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Ada Vox is our Queen of the Universe

Ada Vox is our Queen of the Universe

Ada Vox

Ada Vox first came to our attention as San Antonio, Texas’ own Adam Sanders. Adam made the top 50 of American Idol season 12 at the age of 19. Ada auditioned for season 16, wowed the judges and made it to the Top 10, performing duets with Lea Michele and Patti LaBelle. Ada was among the 14 queens competing to be Queen of the Universe and once again, while she didn’t take home the crown, she won our hearts. Her renditions of “At Last” and “Open Arms” proved she was a force to be reckoned with.

When selecting his drag name, Adam chose Ada because he saw it as a simple way of creating something new without completely throwing out the old. He chose Vox because it is the Latin word for “voice” and singing was how he intended to make his name. After placing as runner-up on Queen of the Universe, Ada made plans to bring her music to the people, starting with a March 3rd performance at the Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles.

We got the chance to talk to Ada about her journey from singing along to CDs with her mom in San Antonio, to the American Idol stage and her recent run on Queen of the Universe. We also put this talented singer to the test with a quick round of the Socialite Seven. Get to know the person behind that amazing voice in our exclusive interview.

Ada Vox

SL: I’ve been a big fan since American idol and, you know, and in the infamous words of Kahmora Hall, I was rooting for you on Queen of the Universe.

Ada Vox: Thank you, baby. I appreciate it!  

You’ve got a show coming up in March. What can fans expect at this concert? 

The show at the Catalina is going to be very intimate. I love to have a setting where I get the opportunity to really connect on a more personal level, you know, in a way that you can’t really through a TV screen or when you’re performing to these big, full tracks that are more about the production than the connection with the music.

This is an opportunity for me to really just sit there, me and a piano, and to offer a real musical, heartfelt experience to everyone…just one-on-one right there with everyone. So, expect that. 

Where did your passion for singing come from? 

I’ve always loved to sing. Singing has always been my outlet since I was very, very young and I was raised around people who were always singing – more specifically the women in my life, like my grandmother and my mom were always singing. We played so many CDs and 8-tracks to absolute death, to where they just stopped playing because we just wore them the hell out. And I was just always surrounded by music and always surrounded by the positive influence of, “Okay. Sing to make you feel better.” You know, when something happened and my mom would start singing a song and say, “Feel better, feel better through the music.” So, I guess the passion for singing came through the passion that I felt being healed through music from a very young age.

Did you have any formal training or are you just naturally talented? 

No. So I’ve worked a lot. I’ve had a total of, I think three or four private lessons my entire life – and they were literally just for the sake of audition prep. When I was getting ready to audition for American Idol or The Voice or something like that, I had to go sign up for a vocal class. I want the opinion of a voice teacher to tell me what song they think sounds good.

I took part in organizations growing up, such as the Network for Young Artists, which is a youth music program in San Antonio for underprivileged youth who can’t afford full-time music lessons and all those types of things. And it’s a nonprofit youth music organization that allows people like me the opportunity to get on stage and to sing in front of other people, which is really beneficial in artist development at a very young age, to be able to just get out there and do it. So, thanks to programs like that, I am doing what I’m doing now. 

So how did you get the guts to audition the first time around on American Idol when you were at the tender age of 19? 

So, that actually wasn’t my first time auditioning. I started auditioning when I turned 16, as the American Idol age limit was minimum 16 back then on season 10, I believe it was. And by the time season 12 came around, when I was on at the age of 19, I had already auditioned for the show four times, I think. Because I don’t give up, I don’t do one audition and call it a day. No, I’ll go audition in person. If they turn me down, I’m going to submit an audition online. If I still don’t hear back the next season, I’m going to go audition in person again. If they turn me away, I’m going to go to another state and audition again. So, I repeated that cycle forever until I finally made it on this last time. 

Now, the last time you were on American Idol, you sang with Patti LaBelle. What was that experience like?

Singing with Patti was a dream. Truthfully, I am such an admirer of the amazing divas who paved the way for powerhouse vocalists in the music scene. So many of the biggest names today, like Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, Jesse J…all those girls. They were all inspired by these women who were the Aretha Franklins and the Patti LaBelles and the Yolanda Adams and all of those queens back then. Getting to share the stage with one of them, the legendary Patti LaBelle, was nothing short of truly just sitting and living in a dream that I had never imagined would happened, but I always had envisioned what it would be like and then getting in that moment was like, “Is this really happening? It’s real! Oh, my goodness, this is happening!” and it was absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

How did your experience on American Idol prepare you for Queen of the Universe

American Idol offered me my first national platform to really just take off and show everyone what I could really do. The difference for me was American Idol got me prepared to be put together by other people and to put my trust in the hands of others, as they had their makeup artists, their wardrobe stylists, their hairstylists.

We don’t have any power. We’re in their hands. So, that was a learning experience in itself – and that taught me how much I liked freedom, how much I like to have creative reign over myself.

After coming off American Idol, I had this big platform that allowed me to tour the world and to do all kinds of things, which allowed me to further polish my performance abilities and to learn more about my voice. I was touring from the states to out of the country, to one coast, to the next coast and all back and forth. It teaches you a lot about how to function as a singer, as an artist in stressful circumstances.

