21 year old Ajia is born and bred in south east London by Sierra Leonean parents. Growing up as a kid she sang in choirs and listened to Motown. It quickly became obvious that Ajia had a real talent for songwriting and singing and shortly after she started busking and entering open-mic events around London instead.
In 2016 Ajia was discovered by forward thinking independent label BGM Entertainment, and started working on her debut EP. Ajia music is right on time and she has been compared to newcomers like RAY BLK, Naoand legends such as Erykah Badu and Jill Scott.
The lead track ‘Real Love’ is part of her debut EP ‘Visions’ coming later this year.
”I’ve always given myself two rules in life; that in whatever I do I’m going to make a change whether it’s through my art or music. My other goal is to make people happy.”
We were able to catch up with the soulful and sultry AJIA to dive further into her sound, inspiration and perspective on creativity. Check it out below!
Q: What intrigued you about Motown as a child?
A:What intrigued me about Motown as a child was that it was different to all the music my friends were listening to. Whilst my friends were listening to pop, Hip Hop and R&B from the early 2000s which I also loved. There was something different about Motown Music I just love the groove and the feel of the music it instantly got me moving. This music to me was so chilled and cool and had this swing to it. The moment I would hear a Stevie Wonder song I would instantly be up on my feet. It’s probably why I took up the saxophone at school.
Q: What moment in your life sparked an interest to sing in a choir?
A: I had been in school choirs from when I was in primary school but only really got passionate about singing when I was in secondary school. I went to Catholic school were we only sang church songs for a while but we had an amazing singing teacher who took songs and made them more modern and cool. He made a church song feel like a Beyonce banger.This was the moment I realised how much I loved not just music but singing and started to take it seriously.
Q: How big was it for you when BGM Entertainment discovered you?
A: I finally started to believe in my dream of being a singer/songwriter; I was surrounded by people who believed in me and constantly reminded me of how good I was. They are a massive support system and I couldn’t ask for a better team and I definitely feel at home with BGM Entertainment.
Q: What is the underlying sonic or creative concept for your debut album “Visions”?
A: The Ep visions have 5 songs where I talk about my experiences but also others. It just me telling a story through my point of view. The vibe of this ep is very chilled and the style represents me as a person.
Q: What inspired “Real Love?” Is it a particular relationship that inspired the track?
A:Most people will think that this is a love song about a guy who’s done me wrong but it isn’t. This song is about how I was feeling when I was on the verge of falling out with my best friend. At the time I was feeling like I was only her friend when she needed someone and it was convenient for her and the way she was behaving at the time wasn’t the way I felt a best friend should behave. It was my point of view of how our relationship was at the time.
Q:What has comparisons to people like Erykah Badu & Jill Scott meant for you?
A: It is amazing to be compared to anyone in the industry, but to be compared to people like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott who are legends is crazy. It makes me feel like I’m on the right path and just need to continue to make amazing music.
Q: How do you think the state of R&B music is right now, and how can you help revitalize it?
A: There was a period of time when I would have conversations with my friend about there not being any good music out there. However recently I have felt like now has been the prime time as more good music has been released. Although currently, we are in the generation of social media and technology everyone can put music out so we do get some music that is not so good; some people are just copying each other as they feel its trendy. I do believe there is good music coming out you just need to know where to look.The only advice I would give is that everyone should be themselves as there is only one you and that in itself is original.
Q: How about the state of music from the United Kingdom in general?
A:Growing up I didn’t feel like I had people I could look to for music in the UK as I felt like it was mostly Pop. Now I think that urban music is becoming more popular and there is more inspiration. I feel like urban music in the UK is on the rise.Q: Of all the songs that you’ve covered on your Instagram, which does you feel the most connected to if any? I would say my Cover to Drake one dance as it was the first video I posted after living a girl group and decided to go solo. It was also the first time I decided I was going to get over my fear of singing on my own and was ready to present myself to the world.
Q:For upcoming artists looking to navigate the music industry, what advice would you give them?
A:I would say to any artist, believe in your slay don’t change for anybody, if you truly believe in your style of music, writing or anything that works for you others will soon believe too. I will also say you need to be dedicated and motivated, and patient as things don’t come overnight it takes time. If you know you want to be in this industry no one but you is going to make it happen. Nothing that is worth it is easy and you have to be prepared to go through hard times and work very hard.
Q: What else do you have in store for 2017? (talk about the ep coming out later)
A: After the release of my single “Real Love” on the 27th October, I will have my ep Visions coming out later this year.
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