For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, Adam & Kizzie are in this together, ’til death do they part. The endeavor is more than a musical project for either half; it’s quite literally a marriage, a love of song matched only by their love for each other.
Adam and Kizzie Ledbetter have spent their entire wedded lives making sweet, sweet music together, a three-year journey that has taken them from a hellish, post-honeymoon stint as a cover band in India to cultivating support for the soul and R&B duo in their native Oklahoma City.
The marriage and band, the music and romance — it’s all one in the same.
“Music is the perfect metaphor for marriage,” Adam said. “It’s daily work, working together for the common goal. There’s disagreements, there’s learning to pick your battles all while making sure each one of us feels supported in our marriage and on stage.”
“It’s a blessing, most assuredly,” Kizzie said. “This kind of an arrangement is something we both dreamed of having but never really believed we’d be able to have it.”
They aren’t exactly The Odd Couple, but Adam and Kizzie both came from opposite poles of the same hemisphere. Adam was a classically trained jazz pianist and rapper honing his craft in school and cutting his teeth backing a number of notable musicians. Kizzie, meanwhile, grew into her own on stage with a musical theatre background.
It took some time to sync those disparate upbringings and broad loves of Duke Ellington, soul music, Pet Sounds, hip-hop and Celine Dion together in a way that made sense. They’ve since coined the approach as EEDO — a band mantra and motto celebrating the freedom to do, make and say whatever feels right.
“These different styles, they don’t have to meet in the middle. They can meet at any point. It’s a philosophical understanding of what music is and what the thread between all its various forms is,” Adam said. “It’s smack-dab in the middle of the word freedom, and that’s what we were searching for. It wasn’t so much an invention as much as a discovery.”
That liberty was at the core of The Book of EEDO Volume 1, which Adam described as “a study of styles and moods and colors, using genres of music as instruments instead of boundaries between one song and the next.” That remains the case with The Book of EEDO Volume II, the record being celebrated with a Sept. 3 show at Urban Roots in Oklahoma City.
Released nationally through Ropeadope Records, the record finds the pair past the puppy love phase of both romance and musical collaboration, but that makes the end product all that much sweeter in both their minds.
“The love isn’t new. It’s not the same sort of crazy infatuation,” Adam said. “Now it’s more about doing the work to keep the love alive.”
“To keep it, preserve it, to cultivate it — that’s all a part of this,” Kizzie said of Volume II. “It’s not different, but it is, and you feel that in the music. We’re in a new place, but it’s still a part of that same story — there’s just a lot more of us in the music.”