Songwriter Interview

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JJ Barnes The Table Read

Written by JJ Barnes

I interviewed singer-songwriter Dr Fabola about his life, his goals, and what inspires his music.

Tell me a bit about who you are.

Hi, my name is Ade Fabola, I go by Dr Fabola in music circles, and I’m a Manchester-based singer-songwriter

Dr Fabola Songwriter interview on The Table Read
Dr Fabola

When did you first WANT to write songs?

It’s difficult to recall now, but I remember always having a desire to write things – thoughts, short stories, poems. When I started learning music and playing instruments something clicked and I was able to connect the words with melodies, and that’s how I started writing songs.


When did you take a step to start writing songs?

The first time I remember sharing a song was 6 years ago, and it was a bedroom recording I did which I sent privately to my family. A few years later I summoned the courage to start playing open mics, and I started sharing songs publicly (online, live) around 3 years ago.

What was your first song released, and what was it about?

My first released song, called Sweetest Thing I Know, came out in 2019. The song is simply about nice, often overlooked things, like the smile of a baby, sunrises and sunsets, double rainbows, peanut butter and jam sandwiches, you get the idea. When I wrote the song I wasn’t in the best place mentally. I made a conscious effort to notice and appreciate the nice things around me, however small or insignificant they were. I ended up writing a list and made it into a song, which as it turns out, is one of the happiest songs I’ve ever written.


What was your latest song released, and what was it about?

The last one I released is called Glad I Said So. It tells a tale, a love story with uncertain beginnings and rocky and paths. It’s the kind of story where the protagonist maintains an unwavering sense of purpose and hope throughout, hope that’s rewarded with bliss in the end. It’s a typical ballad that provides closure and a happy ending. The message here, from the perspective of a hopeless romantic, is that whether you find that good love, or learn a lesson instead, it’s worth taking that leap of faith.

Focusing on your latest song. What were your biggest challenges with Glad I Said So?

Dr Fabola Songwriter interview on The Table Read
Dr Fabola

The main challenge has always been promoting it and getting it heard by people who’ll appreciate it. It’s increasingly difficult to promote music as an independent artist, so I appreciate every bit of engagement, every kind word, every word of mouth referral, it really does help 🙂

How many songs are you working on right now?

Too many 🙂 I’m always writing, sometimes for the sake of writing to process my thoughts, but sometimes with the intention to share something new. Over the past few months I’ve written a few dozen songs that’ll all be released someday, but for now I’m in the process of recording some home demos so I can prepare for a studio recording session.

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Do you keep to a theme with your music, or just go where the mood strikes?

Like I said earlier, I write to process my thoughts, so I’ll pretty much go where the mood takes me. But when I write music with intention, I tend to explore themes around love, kindness, gratitude and socio-political happenings. For the most part I like to keep things light-hearted, as it’s a key ingredient in making music that’s suitable for easy listening. That said, music, and art generally is so powerful in effecting change and spreading messages so if I have a message burning on my heart, I have to get it out there.

What is your favourite song you’ve recorded, and what do you love about it?

It’s difficult to choose one, but I’ll probably go with Something Good, which came out earlier this year. Something Good is about yearning for hope and positivity in the wake of disaster and isolation. I feel like this resonates with a lot of people at the moment given the state of the world – the pandemic, the political unrest and everything that appears to be upside down. The song is for everyone and anyone who yearns for that little bit of light at the end of this long dark tunnel we find ourselves travelling through. 

Do you find other people’s music inspires you? Who do you listen to most?

Absolutely. I draw inspiration from artists like Passenger, Jack Johnson, Madeleine Peyroux and Nina Simone.

Do you write your own music, or do you have musicians you work with?

I write my own music, lyrics, guitar parts, melodies and all. When I book a studio session I also work with producers that bring in other parts e.g. percussion, piano and so on.

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Do you play any instruments?

I play the guitar, keyboard and harmonica. The guitar is my main instrument though 🙂

Do you like performing live, or does it scare you? Where can people watch you?

I enjoy performing live. Yes, it does scare me, but I like to do things that challenge me. I’m pretty active on the Manchester music scene 🙂

Dr Fabola Songwriter interview on The Table Read
Dr Fabola

Is your music available online, and where can people listen to it?

Yes, my music is available on all streaming platforms – Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube etc. You’ll find it by searching for Dr Fabola, or by following the links below

Are you able to make music full time, or do you have day job?

Music isn’t a full time pursuit for me at the moment. I also have a job as a tech researcher 🙂

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Are your friends and family supportive of your music career?

Yes, I would hope so haha. Seriously though, everyone who knows me well would know how important music is important to me 🙂

What’s something you never expected about being a songwriter? What have you learned that surprised you?

Just how much room there is to grow and challenge myself. It’s been an amazing journey so far and I’m sure that the future is bright.

Have you had any experiences that really stand out because of your songs?

Dr Fabola Songwriter interview on The Table Read
Dr Fabola

Yeah I’ve had a few moments where I’ve really connected with the audience while performing live, and a few moments when people have reached out to me personally to share stories about how my music has helped them.

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Do you have any important events coming up we should know about?

My next main show is in Stockport at the St Petersgate tap on Nov 5 🙂

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What is the first piece of advice you would give to anyone inspired to write songs?

Start now, don’t worry about what anyone thinks, and don’t waste time thinking about whether it’s good enough. Just go public with it and embrace the journey 🙂


And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?

My proudest accomplishment is being a “public” singer songwriter. It may sound silly but I’m so glad I was able to overcome the fear of rejection. I’m glad I shared my early works in their crude and unrefined states, and I’m proud of how I’ve grown and gotten better over time. It was absolutely worth the effort, and I’m looking forward to more growth and evolution in the future 🙂

Pop all your music, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:






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