Take an evening stroll on a downtown Mount Dora sidewalk and you’re bound to hear a sultry siren’s voice that gently lures music lovers into one of the many live music venues in the historic district. Once inside, all eyes are on the young artist projecting the light, yet soulful vocals.
In a short time, free-spirited Christina Adinolfi has connected with a diverse audience and developed a following. She selects covers that range from old-school classic rock standards to more current pop and country. Her song choices often have deeply emotional lyrics that, at first, may seem to lie beyond her age, but she always pulls it off. Along with her vocal talent, Adinolfi’s lightheartedness and humility are also on open display in the intimate venues where she performs.
At 22, the spiritual New York native is understandably still defining her style and genre as an artist. Perhaps that’s because in her short life she’s had extraordinary exposure to music. Adinolfi grew up surrounded by musical influences that she worshipped. Back in the day, her father, Sal, played in the Battle of the Bands in Brooklyn and still plays occasional gigs in South Florida. Her grandfather, Bobby Weinstein, was vice president of BMI Records and a renowned songwriter credited with seven gold records including Linda Ronstadt’s “Hurt So Bad” and Little Anthony and the Imperials “I think I’m Going out of my Head.”
It was Weinstein that gave Adinolfi her first keyboard when she was just three years old. At nine, her parents bought her a piano as part of her nine-year journey into classical piano. Guitar was a much different story. The strong-willed youngster decided after just two lessons that YouTube would be her guitar instructor of choice. It’s no surprise that before attracting local audiences, Adinolfi was a leader in her high school’s choir and was always center stage at family gatherings, according to her mother, Lisa.
After a stint in college, Adinolfi joined Lisa in Mount Dora in 2017 and credits local artists like Stephen Currence, David Oliver Willis, and Suzanne Reynolds, among others, as being generous mentors in her still young musical career.
Mount Dora Buzz recently put Adinolfi in the “Hot Seat” to learn more about what makes this passionate young artist tick.
(Mount Dora Buzz photo)
MD BUZZ: If I twisted your arm, whose voices would you say you’re a combination of? CA: Hmmm. I guess Nora Jones, with the soft, graceful way of moving her voice.
MD BUZZ: What genre of music do you put yourself in? CA: I consider myself an open-minded artist and I’m still kind of venturing to find it.
MD BUZZ: Your dad, Sal, was a big musical influence. Tell me about that. CA: He was always listening to the Beatles, The Eagles, The Who and others. I fell in love with music just watching him. Seeing my dad’s passion really motivates me.
MD BUZZ: What do you think your dad feels when he sees you play? CA: I can tell he’s proud and can see himself in me.
MD BUZZ: Going with the premise, ‘Go big or go home,’ what's your dream performance venue? CA: A big spiritual venue because I believe I was given a gift and I want to be able to glorify the Big Guy upstairs.
MD BUZZ: How do you pick your cover songs? CA: To me, it’s all about the lyrics and the moral message behind the song, or sharing an emotional connection.
MD BUZZ: It’s no secret, I would love to see you on The Voice. What will it take to get you to audition? CA: I’m continuing to work on my voice. Fame and having recognition is great, but I feel I’m still learning things in my own life. I want to be mentally and artistically prepared for the experience. It’s something I would love to do, so we’ll see.
MD BUZZ: Musically, where do you see yourself in 5 years? CA: Venturing off into Orlando and maybe getting bigger opportunities on The Voice. I would love to travel the world playing music.
MD BUZZ: If you could be mentored by any artist past or present, who would it be: CA: John Lennon because of his lyrics and Carrie Underwood because of our shared spirituality and how we connect songs and people.
MD BUZZ: Last time you celebrated? CA: My birthday, two days ago.
MD BUZZ: What was your last “Aha!” moment when something clicked inside you? CA: Yesterday. (laughs) Everyone goes through ups and down and I was asking “What am I doing in my life?” I happened to be at a spiritual low point and a woman requested I sing “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. Before I sang I said a little prayer and during the song, two women in front started crying as I sang, really crying. It was a reminder that He gave me a gift to connect with people and I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
MD BUZZ: : Who is your celebrity crush? CA: John Mayer. (laughs)
MD BUZZ: What person do you miss most? CA: My best friend Kelly, in Boca Raton. We’ve been friends our whole lives and she’s been with me for everything.
MD BUZZ: If you could have a dinner party with two performers who would they be? CA: Carrie Underwood would have to be one of them. And Michael Jackson.
MD BUZZ: In your short life, what’s your greatest personal achievement so far? CA:(Thinks for a moment) Working with kids as a senior counselor at a Christian Camp. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
MD BUZZ: What’s the biggest misperception about you? CA: I come off as a very happy person and free-spirited, but everyone has their inner conflicts. As a performer you have to smile on stage, but I’m also a person and go through things just like everyone else.
MD BUZZ: What’s your biggest personal shortcoming? CA: Sometimes, motivation.(laughs)
(Mount Dora Buzz photo)
MD BUZZ: You were raised by an amazing cook, Lisa. What’s your favorite home-cooked meal of hers? CA: Spaghetti pie. So good, oh my gosh! You gotta try it!
MD BUZZ: Tell me your favorite thing in your closet? CA: My vintage dress. No, I want to change that, my cowgirl boots!
MD BUZZ: What’s your favorite trait in people? CA: Compassion and love.
MD BUZZ: Give me three words to describe yourself. CA: Clumsy (laughs) , free-spirited and passionate.
MD BUZZ: What's something most people don't know about you? CA: Actually, I was adopted as a baby. I thinks it’s something unique about me.
MD BUZZ: How does that affect you? CA: I definitely think there is no such thing as coincidence. I feel I was brought to my parents. People ask if I’m curious about my birth parents, but personally, I’m just thankful my birth mother considered me and was so brave and generous. I know the decisions we make can make a big difference and I’m thankful for her. I thank God every day.
After our fun sit-down, The Buzz put Adinolfi through a quick round of “Would you Rather?” Here’s how she did:
Elvis or McCartney? McCartney. Woodstock or Coachella? Coachella. Surfboard or beach chair? Surfboard. Ballet or football? Football. (laughs) Nashville or New York? Oh, golly. New York. Treehouse or cabana? Treehouse. LA or London? Let’s go to LA. Skyline or mountain peak? Skyline. Rollercoaster or golf cart?Rollercoaster. Rats or snakes? Rats! Tequila shot or martini? Tequila shot. (laughs) Neat freak or leave a trail? (laughs) Leave a trail. Diamonds or plane ticket? Diamonds. Voice or Idol?Voice. Nordstrom or Goodwill? Goodwill. Burger or salad? Burger. (sigh) People or dogs? Dogs.
You can listen to Christina Adinolfi play at various venues in Mount Dora, Tavares and Eustis included in the Local Live Music Guide.