Happy 30th Anniversary to Adeva’s eponymous debut album Adeva!, originally released August 28, 1989.
“House music all night long.” It’s a phrase that would not only become synonymous with the emergence of the post-disco, pre-techno house music scene, but one that would stay with me through thick and thin, until this very day.
For me, house music has always been a safe haven, a place where I can truly get lost in the music. A genre that not only encompasses, but has also given birth to many other types of “House,” think Chicago House (the birthplace of House), Acid House, Deep House, UK House and of course Gospel House. House music became not just the staple of every bustling club dance floor, but a way of life for many.
House music has always had a positive message. From its beginnings at “The Warehouse” (where it supposedly took its name from) in the late ‘70s though to the early ‘80s and run by the “Godfather of House,” Frankie Knuckles, house music was a natural progression from the disco music it had so generously borrowed from and then it modernized the new format with the introduction of electronic instrumentation. But it was this much needed evolution of early dance music that would also pave the way for the birth of techno, EDM and even solidified the use of house beats in mainstream pop music, allowing for a sleeker, funkier type of pop not heard before. One could say that all musical roads lead to house music (disco if you are super picky).
The late ‘80s and early ‘90s saw a slew of musical acts influenced heavily by the sounds of house music, with many entering the charts and gaining mainstream success. Cathy Dennis & D Mob, Deee-Lite, Black Box, Crystal Waters, Martha Wash, C+C Music Factory and many others all benefited from experimenting with the then “new” sounds of synthesized basslines, organs and drum machines that helped make up the rich formula for house music, with many artists also getting their hit singles remixed by the originators: think Frankie Knuckles, Chip.E, Carl Cox, Steve Hurley and Jesse Saunders to name a few.
It was in late 1988 that a black lycra-clad, 6 foot tall, beautifully strong and powerful woman by the name of Adeva (a.k.a. Patricia Daniels) stormed the dance music scene. She set the bar HIGH by first covering Otis Redding’s “Respect” and then teaming up with legendary house music producer and all-rounder Paul Simpson to create “Musical Freedom (Free At Last).” It was clear that not only did Adeva have a powerful voice that resembled singers like Jocelyn Brown and Loleatta Holloway, but she also had the presence and sorry-not-sorry attitude of singers like Grace Jones. Adeva had a message in her music and she commanded all to hear it.
Although the two aforementioned tracks from her debut album Adeva! charted in the top 20, it was the third single, the all-encompassing female empowerment anthem of “Warning” that would not only again see Adeva storm the charts, but it would go on to be forever associated with the singer, firmly cementing her legendary status that she so rightly deserved. Although Adeva! was deemed “deep house” by many, a style that puts the focus firmly on the singer rather than the production behind him or her, it would be unjust to deny what this style of music truly is at its core: soul music.
Never is this more evident than on tracks like “I Thank You” and “Treat Me Right,” where you are again reminded of the gospel belting influences and power in Adeva’s voice that echo throughout this record and the cultural influences that house music all too often draws from.
Diving into tracks like “In and Out of My Life” and “Promises,” one can easily assume that neo disco was not only a newfound genre for these tracks at the time, but a delicious addition that covers roughly a third of the album, again reinforcing the influence disco had, has and continues to have on house music (and all dance music for that matter). Depending on which version of Adeva! you get, the standard version has a solid ten tracks, whereas the extended version offers three extra reworkings of “I Thank You”, “Warning” and a scrumptious Danny D remix of “Respect” which also features a cameo by British rapper Monie Love (The two would later go on to work together again on the thumping house classic “Ring My Bell”).
Although signed to a major label at the time (EMI’s subsidiary Cooltempo) and with sales of Adeva! that exceeded 300,000 copies in the UK alone, outside of the dance scene, Adeva failed to make a more deserved musical mark, instead being overlooked for more commercially viable artists. Adeva! proved that an album deeply rooted in house music had its place, even if it wasn’t going to receive the same level of attention that other more mainstream artists of the time were able to capture. Adeva was always going to be in another league, her voice alone made that very clear right from the get go.
Adeva! highlights how one of the greatest “bridges” between disco and house music was formed and secured its place in mainstream listening, not to mention also paving the way for future artists like Crystal Waters, CeCe Peniston and Snap! Thirty years later and this album is one that I play weekly, not just to reminisce, but also to remind myself that quality music is available in all its varied and unique forms and that true talent, no matter its age, will always stand the test of time.