‘Encanto’ Adassa star will speak and sing about ‘Bruno’ at Kids Let’s Party Fest in Levy Park

Adassa, left, is the voice of Dolores in the movie Encanto. She attended high school in Houston.

Photo: Marie de Jesus/staff photographer and Disney

“Her thick skin was made here in H-town,” says Adassa, an Afro-Latin whose voice is raspy in We Don’t Talk About Bruno.

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She lived in the Houston area for several years and attended Conroe High School. Her parents are holistic doctors and she has an office in the city. It was here that Adassa honed her skills as a singer, performed with a group and eventually moved solo around town.

“I’ve been backpacking her here in H-town,” Adasa says during a recent visit here to promote her appearance at Kids Let’s Party Fest, a July 17th all-music event in Levy Park. She will appear as Dolores, her character from the movie Encanto.

“I’d go to clubs and sing my music. Some people would be happy with it, others would frown. I didn’t care. I’d be on stage even if you didn’t like it,” she says with a laugh. “I appreciate everything I’ve learned.”

Adassa, the actress and singer who voiced Dolores in Disney Encanto, poses for Dolores’ motions, Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Segundo Coffee Lab in Houston. Photography: Marie de Jesus / Staff Photographer

Adassa was eventually signed to Universal Music Latino and released a series of albums and songs that combined reggaeton, hip-hop, and R&B, predating the current group of artists blending the same sounds. She toured the world and recorded songs with Pitbull, Snoop Dogg, Daddy Yankee, and Ciara.

“I’ve already done a lot,” she says. “I am very grateful for my career in the Latin industry.”

However, the best is yet to come.

Disney has always been a dream for Adasa, but she left him and basically retired for eight years. She was “baking bread at home” and raising seven children with her husband, Gabriel Candiani, a producer and songwriter who has worked with a number of Tejano stars, including Fama and Elida Reina.

“Life was good,” she says. And then when Disney called me on my YouTube channel, if I wanted to audition for an unrevealed movie, it changed my life. It’s what I’ve wanted since I was 9. When I saw The Little Mermaid, that was the moment I wanted In it he did something with Disney.”

In “Encanto,” Dolores of Adassa is a scene thief who can hear things from miles away and the cousin of the main character Mirabel. She was featured in “All of You” and “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, a popular song that was repeated for several months.

Adassa, the Disney Encanto star, talks with fans and signs autographs with them at the Permian Basin Comic Con in the Midland County Horseshoe Pavilion.

Photo: Tim Fisher, Principal Photographer/Midland Reporter-Telegram

Adassa performed “Bruno” at the Academy Awards alongside Megan Thee Stallion, Luis Fonsi, and Becky J. She has the coolest part to the song, a kind of rap whisper that reveals just how powerful she is:He grew up to live in fear of Bruno stuttering or stumbling / I always kind of heard him muttering and stammering / I tied him to the sound of falling sand…

Kids Let’s Celebrate Fest

with: Adassa, That Girl Lay Lay, Enkyboys, and more

When:Noon – 8 PM July 17

where:Levi’s Park 3801 Eastside

the tickets:$24.99 and up; kidsletsparty.com

Since the song broke out, Adassa has amassed a large following on social media and often posts as Dolores. Her TikTok account has 8.5 million likes and over 600,000 followers (although it was hacked recently). She performed the song alongside Top 10 hits on “American Idol” earlier this year and is regularly welcomed at events by the Starstroke kids.

“I do things like Comic-Con, which I’ve never done in my life. I used to be that little girl who would sit in line for hours at Disney, just waiting to wave,” she says.

However, Adassa’s Disney dream started out as a real nightmare. She contracted COVID-19 in early 2021 and says she was paralyzed from the neck down. She was barely able to speak and even made a will. When she got an offer to do “Encanto”, Kandiani told Adassa to turn it down. She was recovering but still very weak and barely able to sing a tune.

“I’m like, ‘You can call them if you’re dead.'” I take it, and we’ll find out. Three weeks later, I was recording via Zoom with Lin Manuel Miranda,” she says. “Every reason you didn’t do something, every reason you never risked it, every reason you gave yourself, ‘This isn’t going to work,’ just goes out the window.”

“Encanto” is Adassa’s first film, and in many ways, Dolores is the reflection of the mirror – an Afro-Latina with dark skin, curly hair, strong family roots who can speak and sing in English.

“I think this movie really helped me embrace both sides. My family, Todos son of a Colombian. I’m Colombian, but at the same time, I’m American. I listen to Journey, I listen to Chris Stapleton. I feel good because I finally connect with, ‘I’m all, all of you'” , she sings in the last part, noting the film’s closing number.

To this end, Adassa is reviving her singing career with two upcoming projects. Calling Warner Chappell, “Colombianamericana” is a blend of cumbia, reggaeton, and traditional Colombian music. She also records country, rock, and soul tunes in English as Naomi (her middle name) Black to distinguish her from her track in Adassa/Dolores. The accompanying YouTube channel already has covers of songs by Stapleton, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin find Adassa showcasing completely different parts of her voice.

And thanks to the magical casita and the family of animators who have finally learned to stop hiding secrets and really see each other and themselves.

“I feel like I’ve been holding my breath, and I’m finally going,” Adassa let out a deep breath. “I think there is a lot of healing. If everyone really sees this movie as a building block for better communication and a sense of strength like Latinos, we will thrive. We will thrive much stronger than ever.”

  • Joey Guerra

    Joey Guerra is the music critic for the Houston Chronicle. It also covers various aspects of popular culture. He has reviewed hundreds of concerts and interviewed hundreds of celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Dolly Parton to Beyonce. He appeared as a regular reporter on Fox26 and was the jury chairperson and director of the Pride Superstar singing competition for ten years. He has been named Journalist of the Year multiple times by OutSmart Magazine and FACE Awards. It also covers various aspects of pop culture, including the local drag scene and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

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