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Disney star Adassa helps open Giving Machines with her music and personal story

By Genelle Pugmire - | Nov 22, 2022

Courtesy Adassa

Singer Adassa poses with her husband, Gabriel Candiani, and their children in this undated photo.

On Tuesday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints annual Light the World initiative started its rollout of more than 28 Giving Machines worldwide beginning in Salt Lake City and Orem.

Among the guests to celebrate the start of the giving season were Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and other leaders from the church and across Utah. All eyes and ears though, were on Adassa, the 42-year-old singer who recently voiced Delores Madrigal in Disney’s “Encanto.”

Adassa helped share the church’s message — that the Giving Machines help those in need through donations of items from goats to medicine and from food to soccer balls. The donation machines are there to light the world through love and giving, according to the church.

“To do this in Salt Lake City means so much to me,” Adassa told the Daily Herald. “I lived here for a while and it’s like coming home.”

The Giving Machines are a beautiful thing, she said. “We can give a little of who we are and with a little of what we have to share and we can light the world together.”

Courtesy Adassa

Disney star Adassa, voice of Delores in the film "Encanto" is shown in this undated photo.

As a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Adassa proudly shares the opportunities she has had to share her light and talents throughout the world.

Learning about love, light and giving came in an unexpected way for Adassa, now a mother of seven children. Six are her biological children with one more from her husband, Gabriel Candiani’s, first marriage. She said family is everything.

Just one day after Adassa got her call back for Delores, she fell extremely ill. She had COVID in January 2020 and then again in March. The effects were devastating, and made it so she couldn’t stand, move and could barely speak. Her husband had to carry her from the bathroom to her bed.

Adassa ended up in the hospital just three weeks before recording for “Encanto.” Her faith and desire wouldn’t let her give up on her dream.

“COVID changed everything for me,” Adassa said.

Courtesy Intellectual Reserve

The Giving Machines are now open at City Creek in Salt Lake City and University Place in Orem.

She started pondering her life, examining what she was doing. You start thinking about your values, what love means, she explained.

“It’s okay to be happy and sad,” Adassa added. “I just wanted to hold my kids.”

Adassa was born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and was raised in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and Houston. Both of her parents are from Colombia while her grandfather, and several generations back, are Africans who lived in Colombia. She says she is 100% American and 100% Latino.

Her parents didn’t have a lot of money, but Adassa had a dream. She wanted to sing. She even took the GED rather than wait graduate from high school and then went to college in Tennessee and continued to pursue her music career.

“When I heard Ariel from ‘The Little Mermaid’ sing she wanted to be ‘part of that world,'” Adassa said. “I wanted to be part of that world, but I thought the dream was over.”

But in reality, the dream was just getting started.

Adassa’s dynamic four-octave vocal range and artistry have resulted in her appearing on songs with Pitbull, Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg, Daddy Yankee, Ciara, Missy Elliott and Luis Fonsi, among others. She has performed in concert halls from New York City to the Hollywood Bowl.

Adassa’s debut as Delores brought her into the world of acting for the first time, and is giving her new opportunities and projects.

After working back from illness and turning down numerous opportunities so she can live her faith, Adassa wants to make a difference in the world.

With the love of her husband and children, the Gospel testimony and opportunities to share them, Adassa feels blessed — that she is doing the right things, for the right reasons.

“It feels surreal. I can share a movie that keeps going. Our daughter was one of the children in it,” Adassa said. “It gives a sense of joy to share.”

Just like the Giving Machines and the Light the World Initiative, Adassa seeks to share her light, talents and heart in a world that can be, too often, dark.

At the 7 p.m. Orem opening of the Giving Machines at University Place on Tuesday, the Truman Brothers shared their talents with guests as they unveiled the Giving Machines, which will be there until Dec. 31.

Ben and Chad Truman, brothers from Nashville, formed their group in 2005 while attending Brigham Young University.

Since 2017, Giving Machines have raised $15 million for humanitarian organizations in local communities and across the world.

More information about the Light The World initiative, Giving Machines and what can be done to “light the world this Christmas season” can be found at http://LightTheWorld.org.

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