Dear 16-Year-Old Me: Singer and Songwriter UNQ

"School is for learning and life is for enjoying so always strike a balance"

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In our regular slot ‘Dear 16-year-old Me’, we chat to some of our favourite people of note about what they’d say to their teenage self.

They get open and honest about what their teens were like and share the advice they’d give for the future

This week we’re chatting to Simone Adinga, AKA UNQ. We caught up with her ahead of her Body & Soul performance later this month. The Dublin-based artist says she grew up on ‘90s R&B soul and jazz’ and is sharing with us what life was like for her at 16-years-old.

“Dear Simone,

As a teen you were Bubbly but chilled, forever laughing and always dancing at the sound of any beat or singing.

The best part of being a teen was just being at liberty to be a kid and not worry about anything major or have any responsibilities. My only worry was about getting up in the morning to be on time for school. I thought that was difficult lol, now I would do anything to be that carefree.

The hardest part of being a teen was I think the hardest part of being a teen probably was trying to find yourself. Trying to be original but really and truly we were all impressionable to a degree. Trying to navigate this place where we’re not quite kids anymore but we’re not adults either but trying to be more mature than needs be. When you get older I feel like we’re more accepting of our individuality.


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School for you was all about vibes! Talent shows, choir practice, and the canteen were my fave places to be!

When you grow up it will be easier to discern what is and isn’t for you. What you genuinely like and dislike without the influence of others. Despite people having their opinions, you’ll have a sense of security and assurance that external opinions won’t have as much of an effect on you. No situation is permanent, Life does get easier in some ways!

What has changed since then I’m definitely more self-aware, my experiences growing up have led me to grow into the woman I am right now.


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What hasn’t changed since then I’m still as baby-faced (a blessing and a curse lol). I’m definitely still as energetic and despite being more vigilant, I still have a sanguine disposition

I wish you knew at 16 that not passing exams isn’t the end of the world. If you don’t do as well as you may have wished, that doesn’t automatically equate to you being a failure or makes you inadequate. Put your head down and do the work. School is for learning and life is for enjoying so always strike a balance.

My biggest piece of advice for my teen self would be to stay true to yourself despite the challenges faced in life. Displeasing things may occur but don’t ever let that change your core character traits. Always exude love and extend care to those around you, and lastly, keep striving even if it’s a slow process you will still see light at the end of the tunnel.