We’ve got a new obsession and like the good friends that we are, we wanted to share it with you guys too. OURAA (pronounced aura) is an R&B singer-songwriter coming out of South London with one of the most beautiful voices we’ve heard in a long time. If there’s one thing you can expect from her tracks, it’s vocals on vocals. Her rich tone and emotional lyrics have totally enchanted us and we need to get you up to speed so you’re not missing out on OURAA’s life-affirming tracks.
Luckily we got to chat with OURAA ourselves. From learning the importance of family and community in her life, to discussing mental health and her inspirations, we’ve got the low-down for you. To learn more about OURAA and why she might be one of the most authentic artists in the game right now, keep reading!
‘Just Breathe’ has a different sound than your fans might anticipate, and speaking about topics like mental health can be difficult with an audience. We found it really inspirational and brave of you to put out a track that feels so vulnerable yet empowering. What inspired you and TEE to put this out now?
I am in a season of emotional release in many ways. And I feel like I’ve been holding in a lot of feelings from the experiences I’ve been through and my body and spirit told me it was time.
Speaking of mental health, you’ve spoken about struggling with ADHD and dyslexia. A lot of artists struggle with similar challenges, as I’m sure a lot of our readers do, but how has this impacted your artistry in a positive or negative way, and how do you deal with it?
I have unorthodox ways of creating music which I found through communication with other artists which isn’t quite the norm. I create music to no backing track or sounds and I love it. My best work always comes from when I write to silence. Negatively, sometimes my way of communication can be misconstrued because I seem so direct. But because I don’t always address what my diversities are immediately, I can come across as “rude.”
We also adore the music video, it was so creative to involve other creatives. Why was it important to you to have them involved in both the video and the ‘Just Breathe Confessions’ series?
Because like myself, a lot of creatives appear as extroverts but are normally the opposite and are fighting a lot of things privately. I wanted to give them the platform to express that without being judged and just be seen and comforted.
The voicemail clip in the song has got us feeling emotional! What does family and community mean to you and how has it shaped your journey as an artist?
When I think of family, I think of unity and a togetherness that you can only find through blood. I’ve always had support from my family since I was younger even though this career path isn’t a traditional pathway in my culture. My mum’s always supported what I wanted to do and that has helped me feel so secure in working and staying focused to get to this point. She’d always encourage me to never give up on my dreams. I had to have [her] involved with this special release. In South East London where I grew up, we lived in a very community based area. All the kids play at the same park together and we go to the same churches, the barber knows who you are, and you never felt unsafe because the community was on lock. You’d always have someone watching over you. So I felt protected growing up in an area that can be viewed as a hazard.
We loved your Live Session series on YouTube, there’s something so powerful about your vocal and the raw instrumentals. Can we expect a ‘Just Breathe’ live session to follow?
Bless you thank you! And yes you can.
Your sound is reminiscent of a variety of genres, where would you say you draw your biggest inspirations from?
Robert Glasper – I feel like with his music, there was a lot going on at the same time which is always how I felt in my brain, and I felt so connected to all the noises and sounds. It felt as though spirit was telling me I can’t stay in one place with my own sound. Tye Tribbett has always communicated his art within the contemporary gospel scene by incorporating so many different sounds in one message and that spoke to me growing up. Jill Scott’s tone and singers like her made me feel more confident within my own voice. You can create meaning in a song with your heart as well as your vocal talents.
We think you can learn a lot about people from their favorite songs. What’s one song on your current hits playlist and one song you feel really connected to?
‘On my Mama’ – Victoria Monet is a TUNE (I’m tryna learn the dance routine at the moment) and ‘Don’t Let go’ – PJ Morton. I always cry to this song.
You’ve had some amazing collaborations like ‘Do It Right’ with Girlhood or ‘No Time’ with Ben Alexander (and your new single of course!) How do you choose who to collab with and what feels right for you?
I am big on energy, so I will know if I wanna collab with you. The end.
We love to uplift artists and there’s some really great artists coming up in the London scene right now, is there anyone you think we should have on our radar?
Hamzaa – a lot of her music is very uplifting and I feel like we align energy wise. TEE – I love the tone of his voice and his values. We work so well together and collaborate on a lot of things. He knows how to tell a story and I understand those stories too. Okeam Briscoe – he’s such a kind spirit. His R&B music is literally hot sauce on a plate. I want everything he touches to be a success.
‘Just Breathe’ has been your first release of 2023, can we look forward to any new drops in the near future?
Yes! You can. Spooky season is approaching so be on the lookout for a treat!
If you’re lucky enough to be in London, OURAA will be performing her first full live band set with Sofar Sounds on October 4th! We’re sure she’ll be playing ‘Just Breathe’ as well as some of her other incredible singles so make sure you don’t miss out and grab a ticket here!
Do you feel as comforted and uplifted by ‘Just Breathe’ as we do or have you got another favorite OURAA track? Either way, let us know in the comments below or Tweet us @TheHoneyPop! You can also find us on Instagram, and Facebook to stay up to date with all the latest pop culture news!