Born in Manchester to Jamaican parents, singer-songwriter Bipolar Sunshine—real name Adio Marchant—is bringing the future into the present. Now based in Los Angeles, the artist is bringing to the forefront vital questions that make us ponder about our own humanity, our freedom, and the placement of technology in our lives. Marchant’s spirit of passion has already seen success, from his collaboration “Middle,” with DJ Snake going platinum to co-writing Grammy-winning “Brown Skin Girl” by Beyonce and WizKid. He’s now on an unstoppable trajectory to share his own sound, one that is grounded in both his parents’ love of 70s soft rock and reggae, and the contextual eclectic subgenres that he grew up with.
In 2007, you co-founded and contributed vocals to the six-piece Kid British. At what point did you discover your passion for music?
The quest for music was always from an early age, my mum played a lot of reggae, Carpenters music in the house and my dad was a drummer, so I always had an inkling for music. It wasn’t until I went to Jamaica when I was really really young and I wrote a poem about some girl that didn’t speak to me (in Jamaica), and I wrote the lyrics and I sang to it. I discovered I could sing it and I didn’t really act on it, I was more into playing football. So, I kind of knew for a while that I could sing but I didn’t act on it.
Amazing. So from there you just discovered your passion and continued to roll with it.
Yeah. I always say if it wasn’t for this girl in my class called Anika who stood up and just started singing The Fugees, like full blast and I actually understood vocal tone. So, I owe it to this girl in my class who was an incredible singer.
Your name “Bipolar Sunshine” comes from the erratic weather in Manchester. Has moving to LA, where the weather is more consistent, impacted on the way you write music?
I think it’s just taken that Bipolar Sunshine ethos to anywhere. In certain places it can give you the offer of sunshine, but really it’s a rainy day—that’s what Manchester really provided me in the sense of the weather, but I think LA flipped that for the sense of what I see. What is seen out here, what is not seen. Having that, living here for a while has definitely impacted the story, and it’s kind of opened up my story to be able to have a UK background, but have a story that is universal having an LA backdrop. So that’s what’s been a very interesting scene for me.
The video for “Too Young” was released earlier this year. With a surreal, distorted vibe, yet uptempo sound there is somewhat of a happy dystopian element to it. Can you speak more on the vision behind this video?
I released a song called “Gone,” which kind of showed this very digital age, very close up, only showing a few parts of me. Then the next video which was… actual objects was more of the Web3 space, just all out graphics, it was incredible. This one was the realism of what I’m seeing, using the machine as the almost organizer and deliverer of time in this sense really spoke volumes to me because we’ve lived in a time and age where our time is always marginalized by another power that we have no control over—that’s what I really wanted to expand on.
The happy medium is that as much as all of this is still going on, we still need to keep moving at the same time. Nothing stands still. That’s what I was trying to say, I was trying to bridge that gap between transhumanism—how does that feel for us going into the new age? Should we have chips inside of our minds that make us go a little bit faster? Will that be a normal thing, in thirty year’s time will we be the people going “oh, back in my day you had to think.” So I’m just asking these really forward questions and hoping that when people do listen to it they see that I’m trying to envision something of the future.
That’s really relevant right now, with the world we’re living in. It’s this dystopian future where we don’t really have time to stop.
We can’t understand the scale because it’s happening so fast. We’ve got no time to understand scale right now, so we’re just creating, putting all these things out there. I don’t know when it will come to the day when we will be like, woah we were kind of moving a bit fast there. We should’ve chilled out. I don’t know if that will happen or if we will just keep going towards Mount Olympus of speed, whereby everything that we consume is so fast-paced that we won’t even think about what is happening. I don’t think people even understand what happened last year, let alone last week.
As much as you don’t want to be consumed by it all, you have to live in the space so you will only be consumed by it all because in order to survive you are within the grid. There’s no coming off the grid.
I wanted it to be more of a conversation, opening up that conversation of “is there an actual way to come off the grid?” I always think about that.
The lyrics for “Too Young” include “we’re too young to die.” What are 3 other things you think you are currently too young to do?
Paragliding, I feel like I’m never going to do that. That’s just never going to happen to me.
Too afraid of heights?
Oh yeah. Just looking at bungee jumping or something like that, I just may as well give myself a heart attack.
Too young to regret. We put so much emphasis on all these things that we’ve done beforehand. Trying to live forward-thinking.
Too young to not speak your mind.
The video has a lot of comments on YouTube from people who are shocked that the video doesn’t have over a million views and say you’re extremely underrated. How does it feel to have that level of support?
It’s incredible. Those people that actually believe I should be somewhere, they’re a ball of energy. I do honestly believe that in time with patience and fortitude that what I’m trying to do this time around with this project that something will strike a chord and once it does those early adopters who were saying I wish you got to this state, that moment will come to fruition, come true.
As an artist who has shared support on social media for NFTs and crypto, how do you think the digital world will affect music moving forward? And is this something you are ready for?
