Despite the nickname, Akina Adderley is much more than “the little woman with the big voice.” A rock/soul vocalist, songwriter, bandleader, arranger, and producer based in Austin, Texas, Adderley’s music reflects both her modern rock ‘n roll sensibility and her deep jazz roots. Margaret Moser (Austin Chronicle) wrote, “Jazz is in Akina Adderley’s blood, and it flows with a warm mix of old-school soul and R&B.” Akina’s father is acclaimed jazz pianist and arranger Nat Adderley, Jr. (long-time bandleader for Luther Vandross), and her grandfather and granduncle were venerated jazz musicians: cornetist Nat Adderley, Sr. and alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley (Miles Davis, Kind of Blue). While their towering musical legacy flows through her, Akina’s artistry is all her own.
Akina’s music crackles with infectious grooves and incisive lyrics, but live performances bring that heat to a whole other level. Audiences “instantly fall for her dynamism and her superstar performance,” says Laurie Gallardo of KUTX-FM, moved by what the Austin American-Statesman calls her “rich, emotive pipes.” Drawing comparisons to Tina Turner and Sharon Jones, Akina’s stage presence is captivating and electrifying. Akina has performed across the country, sharing bills with Booker T., Band, and Big Sam’s Funky Nation, as well as with Austin favorites Gary Clark, Jr., Jackie Venson, Shinyribs, Bright Light Social Hour, Bob Schneider, Alejandro Escovedo, and Carolyn Wonderland. She is a featured backing vocalist on recordings by Charlie Mars, James McMurtry, and Gregg Rolie (Santana and Journey), among others. Akina has released two records with her 8-piece soul band, Akina Adderley & The Vintage Playboys, two records with modern jazz group, Nori, and is working on a batch of soul/rock singles under her own name. A local Austin favorite, Akina is a Black Fret artist, a songwriter with The House of Songs, and was honored in 2012 by the mayoral proclamation of Akina Adderley Day in Austin.