Piano player David Higgins is a regular performer in the cover band circuit. Playing pop hits at small festivals and corporate gatherings has been kind enough to allow him a career in music. But in the past three years, Higgins has set out on a new musical venture. Since creating his all original 2015 EP Hit the Ground Running, the pianist and vocalist has been putting all of his time and effort into crafting more original material. The attempt has culminated in pop group Adelie.
Formed in May of 2017, Adelie didn’t find a place they felt at home until they literally entered a home. In the middle of touring, the group stumbled upon that old DIY tradition: house shows. “We did our first home show, and I was blown away. I had never even heard of such a thing, and I was hooked from the get-go,” says Higgins. The band felt that the intimate atmosphere of house shows brought a new feeling to their music that wasn’t recreated in larger venues. “I’ve always been a fan of the grassroots approach of ‘build slowly and you’ll fade slowly,'” he says. It accentuates the band’s commitment to the less commercial side of things, breaking away from the cover-heavy shows of the David Higgins Band.
Don’t let the underground touring schedule mislead you. Adelie is still planting its feet firmly in the pop world. “It’s pop music, but everything is pop music now,” Higgins jokes. “Country is pop, rock is pop. So, I’ve been describing it as singer-songwriter, but definitely with the pop bend.” The tunes stick to weathered songwriting styles. The verses are tight and controlled, while the choruses are the bread and butter. “I’m playing piano and there’s still definitely synth elements; there’s programmed drums,” says Higgins. “But, they’re singer-songwriter-style songs in the form of pop music.”
Featuring Higgins on vocals and piano, Craig Meyer on drums, and Justin Harper on bass, the group often throws in synths and Ableton magic to their live and studio sound. “The computer’s probably the fourth member,” says Higgins.
The pianist proudly carries the knowledge he gained from his last recording ordeal. The 2015 EP was released under Higgins’ name and, while it’s mostly unrelated to Adelie, the frontman sees many of its effects on the new band. “[Hit the Ground Running] was a good learning experience,” says Higgins. “I think more than anything, I learned so much about what I could have done better and that’s why I’m so excited about [Adelie].”
One of the best lessons Higgins learned was how important it was to stay true to his music. “The songs that are received the best are the ones that I’ve written the most honest,” says Higgins. “The general public’s smart and they can tell if you’re faking it. They can tell if something is not genuine.”
Like many pop singers, Higgins was often stuck between what he wanted to write and what he thought people would respond best to. “Early on I would try to write what I thought my producer wanted to hear or write what I think people want to hear,” he says. But, for the sake of his creative side, Higgins began working on the material he wanted. Despite the early timidness that every songwriter goes through, he found a new, more fulfilling passion in songwriting. “When I made a shift to writing what I liked and trying to focus on that, it really alleviated a lot of pressure,” Higgins says. “I’ve learned to really enjoy writing. It felt like a chore for so long.”
Although an album release is not going to happen any time soon, Higgins sees it as time well spent. “I feel like I’m approaching this release a lot more patiently and a lot more strategically,” he says.
While Higgins’ name is more popular than Adelie, he decided that making a separate band for his original tunes was the safest course of action. “This gives the opportunity to have a completely separate entity, and so that way people know exactly what music they’re coming to see.”