteen / Just watch me as I bleed / Cause it’s a concrete world / And I’m falling on my knees.”
“It’s totally different from how I write now and that was also me figuring out my style of writing,” she said about “Bitter 16.” “I didn’t really have a lot of practice writing lyrics. Now, my songs are, I feel like, are more cohesive. That one feels a little bit all over the place to me.”
“Static / Habit” is her most popular song after “Drive Slow.” It features her bass lines, layered vocals and a more cohesive, mature production. Vamenta said she was “finding my identity as a producer when I made that one.”
Her other releases include the 2020 EP “Everything’s the Same,” and the 2021 single “invisible ink,” which now-ADDIE guitarist Soraya Rafat recorded the guitar part for during quarantine. This was the beginning of Vamenta building her all-female touring band from Berklee classmates.
“(Rafat) recorded it in her room from Florida and sent me the tracks, and they were so good that I knew that she had to be in my band,” Vamenta said. “I want to be a touring artist, and I always knew I wanted to do that. I always knew I wanted to have an all female band that I could play live shows with.”
The touring is coming to life this summer, with ADDIE hosting a number of shows on the East Coast. Vamenta calls it a “DIY” tour, because the band is still under 21. They’re hitting house shows and small venues from July 6 to 15 in Albany, New York City, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Providence, and Connecticut.
Just before the new single “Crush Me” is released on May 6, ADDIE will perform at O’Brien’s Pub in Allston on May 4. They also have a show on June 17 with Brinstar, a house show in Allston, and a June 21 show opening for Subsonic Eye at the Red Room at Cafe 939.
Vamenta said “Crush Me” and the other releases coming this summer will be “written for having a live band so they do sound a little bit more live,” now that she is touring and performing consistently with a band.
“It’s my first time booking, my first time playing a tour. It’s for exposure,” Vamenta said. “I’m hoping that will set me up to go on a bigger tour in the future. I’d love to open for an artist that’s during the bigger tour and then eventually do one of my own tours across the country.”