See what singer/songwriter Anais Aida has to say about her style and inspirations and listen to her new EP, Out In The Waves, available now.
What got you interested in music?
Anais Aida: Actually I started making music when I was really young. I was born in Toulouse in the South of France and when I was four years old my mom put me in the conservatory however, in France, before you can start picking up an instrument, you have to do two to three years of music theory, so probably from four to seven I was doing music theory and then I chose my first instrument which was the violin. I was in the choir and I was playing violin up until me and my mom moved to Ireland and I tried to keep playing the violin but I slowly lost interest because of the teachers I had, in Ireland, it was more about ear training as opposed to reading music and I didn't like that too much so I ended up dropping violin by the time I was ten years old. When I moved to California I was really interested in singing and started writing and I went to an art school in Oakland and there we pursued songwriting and vocal music.
Were there any artists you listened to growing up that affected your sound?
There's a lot of artists, it's hard to say one person in general, because through every move I ended up studying a different artist, but I would say someone who is very impactful to me is India.Arie, she's a soul singer. She inspired me a lot because she has a really deep voice and, at the time, I wasn't really as comfortable with the tone of my voice and I found a lot of resemblance with my tone and her tone so I really learned to appreciate the quality of my voice through listening to her music.
How would you describe your sound?
I would say it's more alternative RnB with a little bit of soul. The truth is I'm still developing that sound, so what you guys will hear when you listen to the EP is that every song is a little bit different. "Waterfall" has a bit more of a pop influence and then there's another song called "Dancing Barefoot" that has more of an indie, indie pop, indie rock type of feel, and then you have "Single Rose" which is very full of gospel influence, and then you have "Recover" which is an RnB ballad. So, it's definitely soulful, there's always going to be a bit of that RnB, just because it's always been a big influence for me, but then there's a lot of different influences that come depending on the track.
Which track from the EP stands out, in your opinion?
I'm really proud of "Single Rose" because I did an acoustic version of that song last year and I was able to go back and do an official version and I tracked strings for it and I find it really beautiful, so I'm really excited about that song. Then there's another song called "Out In The Waves", which is the title of my EP, and that's probably my favorite song on the project because it was very personal to me. We took a lot of risks in the instrumentation and it was just a really fun song to create and I think that people will respond pretty well to it.
What do you try to keep in mind while writing new songs?
It depends, sometimes it's from a storytelling perspective and sometimes it's just direct experience, but what I always try to do is leave it open for interpretation; I like for people to be able to put their own spin to it, I don't like to be so specific to the point that people can't apply it to their own personal lives.
What's the most memorable compliment you've received for your music?
I don't know, I get a lot of good feedback from a lot of people, but the person who mastered my EP, Chris Gehringer, really loved it and I was very surprised. He masters a lot of the records for like Rihanna and Jay Z and some of the biggest artists, like he does all Top 40, and when he mastered my EP, he told me he loved every single song and he couldn't choose one that was his favorite and that really meant a lot to me.
Any artists you're hooked on right now?
I'm absolutely obsessed with Kwabs - he's an artist from London - he has this really gorgeous, rich tone. It's different beats and it's just, every time I listen to him it just makes me want to sing, and I love when artists inspire me and make me want to go out and sing and be better, so he's phenomenal to me.
What do you want to say about your music?
I would just say that you should always listen to music on a surface level and then try to decide what some of the stories that are beneath are. I really try to make music that's empowering, so whenever I write a song, I always try to find a way to lift people up, or myself up, because life in general can be a little bit difficult at times or being an artist can be very challenging, you deal with a lot of criticism and a lot of different opinions over time, so it's really hard to affirm yourself and to love yourself and to believe in yourself and that's something I'm trying to convey through my music and I hope that will be a message that will be with me throughout my career. Whenever people listen to my projects, I want them to listen to it not as a final project, but as a journey. I think of myself as constantly growing and trying to find my place in the universe of music and where I belong and what my sound is, so I'd really love for people to listen and hear the potential and still want to grow with me.