When it came to Queen of the Universe, I was just ready. I’ve already been singing professionally now for 15 years. So, even before American Idol, I was doing it. Nothing can really prepare you outside of that direct experience that you get from being on a platform like that.

And after that first time, I knew that this is exactly what I needed to be doing. And I knew that I could do everything wonderfully once I had gotten that experience in my pocket. So, coming on Queen of the Universe, I just said, “Hey, I know what I’m doing. Let’s do it.” 

On Queen of the Universe, did you select the songs or were they selected for you? 

We were allowed to pick our songs. They, of course, provided us with the themes and then we were allowed to pick our songs – and then they went through an approval process that is in line with all reality television. Once you get through that clearance process, you, as the artist do have power to say, “Hey, this is what I want to sing. This is what I want to do because this is me as an artist”, and the show might say, “Oh, we might like you to do this one more” because they’re making a TV show. They know what they want to see, but overall, I will say that I did have power over all of my song choices and I’m very happy with what I got to sing. 

Did you learn anything surprising about yourself while you were on Queen of the Universe?

I think what I really learned is that I think I have more of an appreciation for the art form of drag than I did before the show. Because one thing that I still stand by and I’ve always said is drag is not my favorite thing. I don’t do drag because I love drag. I do drag because it’s offered me new opportunities and it’s offered me an opportunity to connect with new people and to sing to new people.

Anyone that knows anything about drag knows it’s not comfortable. It is corsets and tights and gowns and wigs. There’s glue, super glue all over everything and it’s a lot. But the fact of the matter is that I think I came off the show with a lot more appreciation…not just appreciation but knowledge in the art form of drag to where I can’t say “Oh, get this off me. I hate it. I never want to do it again.” It’s more like I’ve come to appreciate it and what it has done for me to a level that is greater than what I had going into it. So, I am now embracing Ada as an artist even more than before and that’s something that I was very pleased to come off the show with. 

You’ve done all these amazing covers…is there original music coming down the pike from Ada?

I actually do have three original songs available right now, “Burn”, “Because of You” and “Tea Time.” They are all original songs that are available to stream on all music platforms but I do absolutely plan to put out way more music. I don’t plan to be a cover artist. I plan to be a huge artist selling out arenas around the world, singing my original music and having thousands of people sing my lyrics back to me. All of those things are in the works. It all takes time and lots of money, so we’re working towards that little by little, but absolutely there will be Ada Vox music and I would like to positively say hopefully in the very near future. 

Ada Vox

Ada Vox Answers the Socialite Seven

Who has had the biggest influence on your music? 

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Oh, I want to say my mother, because she inspired me to start and on top of inspiring me to start, she’s also my biggest supporter and also my biggest critic. She will always let me know when I’m right or wrong. I really appreciate that. She helps me navigate my way around all of it. 

Who, if anyone, would you like to collaborate with? 

Oh, geez. This question is so hard because there’s so many. But I’ve got to say I would love to collaborate with all the pop divas of the day. I love all of them – Ariana Grande, Tori Kelly, JoJo, Dua Lipa. Kelly Clarkson is one of my all-time favorites [she’s] one of my original inspirations for pursuing singing as a profession, when she became the first American Idol. They’re just all the powerhouse ladies of the day that I would absolutely love to sit next to. 

What type of music or an artist that you listen to would fans be surprised that you’re a fan of?

I don’t know if they’d be surprised, but I really surprisingly enjoyed Doja Cat. People know me as the person who likes soul music and Aretha, Patti, and all of those powerhouse singers of the past. But I super vibe with Doja Cat and her personality. She’s another person I’d love to collaborate with. 

What are three things you can’t live without?

Well, I love food, clearly. I’m a big bitch but that’s just, you know, my life. So I’ll say good food. I’ve always got to go back to my voice because my voice has been my outlet for so much and if I didn’t have my voice, I don’t know how I would cope with so many things. And, number three, I guess I may as well just lay it down to what everyone probably says, but family, because it’s one of the only things in this world that you can’t just toss aside or get rid of because you’re tied by blood, baby!

If you can wake up in the morning with a new talent or superpower, what would you want that to be?

I would really, really like to be able, I am super cheesy, to fly, because it would allow me to sing in more places more easily. 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 

The best piece of advice I’ve been given is also a piece of advice that I give to a lot of people who ask me for advice and it’s to stop caring what people think about you. The sooner you stop caring what people think about you, the more you can focus on what you want to accomplish as an individual and as an artist and that’s the only way that you can actually move forward. 

What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment so far? 

My greatest accomplishment has been, knowing that I’ve impacted people’s lives in a positive way. All the messages that I get every single day about people saying I’ve touched them or inspired them – it doesn’t matter how much money I may end up making in the future, how broke I am, whatever it may be, whatever the situation is, touching those people and moving them in a way that matters is truly my biggest accomplishment.

Ada Vox

Keep up with Ada on her website and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and TikTok. You can get tickets for her March 3 show here.


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