Anna Adetiba

Jonathan Arundel
Léa Federmann Marsot

Anna Adetiba is a London based sax player, architecture student and in tattoo training. She is a good example of what gen Z is capable of doing and achieving – many things at once and from an early age. I had the chance to meet this beautiful soul whilst she was jamming with her music collective – Common Sound – at MAP. We spoke about being 21 during the pandemic, her journey getting into music, how her approach to it has changed over time and Common Sound’s longterm goals. 

Léa Federmann: Could you please introduce yourself. What do you do and what are you interests outside of music?
Anna Adetiba: I’m 22 and living in London. I’ll be finishing up with my Architecture BA in May, so at the moment I’ve really just got my head to the grindstone – proper student-type shit right now if you know what I mean. I’ve also really been trying to find the time to keep up with my music though – I play the Saxophone in Common Sound collective, and also do a bit of gigging & session work on the side. Aside from this I really like drawing and painting – I started learning how to tattoo over the lockdown as I felt inspired after getting the ones on my back done by my friend’s mate Pea (Don’t ask what they mean – idk either). Haven’t had so much time to do this recently because of work. I’ve got a couple friends waiting in line for when I have a bit more free time in the summer though, which is super exciting.
LF: How do all your different worlds (architecture, tattooing and music) intertwine with each other?
AA: I think for me it’s just really important to have different spaces in my life. Music, Architecture and Tattooing all kind of act like a refuge for the others when things get a bit stressful. It feels like i’m in such a different frame of mind when i’m up on stage, to when i’m designing a building, or doing a Tattoo.

Black tailoring jacket: Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier black jacket from Serotonin Vintage, Vintage white Prada shirt from Bajo, Stylists own suit

White vest top + scarf + hat: Stylist’s own white vest top, scarf & hat, Vintage Moschino sleeveless vest from Bajo, Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier trousers from Serotonin Vintage

Earrings + Body chain: Dosisg6c earrings and body chain, Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier dress from Bajo

Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier jacket from Serotonin Vintage, Stylists own shirt & tie

