An Interview With ‘Substance Pop’ Singer AZRA On Her Brand New Music and What the Future Holds for Her!
AZRA calls her music “Substance Pop,” which refers to meaningful, empowering lyrics with melodies you can sing and dance to. She’s had quite a bit of success on her own, and her social media #s of engaged fans are super high. Her background story is compelling, and she’s achieved success in many areas aside from music, including writing a book, marketing for a Big 4, motivational speaking, hip hop dancing, musical theater, and international runway, print and ad modeling.
Learn more about AZRA in the following All Access interview:
What does a typical day look like for you? What do you have scheduled the rest of today and this week?
There’s never a day that is the same as before. My typical day consists of meetings, singing rehearsal, vocal lessons, writing sessions, responding to fans, yoga, drinking teas, hot water and smoothies, and playing with my four legged son Blueberry. For the rest of today, I have meetings, and a planning session for creating my next ‘somethin’ somethin…’ I just got back from Italy, so I’ll have a good one hour of yoga, singing, sharing my Italy trip with my fans and resting! For this week, I’ll be singing, writing, and having fun.
Now that we are more than half-way through the year, how has 2019 been treating you? What are some goals that you have had for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them or did you already? What are you already excited about for 2020?
2019 has been fantastic thus far. My single “Dimension” reached #1 on the digital radio airplay charts for 2 consecutive weeks, I had a goal to perform 2-3 times a month from January – May which I did, I released more music and videos, visited Italy, and connected with as many fans as possible. I want to also plan a tour, get more balanced with my personal and professional life, and have a chance to meet and work with some incredibly talented people. I’m pretty grateful for this year, but have so much more to go! 2020? Wow, many more goals to come next year but can’t name them because I’m too stoked for the rest of this year!
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be in this industry? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Extremely important. Music made my heart beat, soul sing and set my imagination free. I started singing/performing/dancing/acting since I was 4, and I wanted to be a singer since the day I attended my first concert at age 6 years old. In terms of knowing when I wanted to be in this industry? After years of doing open mics, writing music, singing, performing, dancing, I started working on my first EP in 2016 and released it in 2017… Doing music professionally was an easy choice and a calling with series of experiences and opportunities that led me to it.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
Nope. If I weren’t a musician today, I’d probably just focus on building businesses which I’ve been doing for all of my professional life. But nope, I wouldn’t be as fulfilled in life doing that and not creating and sharing my music.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all? What has been the best part about it all?
The biggest surprise in my music career… Everything lol. I seriously learn something new every day and have epiphanies, revelations, ‘wow’ and ‘wtf’ moments all the time. An unexpected or welcome challenge to it all is the amount of mind strength you need as an artist every day and no matter where you are in your career. The best part of it all is the same thing – understanding that as the strength.
Let’s talk about your newest single “Skyline.” What was the inspiration for this track? How would you say that it compares to anything else that you have released?
My inspiration behind Skyline stemmed from a struggle of my personal matters not really being perfect and great as they seemed in my life. However, I eventually realized that those struggles are beautiful and that’s what gives my life substance. Skyline reveals the reality beneath what meets the eye and its beauty. It’s about accepting and appreciating the chaos and the noise underneath what may seem so perfect and beautiful on the outside.
What was it like making the music video for “Skyline”? How creatively involved with the overall process were you?
Making the music video for “Skyline” was a fun and unique experience. I worked with a diverse group of talented and professional production team from Russia and the States. Despite some language barriers, seeing how all of us synergized with “Skyline” and the concept and vision was pretty magical and exciting. I was involved in every step of the creative process with my director as I am with all my works.
When do you plan on putting out new music and a full collection of new songs?
I plan to release more music in a couple of months and it will be different that any music I’ve released so far. You can be on the lookout through my IG @theazraofficial. Next year I’ll release a collection of new songs!
What do you think of women’s representation in the music industry right now? Who or what do you think is truly changing the environment these days?
I think we can always have more women in music. The great thing about the industry right now is that more women are being vocal about standing up for themselves, being proud of who we are and what we are born with instead of hiding behind filters and doors. We’re lifting each other up and cheering each other on.
Where can people see you perform next? Do you have any fall tour dates scheduled yet?
I am ethnically Korean so I’m proud to be performing at the Korean American Festival in LA on 9/27 around 8pm. Come catch me there and say hi! In addition, I’m currently in the process of organizing a tour.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
Looking back at myself when I first started this journey as a professional singer/musician, I can’t help but to think how much I’ve changed, learned and grown since then. I’ve learned more about patience, staying focused, and most of all the importance of pacing myself so I don’t burn out. I’ve learned so much about myself and have learned and accepted perseverance to keep moving forward no matter the ups and downs in every stage of my career.
How do you feel about social media? What has social media done for your career so far?
I have a very passionate relationship with social media – and by this I mean a love and hate relationship, haha. I love social media because it helps me stay directly connected with my fans and it’s an amazing tool to share and give more of me to my fans. It’s also given me access to other creators and people I want to connect with as well. The only downside, the ‘hate’ part, is all the anxiety and negative mental health issues that social media is causing so many people in the world. I have heard from my own fans and artist friends how much it affects them negatively and I want to help release that negative side effect of social media. So many people on socials try to “show” their “best” versions of themselves by editing and changing their photos when in fact, the best versions of them is not the perfectly edited picture, but it’s the complete opposite. Don’t get me wrong, I have definitely spent hours on socials especially when I was starting out trying to figure out this social world and looked at countless blogger and artist accounts wondering, wow they look so… perfect. But then, I eventually realized, I’d rather show my flaws than hide behind a screen and people can accept me or not, I’ll just sing for them both. Haha.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I’ve been inspired by a ton of creators and would love to work with them if possible- Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Sia, Pink, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kanye West, Brandon Urie, Missy Eliott, TI, Timbaland, Max Martin, Cirkuit, Shellback, Greg Kurstin and Mark Ronson.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
At the end of the day, I hope people can take away a sense of life. I want people to feel something with my music. I believe truly and authentically feeling in this current society is a privilege, as we are constantly swamped by technologies and noise all around us… If people are empowered and inspired by my music, then my dream’s fulfilled.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
I want to sincerely welcome and thank every single one of you for being on this journey with me in the 6th Dimension. You keep me open, honest and inspired. Please check out my singles Dimension and Skyline everywhere you listen to music and stay tuned for my upcoming music, video releases and performances. It’s all for you. You can follow me @theazraofficial.
Lastly, always remember to: “Follow your own passion, create your own show. The world is your stage, for anything you can imagine is possible!” Love, AZRA.