Feature Stories

Watch: ‘Encanto’ actress sings at Giving Machines kick-off in Salt Lake City

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Adassa performs at the Salt Lake City Giving Machines.
Photo by Emily Abel

For the unveiling of this year’s Giving Machines, singer and actress Adassa from Disney’s Encanto flew from Nashville to Salt Lake City to participate. Adassa’s voice is beloved by many fans for her low, smooth rap in the Billboard chart-topping song, “We Don’t Talk about Bruno.” And today, she gave a gorgeous live performance, not as her character Dolores but as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, eager to help shine light into the world.

“To be able to be here and kick this off means so much to me. … To share my gift [of music] with the world and be here in Salt Lake. It’s just so lovely,” Adassa told LDS Living. “I’ve seen the relief that somebody can give when they share their light with you, and I think that is the same kind of relief we get to offer on a massive worldwide level with these Giving Machines.”

Adassa was in deep need of relief in 2020 when she experienced a severe case of COVID-19 that for a time appeared life threatening. She and her husband, Gabriel, had just moved into a new ward in Nashville, Tennessee, when the illness struck.

“The Relief Society got together, even though I was a new member and barely knew anybody in the ward. They had meals brought to my home and took care of my children. The Relief Society has always been amazing,” she says.

Adassa was baptized as a young adult, and later she and Gabriel were sealed in the Mesa Arizona Temple. They are now the parents of seven children, and their family donated at the Giving Machines last year in Nashville. Adassa hopes that participating again this year continues to teach her children the value of service.

▶ You may also like: An ‘Encanto’ miracle: The faithful sacrifices that brought Adassa her dream

The Salt Lake City Giving Machines before they were unwrapped.

“The Giving Machines and lighting the world in this way shows your children that there are fun ways that we can inspire and help others. … Because sometimes they get caught up in the fads and everything and they lose the ability to inspire; to not just jump on a trend, but to be able to really inspire and change the world in a positive way. And it shows your children that you can do it, regardless, if you have $5 or $20, or even just giving up your time to help others. That [giving] will make such a change in our children and future generations,” she says.

Adassa giving the first donation at the Salt Lake City Giving Machines.

At the downtown event, Adassa made the first donation to the Salt Lake City Giving Machines. Then she performed “Everybody Needs a Change,” from the movie Sing. Later, to the delight of children and fans in the audience, she sang both “We Don’t Talk about Bruno,” and “Waiting on a Miracle,” from Encanto, noting before her final song that donations to the Giving Machines can help those in need who are waiting on a miracle around the world.

“Music has a way of stirring your spirit and really hitting your soul in a way that nothing else possibly can. Even words can't express what a melody can really translate to each spirit. So I really feel that music is a way to inspire others to feel not just the spirit of giving, but feel their own light stir inside themselves and say, ‘You know what, I can go without for just a little bit and be able to use what I have, and help others.’… There is a melody that can inspire us all to give a little bit more,” she says.

Watch video clips of Adassa’s performance below.

“Everybody Needs a Change”

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Adassa singing “Everybody Needs a Change”

“We Dont Talk about Bruno”

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Adassa singing “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Encanto

“Waiting on a Miracle”

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Adassa singing “Waiting on a Miracle” from Encanto

Adassa has seen how giving to others not only blesses them but causes a change in her own heart.

“I know how much of a change it makes in my spirit. [Service] softens my heart and makes me a better person—and that’s what I want to strive to be is better and closer to the Savior. And to be an example to others that you can have a busy life and still make time to make an impact that inspires others to do the same,” she says. “When we start giving from our time and cause a momentum of inspiration, then that will influence the world for good.”

She continued, “I feel honored and humbled that I get to share a little bit of the gift that the Lord has given me with the world and be able to add my little voice to the voices of others who also want to see a change for good.”

The Giving Machines in Salt Lake City are open now in the City Creek mall near the food courts. Last year, the Giving Machines in 10 cities raised nearly $6 million that was distributed to more than 45 charities. This year the machines will be in 20 cities and new mobile machines will visit an additional eight. More than 125 charities will benefit. Find more information here: Giving Machines will be in almost 3 times as many cities this Christmas

▶ You may also like: Actors Paul Rudd and Eric Stonestreet hype up Giving Machines in Kansas City

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