Bipolar Sunshine is the project of Manchester-raised, LA-based artist Adio Marchant. Over the last decade, Marchant has performed guest vocals on releases by Petit Biscuit, San Holo and DJ Snake, co-written for Lil Yachty and Beyonce, and toured with the likes of Rudimental and London Grammar.
Most recently, Bipolar Sunshine released the single ‘FOCUS’, which features co-lead vocals from Melbourne-based performer Kylie Chirunga, better-known as KYE. To celebrate the song’s release, Bipolar Sunshine and KYE jumped on Zoom to interview each other.
Bipolar Sunshine – ‘FOCUS’ (feat. KYE)
KYE: The first thing that caught me was the tone of your voice. What’s been the journey with your voice – when did you figure out that you could sing and how did you form that tone?
Bipolar Sunshine: I was into a lot of garage music when I first got into making music. I was like, all garage, I just wanted to MC, I was writing a lot of bars. Then it wasn’t until when I was in school, I remember this girl called Anika. She had the most incredible voice and she would just sometimes get up in class and belt a song out. She used to sing the Fugees and I used to be like, “I wish I could do that.”
And then one day, I don’t know what came over me, I just belted out some Michael Jackson line, and everyone was like, “Yo, you have a voice,” and after that I just kind of stayed with the craft.
KYE: What music did you grow up on?
Bipolar Sunshine: I was raised by a lot of reggae music and a lot of old 60s music – a lot of Carpenters and Beatles and all this was just getting played. So, I was in this mixture of that and then hearing all these amazing dance records when I was younger, like acid house – I love all that stuff.
Listening to some of those great musicians, [I was] always trying to emulate how Michael would try and do something with his voice or even more the individual voices, like a Bowie voice or a Morrissey voice, just trying to find my way to interpret their songs my own way.
Bipolar Sunshine – ‘Daydreamer’
KYE: You listed so many influences in that answer, but who would you say the biggest influence has been on your music?
Bipolar Sunshine: If I’m going to think of writing style, I’m going to say The Smiths/Morrissey, then Kanye. But the production and song structure? N.E.R.D., Pharrell, Michael, Prince. Man, some Drake records, some Weeknd records.
We have so many great artists. You can tell they’ve all taken a line off somebody before them but they’ve made it their own. That what’s I find fascinating if you hear James Brown to Michael Jackson to The Weeknd, they take something else into a different domain.
I like a lot of female vocalists. I feel like they have a certain melancholy. That’s why when I heard your vocal I was like, “Yes, this is just hitting that sweet spot that I really enjoy.” It feels like you’ve got such a range, but you also have the sense of vulnerability in the vocal, and that’s what I draw towards; that human approach.
KYE: Something you brought up when we were doing the final cut of the vocal was that you wanted it to feel like a conversation. It’s not something I’ve really explored yet in my own music and I felt like I sang it so differently based on that note. Where did that idea come from?
Bipolar Sunshine: It came from the style of song. The way that I approached the first verse was very much like two people in a room. I wanted to stay in the same ballpark rather than have a verse that sounded completely abstract from where the first verse was.
Some songs, I try and take a narrator’s approach to it. So, rather than it’s always me, sometimes it’s like me watching an argument, it’s like me eavesdropping on a conversation, and what does that sound like? I love to people-watch.
Bipolar Sunshine – ‘Too Young’
Bipolar Sunshine: There’s three writing styles that are the ones that I would usually do. I’d either freestyle for a while and see what I came up with. I’d write the song out fully and see how it sounds perfectly on guitar or piano. Or I’ll allow a track to take me exactly where I need to go. What’s your writing style?
KYE: I feel like that last one rings truer to my style a little bit more. I, for starters, love writing in session. I kind of struggle to sit at home and write things because I feel like I give myself too much time. Sitting in the session, you’re in it, you’re right there, and it just feels like whatever your mind conjures based on what you’re hearing is usually the song.
So yeah, I always write in that way where it’s like, I let the song take me wherever it needs to take me and sometimes that lands and sometimes it doesn’t. But for the most part, if you’re willing to let the song be as honest as it can be and just let the song do what it wants to do, you usually come up with a pretty good song.
Bipolar Sunshine: I like that. I do a lot of freestyling onto the tracks. I find it difficult to say lyrics if we’re not recording because I feel like the first things that are going to come out of my mouth will more than likely end up being the song.
KYE: My voice memo app in my phone is my best friend. I’ve always got that thing on.
Bipolar Sunshine: Listen, I think artists are going to be selling voice memos soon because you’ve probably got some incredible songs just sat in that voice memo.
KYE: It’s funny isn’t it? There’s like five-hundred things that you’re like, “Yeah, I’ll go back to that.” And you literally never go back.
KYE – ‘Tuesday’ (feat. Jerome Farah)
Bipolar Sunshine: So, you’re in Australia. How do you see things from your side of the planet?
KYE: Australia’s just like… it’s really different out here. Have you been before?
Bipolar Sunshine: Never been to Australia.
KYE: It’s a completely different vibe. The music scene is completely different from other places, and just the atmosphere in general, and the people, and the way that we do things. From what I’ve experienced being in different places and making music, it’s a really different vibe.
When I was younger, I was like, “When I’m older I’ll move to LA or I’ll move to London.” And the more I make music here, the more I want to stay. I feel like I could probably make whatever I wanted out here. Especially in Melbourne, there’s this feeling of being really free to explore your creativity.