LF: When did you start learning to play the saxophone and what led you into it? Did you grow up in a musical family?
AA: I actually started playing Violin before I took up the Sax. My primary school ran free lessons from year 7, and I kept on with it into Secondary School, playing in the Camden Youth Orchestra. I can’t say that I massively enjoyed it at the time – especially since it was always run at half term. I do know how to read music because of all of that though, so I’m pretty grateful for my mum for making me stick with it. I started with the Sax when I was 11. I’d heard people playing in Jazz bands and just got kinda taken with the sound of it. I learned pretty quickly because I already knew a lot of theory from the violin. I think the biggest thing for me though, was changing from playing classical music to Jazz/Soul/RnB after Joining a couple groups. It really teaches you to listen and comp when you play with other musicians.
LF: Oh so pretty young! Did it feel like a chore learning the saxophone as a child or has it always been an enjoyment and something you wanted to pursue? 
AA: To be honest, my relationship with playing music was pretty odd when I was younger. I think it felt super institutional at times, especially because I felt that I had to do it, and that I had to keep doing my grades and improving. I think all I really wanted to do at that time was fuck about and play free Jazz, weithout having to learn scales and stuff. That’s something that’s definitely changed as I’ve gotten older though. I feel like I see music in general as such a refuge now. It creates this different space in my life where I can get away from life and stress and work on getting better at something which feels really feeling-driven (rather than intellectual and thought out). That’s become really precious to me now that I’m a bit older.
LF: Did your parents encourage you to persevere?
AA: Pretty much, yeah. I dunno what I would do without my mum.
LF: What does you relationship with the saxophone/music look like in the future?
AA: I guess I’m just excited to do more songwriting and gigging after finishing with Uni to be honest. I really want to spend some time trying to put my energy into playing more regular Gigs, hosting/planning events, and doing more Tattoo/Art stuff. I feel like I want to see what all these things could grow into if I had a bit more time to concentrate on them. I guess I also have a little pipe dream with it in the long run. I’d like to design and open up a music venue/arts studio one day. I’ve learned a lot about the sociology of space and bringing different ideas and people together in space through my degree. It would be super nice if I could use this to design a place in the arts world for creatives to come together in a cool new way. I don’t really know what that would look like yet though… We’ll see.
LF: Who do you look up to as inspiration?
AA: I think friends and family mostly. Feel like I’ve got a lot of lovely people in my life right now – I hope they know that 🙂
LF: I am so glad I got the chance to meet you through your brother’s music collective, called Common Sound. Personally I would describe it as an egoless music sharing space where beauty happen each time?
AA: Yeah I’d say that’s pretty accurate. People come through with incredible musical ideas and talent. I feel like it’s about listening to and developing those Ideas – letting people get them out of the studio, and into a live band setting with other people contributing and sharing into that. Doing it that way creates this multi-input, spontaneity in music that’s really special imo. I feel like you always leave with more than you came with, if that makes sense.
LF: Could you please tell us the story behind CS?
AA: My Brother Alex started it as an idea a year or two back with his mate Charlie. I think it was one of those Just-Before Covid ThingsTM that got put on hold just as they started out. It’s grown so much over the past 6 months though. In terms of the vibe, I feel like it’s all about inclusivity and kindness. I’ve also met a lot of people who come down to play at the Wednesday Jam at Map Cafe, and I feel like the one thing that everyone says is that the Jam (and the little Balcony at Map Cafe) makes you feel like you’re on a mad spiritual holiday in a hot country for a night – even in the middle of Winter. I know that sounds wild, but I can’t really get it across in words. It’s one of those things you have to go down and experience for yourself.- It’s a special place.
LF: What is CS bringing into your daily life?
AA: It’d have to be that mid-week holiday feeling haha. It’s a really important break for me.
LF: How has CS changed or redefined your approach to the saxophone?
AA: I’d say that CS has let me rediscover my love for playing. I kinda struggled with balancing Uni life with all these hobbies that I used to have, and music was a big one of them. I started going down to CS after taking a pretty long break from playing anything, and now I play pretty much every day.
LF: What would be the long term goal for CS and yourself?
AA: We’re working on putting on more events outside of the Jams – ones that bring more of the arts outside of music into the mix. Think we’ll be having some cookouts and stuff like that going on over summer as well, if Corona allows for it. To be honest though, Common Sound is mostly about using creative collaboration to find a common ground/ equality that transcends some of the social barriers that come up in everyday life. I think the only real long term goal is to find ways to grow and include more people whilst maintaining that fundamental ethos.

Dosisg6c earrings, Stylists own jacket, Clan top & trousers

Stylist’s own top, scarf & hat, Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier trousers from Serotonin Vintage

LF: How have the last two years of Covid impacted your music and social life? How did it change you? It you could go back, what advice would you give to your younger self? 
AA: The pandemic has been rough for a lot of people and for a lot of reasons, but I do feel like was really lucky to be living in a house of 6 really good friends through the majority of it. Everyone in that house was in the music scene, but coming from really different places within it. We had a couple times where people would bring their bedroom setup into the living room so we could have proper freestyle nights which got to such ridiculous levels. I’m honestly the shittest rapper you will ever meet, so it’s always been wild to me seeing people spit bars so easily. Two of my housemates, Kenny and Linus, were actually also recording an EP and an Album (respectively) at the time. They’d bring mixes down from time to time and everyone would come down to the kitchen and listen to the project. It’s pretty mad (and wholesome) being in on someone else’s whole process (especially a lockdown one) and watching their ideas slowly turn into these insane, amazing things. I think having those moments – especially in the middle of the pandemic – was really special to me. I think like everyone else, I had a couple of rocky moments thrown at me over the past couple years that have forced me to get a little bit introspective as well though. I think I’ve just tried to take everything on board and appreciate what it’s taught me rather than dwelling on everything. I’m fully aware this is a super cheesy note to leave it on, but I feel like I’m a lot more conscious of who I am, and am getting comfortable in being that person without doubting myself.

Dosisg6c earrings, Stylists own jacket, Clan top & trousers

Stylist’s own top, scarf & hat, Vintage Jean Paul Gaultier trousers from Serotonin Vintage

Creative direction, Styling & Interview: Léa Federmann Marsot
Photographer: Jonathan Arundel
Make up: Stevie Squire 
Hair Stylist: Katsuya Kachi