I think it’s opened up a new pipeline. So in the basic terms of music, you have the mastering and then you have the publishing—two sides where most people in the industry make their money from either one of those sides. I think that (NFTs) are just a new pipeline, so it’s either going to be that labels are going to figure out how to formulate that in some part of the deal, because Web3 is moving and is happening. Or independent (artists) will just start to release some of their music within that space.
For music, because it’s been a slow and steady start, it may have more longevity than just the JPEG NFT. I think that it’s opening up what is art within the Web3 space. It’s not whether this is art within the real world.
It’s definitely given artists a lot more independence as well from what I’ve seen, to really connect with their fans on a different level.
Yeah, it enables you to get closer to your fanbase and give them new things and different things that work for them. The connection is amazing. It’s also a pipeline for income as well—many artists in the industry know roughly what streaming numbers are, so it’s just another way that the artist can try and survive really. I’m all for anything that brings the art to the forefront.
What are your thoughts on using AI in music production?
I think that the cherry has already been popped. We’re already in that space. Once you’ve opened it up, it’s going to go wherever it needs to. Do I think it’s going to take away the formalities of making music? I don’t think yet. AI could probably create a full piece of music, AI could create a vocal if it wanted to. I feel like it will take a lot of time before it is fully accepted, but many of the plugins that people use already are almost close to AI-level technology. It’s just now giving it a bit more leeway to formulate the track for you.
A lot of producers and people in the industry are pretty much using that as soon as they open up Logic or any program where there is almost an AI component to it already. I do believe that eventually there will be the first AI that creates an incredible album and it’s only going to exist in the Web3 space. There’s just so many possibilities of what could possibly happen. If you had said ten years ago that someone was going to create a JPEG of a drawn elephant and you’re going to pay $50,000 dollars for it, you would be like nah, no one’s going to do that. It’s not going to happen. Now people are buying apes for $400,000, a million dollars, for a JPEG. It’s mind blowing.
Also, the fact that programs can now create the “perfect song” based on a formula. A hit song based on what people want to hear and want to listen to, and it’s a machine creating a song. I find it so fascinating that we’re so predictable as humans basically.
Our predictability has become because we have allowed ourselves to be boxed. When you start to move in straight edges it’s very easy to start understanding where you’re about to go. Us as humans have become so concerned with boxes. Now we’ve given the AI its life—as soon as you give it its life like hey make a song with all this—it’s so simple. But the thing is feel, will they have feel? We can have all this AI, we can have all the greatest technology in the world, but will it have feel, will it touch your soul, will it make the hairs on your arms and your body move? Will it touch you? If it doesn’t touch you then it’s going to be so bland.
The best songs are the ones made from the soul, and you can’t replicate that because it’s a machine.
You can’t replicate that—yet. When I say yet I mean, man has been trying since the dawn of time to create its own self, so I think people will continue to try to create something, but I don’t think we’re anywhere close to something having a full-on soul. That’s when they hear in a Marvin Gaye record, a Beyonce record, a Bruno Mars record—they just go and sing a line that is just bodacious, just out of this world and they just did it that time and didn’t know they were going to do it, it just came. Those things are the things that I don’t think AI is going to be able to do.
You just mentioned a few artists just then, can you speak on a few more of your influences and the impact they’ve had on your music?
So I’ve gone into The Carpenters, one of my first introductions to music so I was obsessed with a song called “Rainy Days and Mondays.” I would listen from six to seven to eight, I just kind of studied that album relentlessly. I was into reggae music, and when I started to move around I would tap into early garage sounds. Manchester is still very into the house, the dance, the tech, so I didn’t really know hip hop until later down the line. So when I got this new awakening of sound and understanding those rhythms that’s what gets me into dance music, I started to formulate when I used to MC I had to write down a lot of lyrics to get me through the song, as soon as I started to slow it down I realized that I could just formulate those lyrics into easier packages for a song, and from there I was just onto a winner.
Influence-wise, it’s just so deep. I’m talking Prince, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones. In the new realm, I would say The Weekend is a big influence, Drake, Kanye, Jay-Z, the list is relentless. So many incredible producers.
Even some people from Manchester like Stone Roses, The Smiths…I would even class Lana Del Rey as an influence because when I first heard her it made me evaluate my sound, evaluate my tone, and my vocals.
You once wrote on Twitter: “Deciding what you want from life is one of the hardest decisions you have to make.” What would you say you currently want from life?
Peace of mind. A sense of being free with your actions is something that I’m always toying with. It’s like, how free do I think I am? How free am I actually? That sense of once you have something like that everything else will fall into place. Having a sense of freedom in the mind, the body, and the spirit is where I’m at.
Your upcoming album “3034” is expected to be released later this year and explores themes such as human vs machine and the integration of the two. Can you discuss the inspiration behind this concept and what it means for you?
With the rise of AI, with the rise of technology, where do we as humans find ourselves? And if everything is being shared, what are the things that we actually feel we can hold on to? Maybe instead of looking so further out for things, more of us should be looking on the inside for things.