9am to 9pm with Ada Lea

By Ada Lea

Over the last year, “a day in the life” has never looked so stagnant. What was once routine has become standstill; we’ve lost the little rituals we used to take for granted. To find them again, we have to look at life a little differently. We created our ongoing series 9am to 9pm to get a glimpse into where artists find creative inspiration in their daily lives.

In this edition, we take a look into the daily routine of Canadian artist, Ada Lea. Read the photo diary below to hear singer Alexandra Levy discuss her morning cabin rituals, her homemade baked bread, and her favorite after-lunch hiking spots to enjoy the country air.

i typically wake up anywhere between 5 am and 7, sans alarm and make coffee w my mr. coffee machine. as the coffee brews, i choose some music to put on, turn on the lamps, open the door, dance around, do the thing.

then i set myself up outside and do a little morning writing and play the guitar. this typically lasts about 1 hr to 2 hrs. i write about whatever is on my mind and it helps clear it for the day to come. some mornings, it’s a list of responsibilities for the day, other mornings it’s a project or idea that i am trying to flesh out, and other times it’s just a nonsensical stream of consciousness or big feelings.

i put some lipstick on and spend 30 minutes to 1 hr reading whatever book i am checking out. when i took this photo i was reading a book by jacqueline rose titled “Mothers : An Essay on Love and Cruelty. It was fantastic. these days i’ve been reading “Frantumaglia” by elena ferrante, also great.

then i get set myself up at the kitchen table and begin whatever work beckons. you see my ipad, which i was using to finish up the songbook (that will be released with the upcoming record on vinyl). i had to transcribe the chords of the songs, so that’s why you see the little keyboard on the chair. i try to sit down for a good chunk of time.

after work lunch, around 3 or 4 pm, i pack some things for the mid-afternoon session. some days i go to the beach other days i go to a secret location (this involves trekking in the woods until i reach a beautiful clearing) a bit of trespassing is always good for you. these are the supplies i take with me : a dictionary, a book, a tablecloth and towel, a hat, two kinds of sunscreen, running shoes and a bottle of water.

here is where i end up. i’ve started taking notes as i read. jotting down citations that i find particularly persuasive. this is a fairly new approach, but i think it will stick.

i head “downtown” to pick up supplies. “downtown” includes a grocery store, the post office, a home & hardware store, a pharmacy, and of course, the local bar.

proof that i make bread. not pictured are the variations on the theme: sometimes it’s challah, sometimes it’s olive bread, sometimes it’s a little more defined (in terms of shape and purpose).

this is the visual art area. i was in the process of organizing my materials. seems impossible to keep the workspace clear.

backyard. when im in the city, it’s hard to remember what the view feels like in person. the fresh, country air and the overwhelming feeling of joy it conjures. and when im there, i long for the city! you always want what you dont have.

evening time! the moon is out, the sky is beautiful, i tattooed a bowling pin on my leg when my friend was visiting a few weeks ago. she had a dream she was at a tattoo parlour and the tattoo dude was like “here’s a really cool design that everyone loves” and it was this intricate dragon with scales, smoke coming out of its nostrils. she tells him she’s looking for something a little more “delicate”. he comes back to her with a drawing of a hot wheels car with flames coming out of both sides and a cartoon dog giving a thumbs up out of the window of the driver’s seat, winking. above the car is a halo of bowling pins. when she woke up she ran to draw it out and we kept it as the centrepiece for the rest of her stay. now it’s pinned to my fridge, and we have a matching tattoo above our knee to tell the tale.

view of the cabin.

Listen and order Ada’s Lea’s new album ‘one hand on the steering wheel the other sewing a garden’ out now via Saddle Creek