We had the good fortune of connecting with Adele Etheridge Woodson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Adele, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I’ve never really been a risk taker…it’s scary! Doing anything without an unknown outcome makes my type A brain freak out. But by choosing to be a musician, and a freelance once at that, is a risk in itself. And I face my fears of failing and not being good enough every day. But I continue to make music because that is what I love! I believe I was meant to do music. And by taking that risk, I am able to bring art and tell stories to people. Without risk, there is no reward; sometimes we will fail, but other times, we will succeed! Being a musician is learning how to balance that — and I am still learning that every day.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a composer! I write music for live musicians, for dancers, and for film/tv/video. I am most passionate about film scoring. I love being able to elevate visual storytelling, to be able to make the audience feel for the characters, for the story. I have been film scoring for about 4 years now, and I am so proud of how far I’ve come; I started with student films, and now I am being hired to score commercials, broadcast television shows, and I even scored a documentary that is set to hit the film festival circuit soon! This is an interesting point of my career because I am now transitioning from identifying as a student composer into a working professional. I want the world to know that I am trained and ready to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to film. And I want to tell myself that imposter syndrome is very real, and I feel it far too often. But the future is scary for everyone, but it also can be amazing. Think of all the art that has yet to be made! Young artists like myself are here and ready to create, and the world will be a better place because of it.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
My favorite city in Arizona is hands-down Tempe. There is so much to do, see, and experience here, and all types of people from all backgrounds. I would take a visitor to Tempe Town Lake, I like to have picnics there. I’d also bring them Mill Ave, where there’s all types of foods, shops, and bars. Snakes and Lattes on Mill is so fun with friends, it has drinks, food, and board games! I’d also bring them to the Secret Garden on ASU tempe campus. You walk down a ramp underground and it opens up into a beautiful, quiet garden. (It’s not always quiet — they have music festivals down there sometimes!) As for food, Tempe has it all. Haji Baba is my absolute favorite, a local Middle Eastern restaurant with the best stuffed grape leaves I’ve ever had. Cafe Lalibela is my family’s favorite, it is great (vegan) Ethiopian food. Support local restaurants! We have so many, and they are SO good! And as long as it isn’t blazing hot outside, there’s hiking around too. A Mountain is a local spot, pretty easy hike and a great view when you get to the top. You can see a lot of Tempe from there!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to recognize my most recent internship in Los Angeles with Mophonics Music & Sound. There, I was mentored by amazingly talented composers and producers, who gave me real professional work where I was able to score music to commercials and advertisements. They brought me out to LA, gave a chance to a student, and took time out of their busy workday to give me advice and helpful feedback. They are a great small business and I owe them a lot! I have since returned to Phoenix, but they are good people.
Justin Villalobos Nina Paz Photography