Whatever happened to… Adeva

Whatever happened to the gutsy late 1980s/early 1990s soulful house diva Adeva? GARY STEEL, who interviewed her at the time, finds out.

Retrospectively, over the past few years we’ve heard a lot about how poorly treated women artists were in the late 20th century. But to me at the time, there seemed to be a flood of great female talent in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. The assertive gender-bending of artists like Grace Jones and the more academic creativity of the likes of Laurie Anderson made for an ideal playing field for assertive women. Or at least that’s the way it seemed at the time.

New York singer Adeva (birth name Patricia Daniels) had a decent UK hit with her house music cover of the Aretha Franklin classic, ‘Respect’, and when I spoke with her in 1990, she had her debut album out with singles like ‘Warning’ and ‘I Thank You’. I loved her gutsy no-bullshit persona, hollering vocals and simmering grooves, and was surprised to find that she was humble about her talent, with none of the braggadocio that I’d often encountered from stars talking themselves up to journalists.



As it turned out, that second album bombed, despite a couple of hit singles. She was dropped by her record company, and a Frankie Knuckles collaboration in ’95 and another album in ’97 failed to spark things up By the end of the ‘90s her career had petered out altogether. I can kind of see why. While her strident style was fleetingly appealing, house music tended to be more about producers than singers, and it would have been hard to maintain interest with the wider public unless she had a terrific team behind her – the kind that someone like Madonna could buy.

Here’s the wee piece I wrote about her for RTR Countdown magazine in 1990:



Just over a year ago Patricia Daniels was teaching handicapped kids in New Jersey. Now she’s known as the ‘Queen of house’ and goes by the name ADEVA. Her debut album, Adeva! Got lost in the Christmas rush in NZ but in England it’s gone gold and the self-styled, “tough, no-nonsense bitch” is in heat. Why the commotion?

Well, the image is one of feminine strength, the grooves are as good as Soul II Soul’s, and the voice is awesome. Where did she get it?

“From my Mum. I sang exactly the same way in the church choir. I have a real strong voice. I have to keep pulling the microphone away from my mouth, and if anyone’s at my show by the speakers I tell ‘em ‘move a minute, I’m going to blow the ears off your head’.”

Why so tough? “At home I grew up in a predominantly religious, church-church-church, that was all I had to do – go to church, go to church. But when I got out I said ‘I’m going to let the real person get out’, y’know?”

Can guys handle the real Adeva? “A lot of men don’t like independent women, they’re looking for the ‘I need you’ type, but I’m one whoman that don’t say ‘I need you’. My boyfriend really gets off on my independence. He has a very stressful job – he’s a state police officer – so I keep him laughing, y’know?”


Here’s Adeva telling her own story. It’s very moving. Watch it!


And you can buy the 4-CD reissue of that debut album here:


Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here

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