Aja is a bright new talent in the world of pop. Last Friday, the sixteen year-old musical prodigy released her new single, “Who’s Gonna Love You?’ – a real ear worm about the importance of self love and empowerment. We spoke with the rising star on her writing process and musical journey.
Mark Benjamin: I read music has been a part of your life since you were six. What kind of music were you listening to and aspiring to write?
AJA: I grew up listening to a lot of jazz which probably inspired my sound the most. I also listened to a lot of classic rock. My dad is a huge Grateful Dead fan and is constantly playing it in the house and car. I find it incredible that they have never played two shows the same and have probably done thousands of shows. I’ve also grown to appreciate the story telling in their music.
In terms of what I was aspiring to write, that is constantly evolving based on my own experiences. What I write today is completely different from what and how I wrote three years ago when I first started releasing my music.
MB: What is life like growing up in Canada?
AJA: I’ve only lived in Canada. Life is good. I live with both my parents, my older sister, my younger brother, and our dog Georgie. I go to an all girls school in Toronto as a full time student. School is important to me, so I plan to continue my education while being a musician. I’ve become very good at juggling a busy schedule. I like to keep my mind sharp. Going to school and having a normal day-to-day social life gives me real experiences to write about.
MB: Where did the inspiration for “Who’s Gonna Love You?” come from? Why do so many people fall into this trap?
AJA: “Who’s Gonna Love You?” was written about someone who was wrong for me and was kind of an asshole. This experience taught me a lot and I grew from this. I think everyone can relate to being with the wrong person at some stage in their lives. It feels great when you walk away and no longer want that person. It’s empowering.
MB: I love your cover of Harry Styles’ “Adore You” and Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now.” Is there a musical artist that you find yourself always drawn to?
AJA: Thanks! There are a lot of artists I love for various reasons. Harry Styles is a great artist to cover. I love his music. Dua Lipa is also really amazing. Beyonce is a vocal monster! Rhianna I love, stylistically. But I really focus on having my own sound and style.
MB: What’s your songwriting process like?
AJA: I often go into a session with an idea in my head. Maybe it’s something I’m going through at the moment or something that has been weighing on me. I love creating melody lines and experimenting on ways to make the song vocally creative when starting to build a track. Sessions can take anywhere from three to ten hours depending on who I am working with and the quality of the demo. I love the process.
MB: Is there a first album or EP that you’re working on?
AJA: Yes, I am planning on putting together an EP. I will most likely drop another single and a few remixes before I release my EP.