Adassa and Gabriel’s lives changed forever when Adassa played Dolores in Disney’s hit movie Encanto.
Before the movie, Adassa had been a stay-at-home mom to their seven kids, occasionally creating music with her music-producer husband Gabriel, but really only for date-night fun. Adassa had left her blossoming musical career years ten earlier because she wanted her lifestyle to be more focused on Christ and her growing family. But she never abandoned her dreams of doing music professionally, trusting that putting God first would lead her to the best destinations.
And now, thanks to a Disney casting director coming across she and Gabriel’s music on YouTube, Adassa was living her singing dream—and she wanted to keep riding the wave of opportunities brought by Encanto. So while fans of the movie fell in love with her voice in “We Don’t Talk about Bruno,” Adassa and Gabriel were busy in their home studio creating an album of original music. An album they eventually completed and recorded three music videos for. An album multiple recording labels were interested in.
But then something in Adassa’s heart shifted. She agreed to do an interview with LDS Living magazine, and for the first time she opened up about her faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We weren’t even thinking of going the Christian route,” Adassa says of their new album. “But when that article came out, and I saw my story tangibly before me, I was like, ‘I need to be able to testify of the goodness of God.’ The article released within me my faith to another level. That article is when everything turned.”
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Gabriel and Adassa prayed for guidance and then made their decision—they were going to scrap the album they’d made and create a Christian music record instead.
“We didn’t know what we were going to do with it, but this album was what we felt called to do,” she says. So early in the morning or late at night, whenever they could spare a free moment, the couple worked on their new music, with help from producer Chris Meek.
“Gabriel and I are digging deep into our feelings [with this music]. … We [felt] we needed to say, We believe in Jesus Christ. We believe in Him being the Son of God, and we believe that He is our Savior. And so we made a point out of it in this album to show that we love Jesus, and we love God. And this is what we believe in and stand for,” Adassa says.
As the album neared completion, Adassa and Gabe still need a label to take their music; the recording labels they had been working with previously were no longer interested. So they reached out to Deseret Book. Adassa sang a few of the songs they were working on. Deseret Book liked what they heard, but they told her that if she wanted the album to come out in 2023, they would need the full, completed album in just two weeks.
Adassa and Gabriel buckled down, and two weeks later, the album the couple had felt called to make was done: In Jesus We Are One features six original songs expressing their love for Christ in a style Adassa calls “southern rock.”
“I want to take the Savior’s hands and I want I go through the path that is maybe steep and sharp, but I'm willing to go because He has already shown me that I can endure all things. And so that's what we're bringing in this [album], and I’m so excited to share with the world,” she says.
And while Adassa is excited about the new album, it is not the only opportunity she’s seized to share her love for Christ. Earlier this year she traveled to Mexico with The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square to perform as a guest artist. Amid all the opportunities Adassa has had since Encanto’s release, singing with the Choir was beyond her wildest dreams.
“This was on the top of my bucket-list. It was dream come true. When my husband I were making our album, we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if one day we could maybe sing with the Choir?’ And weeks later we were talking with Mack [Wilberg] and Ryan [Murphy]—pinch me! I am in heaven. This was something I never thought would happen,” Adassa says. She sang “La Vide Es Un Carnaval” (or “Life is a Party”) and “Dos Oruguitas (or “Two Caterpillars”) from Encanto.
After their shows in Mexico City, they also put on two nights at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.
“To be in a room that I’ve never stepped foot in and have only seen with my children at home on TV every general conference, … was one of the most tender and most spectacular moments I will ever have in my life,” she says. “I’ve done songs with the greatest in the industry, but the spiritual nature [of Choir members’] talents is so tangibly beautiful. Like I can't explain it, but it like you're holding diamonds in your ears.”
The shows were also very special for Adassa for another reason: she and The Choir often sang in Spanish, the language she and Gabriel grew up speaking. Adassa’s was born in the US and spoke Spanish at home with her Columbian parents, and Gabriel was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico.
“Hearing [the] whole Choir singing in the language in which I was born into, and spreading this message of hope through trials, was amazing,” she says.
Adassa’s most treasured role in life is that of mother to her and Gabe’s seven children, five of which still live at home. When she isn’t performing in big amphitheaters in Mexico with the Choir, or hosting Disney’s 100th anniversary celebration at the Hollywood Bowl, she is at home in Nashville, Tennessee: baking bread or making pasta, shuttling kids around town, and planning Come, Follow Me lessons.
“These past few years have shown me that no matter where we think we're headed, if we put ourselves in God’s hands, He will take us to the place that we need to be. And if we have an open heart, we'll be able to experience the most amount of joy, love, and increase of faith than we [could] have ever imagined,” she says.
“Our lives have changed. I don't know what else He has in store, but I know for sure, I will walk on water because He says I can. And that's what we wrote on a lyric that we have that we have on the album—'I will walk on water because you say I can.’ I know that we need to trust more and doubt less. Now, is that something that I'm perfect at every day? Nope! I But I know that regardless of what comes, if I love it, and if I have an open heart, He will guide me and lead me to the experiences that I need to keep growing and become the person that I can be.”
She recounts recently hearing her mom and dad sing those childhood hymns: "Visiting our home, I could hear them through the bedroom door." She knocked and asked if she could join them. This experience was a moment of realization and inspiration. As she shares, although we each have a unique relationship with Christ, our differences shouldn't divide us. It's His name that we praise, and in Him we are one. This is the inspiration for ADASSA's debut faith-based EP. Available at Deseret Book and deseretbook.com.