Class at 3, recording studio at 4? That may seem beyond the capabilities of a normal sixteen-year-old, but not for AJA. Somehow, this Canadian singer-songwriter is balancing a normal teenage life while also churning out some serious bops. Dropping her latest single “Who’s Gonna Love You” today with Pressa, the newcomer takes us through an emotional pop ballad with explosive choruses, power vocals and lyricism beyond her years. “I love the vibe that Pressa has brought to Who’s Gonna Love You?” AJA says as she opens up on Pressa feature, ” I’ve been a big fan of his music for a while now and it’s been great to collaborate with another artist from Toronto.”
According to AJA, she is living a double life. She’s a 16-year-old student and a singer-songwriter with multiple musical influences. Then there’s her Mom, who AJA credits as her stylist. More than anything, she wants to hear from you. Don’t be surprised if she DMs you back – staying connected with her fans is AJA’s passion.
AJA sat down with Rollacoaster to discuss her new music, inspirations and ‘borrowing’ from her mom’s closet. The double-life she leads is the root of the authenticity so apparent in her music, making her a young artist to definitely keep an eye on.
Check out the interview below…
How has quarantine been for you?
Quarantine has definitely been interesting. I did not like being home all the time. But, I did have a lot of time to get more into writing and spend more time on social media talking to my fans, so that’s been very good. I’ve been writing a lot and working on new music, too. But, I miss doing my live shows and being able to speak to people in the crowd and performing on stage.
Has it affected your writing at all or what you’re writing about?
I’m definitely writing about all the stuff that’s going on in the world. I think that things are kind of crazy right now with Black Lives Matter and COVID and the election that’s happening. I think there’s a lot of drama. I write about things I feel empowered by. But, all of my writing sessions have been on Zoom, so it kind of changes my writing setup, which is weird.
Who do you look up to as a singer-songwriter?
Every time I listen to a song and I hear something that I really like, I always take a little bit of it and I make it into my own version. But, there are four artists I will always feel that I’ve grown up with, and I want to be like them – for justifiable reasons. There’s Beyoncé and Ariana Grande. Their voices are so strong and powerful. I like how high they can go; their “voice-ringing” engines. So, I always want to push myself and make sure that I make myself that strong. And then for my “stylistic”, nice word, I really like to listen to Jessie Reyez and Rihanna. Their music is like a fine minute. You can always tell if it’s them singing. And I’ve heard that about me, too, that people can tell when it’s me singing, which I think is really cool.
How do you think your age, at just 16, influences your songwriting?
There are definitely different experiences that I’d be writing about if I were 20 or older. But, I think the only difference, really, is that I wouldn’t be using some of the words that I’d be using when I was older – talking about sexual stuff with certain swear words. I mean, I’ve expanded recently a little bit, if you’ve heard my song “Nerve”, for example. Besides that, I wouldn’t push it more, because I am only 16.
What do you think is distinct about your generation in the way you see the world? Is that reflected in your music?
I find that our generation is a lot more open-minded with new things than my Dad and my grandfather. I feel like we’re okay with whatever identity somebody wants to have or however they want to show themselves, which is different than older generations. I don’t necessarily write about that stuff, because I write more about my personal experiences. I always try to leave some space for my listeners, because it’s my music but they can connect with it however they want.
Is it important for your music, like your new single “Who’s Gonna Love You”, to be relatable for audiences?
I think I naturally write about relatable stuff, mainly because I have a double-sided life. I still go to school. I still do the normal teenager kind of things. I just also have this other side. And, I think that because I have those two sides, people can find my music more relatable. Because it’s like everybody else’s lives. I’m going through the same things that other teenagers are going through.
How have you been connecting with fans, without being able to hold live events?
I’ve just been making sure that I’m always DM-ing people and asking them how they’re doing. I’ve gone through almost all of my comments. I think I’ve been able to get closer with fans from across the world, and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity under other circumstances.
You’re a pretty fashionable lady. Where do you get your style inspiration?
It’s not all me. My mom has a pretty good fashion sense. She doesn’t dress young for her age but she is always trendy. We agree on most clothing choices and have been sharing a lot of stuff with each other. She has some very nice clothing that I like to take pictures in. She’s basically my stylist.
What do you hope to do next?
We have a lot of music that’s coming out and a bunch of feature songs and more lined up after that. My goal for next year, beyond music, is to continue the work I’ve been doing on my social media, making sure I keep reaching out, and that I keep writing. Hopefully, I can start touring and travelling again. Until then, I just want to keep going and seeing and doing as much as I possibly can.