Meet the up-and-coming soulful pop singer Azra! A true triple threat, she is an accomplished business woman, a soulful pop singer/songwriter, and a professional model. Azra recently announced that she’ll be releasing her debut EP Freedom on March 3rd via her label CLÚ Records.
Check out her new single “Shine” on All Things Go now, here: https://goo.gl/In04Jm
Originally from South Korea, Azra’s family moved to California when she was just 9 years old. It was through music that she – a natural-born performer – first began learning English. She spent her childhood honing her passion for music and dance through musical theater, bands, church choirs, and hip hop dance teams. Azra continued singing and dancing throughout college, in addition to starting up her own brand consulting business, CLÚ INC.
After college Azra continued building up her business, and began competing in various modeling competitions around Boston as well. She has since signed to agencies in New York City, Los Angeles, and Boston and appeared in print ads and commercials.
Azra eventually realized that music was a calling she could not escape, and decided to spend 2016 in LA writing and recording her debut EP. Freedom can only be described as a mixture of pop, rock, and dance; it pulls inspiration from Azra’s past struggles with music, self-expression, and love. By sharing her own story, Azra hopes to inspire others to live life for themselves.
Here is the pre-order link: http://smarturl.it/FreedomEP
Learn more about Azra in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So, now that 2016 is over, what are some words you would use to describe the year for you?
Hey All Access! Thank you for having me. 2016…hmm…in short? ‘A Shit Show comprised of the good, the lessons, and breaking free.
What have been some of the highlights for you and your music?
Working and completing my first EP, meeting and getting to work with some amazing people in the industry.
What are you most excited about for 2017?
I’m most excited about my music career, EP release and everything that will follow. I had a great year in 2016 connecting and creating art with some awesome people. This year, I can’t wait to do the same including singing and performing my music.
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?
Oh the resolutions… So every year since high school I have a New Year’s Eve ritual before I go out where I sit down, open and read my resolution letter from last year which was sealed and signed in an envelope (sometimes kissed and/or signed by witnesses! (Laughter) Yes, this is the real deal). Then I write another letter and list resolutions for the upcoming year-effective ‘tomorrow morning’ Jan!! No kidding with serious matters like this! I also have friends that do it if they’re getting ready with me or if they’re in my presence the night of NYE. It’s a fun activity where you get to see where you were last year compared to this year.
So to answer your question, Yes. I did make a New Year’s Resolution. However, this year, I switched it up & made just one: Go with the flow.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
Yes, I remember being at my first concert at 4 years old, where I was sitting in the front row watching a pop performer sing and dance. I loved her performance so much, it made a lasting impression on me. I remember at that moment wanting to be on the other side of the rope, instead, and performing for people one day.
How did you come up with your alias name?
Great question… I actually wanted to name my future first daughter AZRA since forever ago… then one day, as I was writing in the studio, I realized that it wasn’t a daughter I wanted to name AZRA, but actually the little girl inside of me who I have been with all along. AZRA is me at my purest form, loving to sing, dance and express herself. She was always that voice of intuition in me through out my life and I finally chose to embrace and set her free.
Why did you decide to not go by your own name?
There really was no choice. Growing up I’ve always had this feeling and visual of a little girl in my heart. Every time I went through a challenging time, did something that didn’t feel completely aligned with who I am and what I wanted, or did something I absolutely loved and enjoyed, I always felt another part of me speaking out. That was AZRA. Especially when it came to pursuing my passion in singing and music, she aways kept me honest and expressed her discontent when I was going off path. AZRA is in a way a symbol, the truest compass to my greatest passion and purpose.
I’m curious to know if you think that moving from South Korea to California at age 9 has influenced your sound and ultimately, you as a musician?
It definitely influenced me by exposing me to a mixture of styles and perspectives. Growing up in S.Korea, I listened to mostly American ballads, rock and pop and some k-pop, but it wasn’t until after I moved to California that I listened to k-pop more frequent, ironically. So from an artist perspective I most likely subconciously picked and chose different elements from these genres and created my own style. New styles and genres in music always come from the old. Furthermore, I listened, sang, danced and performed to more music when I moved to Cali because that was how I learned English. I passed ESL within the first 6 months of 5th grade all thanks to music (Laughter) and of course my teachers.
In March, you will be releasing your debut EP, “Freedom.” What does that feel like? How long did it take to put this collection together?
Exciting, nervous, and and finally freakin’ liberating! It took about a year.
What was the inspiration behind these songs?
The inspiration behind these songs came from wanting to break free and pursuing my passions after feeling confined by societal expectations and my own vices.
The EP’s first single, “Shine” is incredibly inspirational and motivating. Can you talk about how it came together for you?
I was inspired to write this song after the devastating Orlando shooting incident last year. I wanted the song to be an uplifting and empowering anthem for others to relate to during the good and the challenging times in their lives. I wanted people to feel proud of who they are, to shine, and to always choose light over darkness no matter the circumstance.
What has it been like starting your own label? Do you plan on having other artists on CLU Records?
Awesome. It ignites my “left and right brain” at the same time. In addition to my artist side, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit so making a music label lets me do both.
It’s something to consider in the future. CLU is currently focusing on their top talent.
How did you come up with the name for your label?
It was a product of incorporating my name and playing with words. CLU initially was a marketing/brand consulting company that I created in college but then evolved into an umbrella company which involves book publishing, consulting and now music subsidiaries.
Are you still modeling now? I am. Do you think that modeling has helped you become a better singer and musician?
Absolutely. First, my workout regimen and healthy lifestyle and eating habits for modeling are similar for my singing but singing is more rigorous.
Second, modeling really gave me confidence and taught me the importance of being authentic from inside out and this concept is a huge part of my music. I think by modeling, you really get to observe and experience two different worlds: the world that you see as the model, and the world that people see by watching you model. Music is similar in that it’s all about perspectives: looking at what is on the outside and seeking deeper beauty and meaning within.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? What musicians would you love to work with in the future?
Whitney Houston, Sia, Britney Spears, Drake, Katy Perry, Pink, and Alicia Keys. Oh man, this is hard to answer. There are so many different types of artists I would love to work with in the future and it just depends on chemistry ultimately.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music?
The message behind my music is the same as my dogma: “Follow your passion. Create your own show. The world is your stage, for anything you can Imagine is possible.”
What do you hope people take away from your songs?
Don’t be afraid to be yourself, be proud, enjoy your life, have fun, and be bold.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I hope my music can inspire, empower, and bring joy and fun times to people.