THE two things I’ve grown weary of, are load-shedding and social distancing, occurring simultaneously. But it wasn’t so bad chilling alone in the dark, listening to Adelle Nqeto’s Need Someone from the phone.
“That is the way I’m going to recommend listening to this one from now on (minus the load shedding)!” is Adelle’s response to the impromptu-tranquil set-up.
Need Someone is a song Adelle released just a week ago. I streamed it as an attempt to counterattack the awkward silence in the room, and couldn’t help but think of how timely the song is. You would swear the lyrics were knitted together by thoughts of people all around the world, who have been feeling lonely in the last eight months.
You’re building on your own now,
Is it all you ever wished for?
Are you happy you’re with yourself?
Independence is a strain,
No one’s pain but your own to shoulder -she sings on the song, over simple guitar chords.
The calming three-minute ditty was actually written about five years ago. “I only performed it live once, for Sofar Sounds JHB, and then never played it again. People have requested it since then, but it never felt necessary to get back to the song until recently,” Adelle tells me. “It’s definitely more about how I felt at the time I wrote the song. I think it makes sense now too, considering all of the loneliness and alienation that some people have experienced these last few months. I wrote the song at a time when I was considering my own vulnerability, my relationships and inter-dependence. This year has definitely brought some of those thoughts back up.”
The artist who hails from Pretoria is currently based in Berlin, Germany and hasn’t been home in almost a year now.
The pandemic has affected people in various unimaginable ways which have also come with complex reactions. Not every artist or creative would be the perfect feature on those cute Balcony Stories XL video clips. Adelle has also felt the severity of the times.
“…the reality is that this has been a heavy time, and my body’s response has not been to create,” Adelle opens up.
“SO much happened during lockdown- this whole year really. I think we all know that. Personally, I’ve been in protective/survival mode and creating has been difficult. I am not one of the people proposing that people be productive and come out with an incredible body of work after this time. I think if that’s how you deal with a pandemic, then good for you. But it’s been the opposite for me, and that is ok. I have spent a lot of this time sleeping/trying to fall sleep, reading, crying, writing, chatting to people I love, trying to pay my bills – while also trying not to feel guilty for not meeting the deadlines I set for myself.”
“I’m slowly starting to feel the shock of everything starting to settle now- at least emotionally, and I’m beginning to find a new rhythm of life, and the words to articulate what I’ve been feeling in this time. I’m almost certain that this will influence whatever work I release next, but even if it doesn’t, the words and melodies written in this time will not have been a waste.”
It certainly will not be for nought, when you see how a song written about half a decade ago has unquestionable relevance today. “I was terrified about this release- it’s SO simple and bare that I wondered whether it was necessary to even release it. I wasn’t sure how it would land, but the feedback has been great.”
Need Someone is a stand-alone single, but Adelle confirmed she is working on new releases.
Listen to Need Someone HERE