Ready to fall in love with a new rising pop artist? Allow us to introduce you to AJA! AJA’s newest track, ‘Love At First Song,’ is available now and we have to say, as people that have made music such a huge part of our lives, we couldn’t love the message of ’Love At First Song’ more.
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We were lucky enough to get to chat with AJA about everything from the massive success of her song ‘Red Button’ to the music scene in her hometown of Toronto! We hope you love reading our conversation with AJA as much as we loved having it!
Listen to ‘Love At First Song’ here!
Being seventeen in an industry as vast as the music industry we’re sure can feel quite overwhelming. What is some advice you’d give to artists your age starting out?
The music industry can be very overwhelming. I think it’s important to not get too caught up in numbers and what other artists are doing. Just focus on your own journey and growth. Regardless of age, putting yourself out there can always be intimidating. Not everyone will love you and your friends may make fun of you. Mostly because of their own insecurities, but you definitely need a thick skin. Best advice I could give is, just put yourself and your music out there and build 1 fan at a time. And most importantly, be yourself. No one is looking for the next Billie Eilish or Olivia Rodrigo, they want to discover someone new and authentic. If it’s not real, it most likely won’t resonate.
Toronto has given us some of the greatest artists of all time. What can you tell us about growing up in the city and how it impacts you creatively?
As a young artist from Toronto, I’ve been so lucky to have performed with and collaborated with some amazing Canadian talent. I have always looked up to our local talent and have followed their journeys closely. Definitely feel proud seeing other Canadian artists succeed.
‘Love At First Song’ is essentially your love letter to music. Is there a certain song or artist you had in mind while writing this track?
For me, ‘Love at First Song’ was really just about my love of music and that being the 1 consistent thing in my life and journey as a musician. I went into the studio and said “I don’t feel like writing a song about some boy that is pissing me off or a nasty girl in my grade. I just want to write about something that makes me feel good.” I feel like my last few tracks and many of my upcoming releases are going to feel like I’ve released my diary. My songwriting is essentially my diary.
‘Red Button’ was a huge moment for you! What was it like seeing the reaction to that track?
It was great! I loved writing that song. At that point in my career, it was the first song that really felt like me. The vibe, the sound, all of it. It felt different from my other releases. It was really cool to see everyone’s reaction. Releases are a bit of a weird thing. That song had been finished almost a year before I released it. I felt like I was holding it close to me like a golden ticket. I knew it was special.
Lockdown took a toll on all of us. How did you find your creative process changed during such an unusual change to our lives?
Lockdown was hard. It was tough being isolated. I had to find new ways to share my music and connect with my fans. Live performance is and was such a huge thing for me. I feel like I’m way better at connecting to people in person than online. I did live streams often to keep connected, but truth is, I find them a bit awkward. I also had several Zoom writing sessions. I wrote tons of songs over Zoom without meeting writers and producers in person. ‘Red Button’ was written over Zoom.
Gaining the title of ‘iHeartRadio Future Star’ is huge! Walk us through how it felt when you found out you had snagged the title!
I was in school (online) from my bed and my mom came in my room during my class to tell me. I was so excited, I wasn’t really sure what that meant other than my team telling me it was amazing. iHeart has been so supportive. I’m so grateful they chose me and my song ‘Red Button.’
‘Love At First Song’ was written with Jimmy McGorman and Will Champlin. Tell us about those writing sessions – what have you learned from Will and Jimmy as a songwriter yourself?
Jimmy and Will are both brilliant in sessions. We all work really well together and are able to accomplish so much in a short period of time. We just click. I feel like Jimmy, who used to be Avril Lavigne’s MD, kind of has taken me under his wing. He has been a huge part of my growth as a songwriter and an amazing advocate for me and my talent. We just connect really well personally and professionally. He is an amazing human! Will is a bit of a savant when it comes to songwriting. I love working with him. We create some of my best songs.
With the world slowly reaching a point of normalcy in regards to the pandemic, that means touring is back on! Do you have any plans to hit the road?
I really hope to soon. Just waiting for the right time and have been strategizing upcoming releases and possibly an EP.
As an artist who writes as well as sings, that adds a whole other layer of attachment to your music because it’s what you spilled out into lyrics. Do you think that creates a stronger bond between artists and fans?
I think so. I think when you write your own songs, your connection can be deeper to the music and fans can really feel that. However, a great artist can turn a song someone else wrote into their own. I’ve learned from a young age, doing covers, the most important thing to do is to make it your own.
What can we expect next for AJA? What does the rest of 2022 look like for you?
I would really love to release either an EP or a mixtape of songs that showcase my high school experience. It has been hard. High school can be very difficult for people. Most people doing what I do are often homeschooled. I can understand why. Some of my lowest moments have been over the last few years. For me to be able to share this with anyone else who might be struggling, and make them feel something other than pain, would be incredible. I’m almost done with high school and have gone to an all-girls school most of my life. If I could handle that, I can handle anything. I’m really excited to be going off to university. I have always juggled my school and music. I can’t wait for what’s to come. Living on my own is going to be crazy.
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