Kiéla Adira

Fool's Croon

Contact Sam McAllister about Kiéla Adira

Chicago singer/songwriter Kiéla Adira announces Fool’s Croon, her new EP out November 10th, and presents its lead single, “Respite.” Recorded in collaboration with the composer/songwriter brother duo of Jeoffrey and Judah Arrington, the six tracks on Fool’s Croon seamlessly blend jazz, R&B, pop, and classical influences, driven by poignant melodies and lyrics touching on love, loss, and introspection. The EP’s lush soundscape drew contributions from an impressive list of Chicago-based collaborators, including rising saxophonist Isaiah Collier, vocalist Manasseh, rapper and filmmaker Demetrius Rhymes, harpist and composer Yomí, Family Junket, and others.


Raised on Chicago’s south side, Adira’s roots extend to nearby Oberlin, Ohio, where she majored in Theater and Africana studies at Oberlin College, and as far as Dakar, Senegal, where she spent time living abroad. She credits Gallery 37 Center for the Arts — a program founded by former first-lady of Chicago Maggie Daley, and HHW School for the Performing Arts — as vital formative experiences for her musically. Through HHW, Adira’s voice has reached prominent audiences, singing for the Vice Premier of China, the French Delegation, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and in 2019, the inauguration of former Mayor Lori Lightfoot.


Coming out just three months after her debut EP, GROWTH., Adira describes Fool’s Croon as a journey that delves into personal struggles, culminating in understanding, clarity, and closure. “Respite,” the EP’s centerpiece, employs live orchestration — strings, harps, flutes, and crickets — evoking a sense of enchanted nostalgia while Adira sings of physical gratification amidst deeply turbulent romance. Of the track, Adira says: “‘Respite,’ and the entire EP, has allowed me to step outside my comfort zone and tap into a more vulnerable side of myself that I don’t generally display publicly. This beautifully written composition and story by Jeoffrey Arrington, on the surface is about seeking respite in a time of trouble, but goes much deeper into reflecting the complexities of a toxic relationship. ‘Respite’ is a track that I can play on repeat, uncovering something new with every listen.”


Adira’s encounter with Jeoffrey Arrington at a restaurant in early 2021 was a twist of fate. This chance meeting led to an immediate collaboration on the composer’s first comprehensive body of work during the pandemic’s peak. Joined by Judah Arrington, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, the trio shared equal roles as songwriters across the six tracks on Fool’s Croon. Sessions took place over two years in the home studios of local producers and engineers Julian Stacey and Russell Wine.


Opening track, “Loves Me Not,” passionate performance from Adira over delicate piano melodies as she sings of grief and heartbreak. Rapper Demetrius Rhymes joins in on the following, “Sky Is Falling,” where he trades verses with Adira reflecting on the weight of adversity that often accompanies the pursuit of one’s dreams. On “Charity,” a direct tribute to Amy Winehouse, Adira collaborates with the acclaimed emerging saxophonist Isaiah Collier. Closing out Fool’s Croon are the EP’s title track, which features mirroring verses between Adira and featured vocalist Manasseh, and “Blue,” a poignant reflection of heartbreak’s aftermath.


Considering her already extensive résumé, the sound of Fool’s Croon exudes confidence. Adira takes inspiration from the likes of India Arie, Jill Scott, and Lauryn Hill, but also legends like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, and Amy Winehouse, and one can hear these timeless songwriting influences over the EP’s six tracks. Following the more uplifting tones of GROWTH, Fool’s Croon exhibits maturity, channeling the spirits of influential artists predating her, crafting songs that resonate with vulnerability.