I accidentally stumbled across The Knotts performing at WoodWard theatre and the following days looked something like this: wake up, feel bleh, play The Knotts new album Is It Art Yet?, dance in my room, not feel bleh, and instead feel like a magical being floating in the cosmos. Basically, this collection of smooth, flowy beats make me feel some type of way. The album, released May 22nd, is like a wave transitioning you back-and-forth from sunny and playful to serene and nostalgic rhythms.
Lead singer and electric guitarist, Adalia Powell-Boehne, said that the making of the album was a statement for herself—that art matters, that taking a year was a good investment of time no matter what the outcome is. “It was important to do it, even if there were times of doubt, and questions like, is it good enough?…is it art yet?” said Adalia.
Yes Adalia, it is most definitely art.
The album goes back eight years to the present. The songs come from an array of times in her life, each one with a personal story. Some are from “feel-good” times such as the song, “These Days.” Others are about grief like “Beautiful Kind.” Adalia said the album is like a memoir. The first song on the album, “Until You,” is one of my favorites. When I heard it I instantly started bouncing and swaying around in my room. Adalia said, “’Until You’ is about connecting two different times in my life, one where I was going through a hard breakup where I was sprawled out on the couch all the time, watching movies by myself. And then after I recovered a little, I was getting up early and reading and praying and feeling better in general and then I met this amazing human. We started to talk and get to know each other and grab tea and then he just was so obviously the one. We got engaged five months into dating each other and we married six months after that. ‘Until You’ is basically about going through relationships that don’t work, thinking you’ll probably die alone, and then plot twist-finding someone.”
Another one of my favorites is “Believe Me.” Adalia explained, “’Believe Me’ is about how sometimes we are all going to feel alone and confused. But all of the things that contribute to those feelings, disagreements, disappointments, etc they pale in comparison to what we all have, which is life. Life is a blessing and if we focus on that then that is time well spent.” She added, “I needed to say that to myself so it’s cool that other people can resonate with it.”
Although The Knotts have been “The Knotts” for three years, there have been “moving parts” said Adalia. “The most recent members definitely put a new fire under it. They have great energy and talent.” She added, “If I play a song they pick it up right away.” Antoine Franklin, who plays the keys, has a lot of directing skills. “He adds a musically interesting layer to the band.” Jonathan Mango, who plays the drums, “is so dang on top of the beat,” Adalia stated. “I feel like I can just trust fall with him.” Jordan Wilson, who plays the electric guitar, really gets into it on stage. “It’s good to have someone to vibe with like that,” said Adalia.
The name, The Knotts, comes from the idea that we all have these kind of kinks in life, these knots, per say, that we hold on to and need to let go of in order to be free. Adalia hopes her music can “untie and set free.”
Music was pretty instant for Adalia. She remembers listening to Mariah Carey on her cassette tape as a young child. In elementary school she performed at talent shows and in high school she started playing in bands. “From there it kept going and going,” said Adalia. Although her parents really wanted her to go to college and join the traditional workforce, Adalia knew music was her passion.
Growing up black and white, her music has both an r&b and indie-rock influence. She has many musical inspirations. She likes how Sujhan Stevens incorporates the cello and violin into folk-pop songs. “That’s really inspiring.” Adalia appreciates Lauryn Hill’s r&b and soul vibes, and Valerie June’s unique voice. She is also inspired by how Kurt Cobain just wanted to make music and not worry about money.
Adalia feels she has musically reincarnated many times. Her music started with more folky sounds. “It was breathy, acoustic and just very stripped down,” said Adalia. She then started to play the electric guitar, which opened up a world of sounds for her. And now, playing with Mango, Antoine and Jordan, her neo-soul and r&b influences are coming out. Today, the Knotts are a nice fusion of neo-soul, dream-pop, and indie-rock.
Wife and mother of two, Adalia’s family has inspired her music. “Tan Lines” is about her husband and “Change” was inspired by her nine-year-old son, Elijah. Her second child, Sophia, is two and a half years old. Adalia said, “My family is my biggest fan and supporter. I literally couldn’t make music without them. My husband is an amazing encouragement and is constantly pushing me to keep going. He watches our kids while I practice or handle the promotion side of things and he comes to every show he can.”
Adalia grew up in Lansing Michigan. She is the oldest of five. Three of her siblings live in Cincinnati, who often come to her shows. Adalia’s parents are also supportive of her music. She said, “My dad is cute and wants to save my show fliers.” Her in-laws watch her kids so she can work on her music while her husband is at work. Adalia’s grandparents are also on board. She said, “My grandparents would come to the grossest dive bar just to see me play.” Adalia said her family members are her heroes. She added, “Apparently it takes a village to make a record.”
Her vision for the future involves continuing to make art and tour the country. She would also like to play at some festivals. “SXSW is definitely on the list, Coachella, midpoint, and even bigger ones like Barcelona’s primavera sound festival,” said Adalia.
If you’re eager to hear them live, you can vibe with them June 29th at The Hub located in OTR on Main St. For more shows, check out their schedule below.
6/29 The Hub
7/4 Northside R-N-R Carnival
7/28 Urban Artifact
8/11 Clifton Plaza
8/31 Music on the Piazza
10/14 Second Sunday On Main