Check out our interview with LA-based “substance-pop” artist AZRA who just released her new single “Hell & Back”.
Follow AZRA @theazraofficial
Hi AZRA, please tell us a little about you?
Hey, I’m AZRA, I’m a substance pop artist, singer, songwriter, and a motivational storyteller. I was born in South Korea and I moved to the States as a child and now I’m currently based in Los Angeles, CA. My mission in life and in my work in music is to inspire, empower others to realize their inner powers and have the courage to try and go after their dreams.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Empathetic, Optimistic, Confident.
Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
Other than my parents, my family and closest friends. I would have to say my late Professor/Dr. Michael Oshins at Boston University. He was my Leadership Professor at BU. His character, class, lessons, and his mentorship introduced me to the world of exemplary leadership, personal development and becoming a servant leader. He taught me the power of knowing and accepting myself, being authentic, thinking outside of the box, and being limitless, all while staying focused, motivated to serve a greater purpose. His teachings helped shape the way I live my life and motivated me to always strive to learn, be authentic, and pursue my dreams.
How did you get started in the business?
Not sure how or when I started in the music business. I guess with the release of my first EP Freedom, but I’ve always been a singer, hiphop dancer, performer and songwriter since I was 4 years old so I grew up being on stages all my life.
Did you go to music school?
Nope. I went to Boston University and majored in Hospitality Administration and Business. Growing up I took Violin & Piano lessons as a kid. I feel like my life was a music school in and of itself.
Describe your sound in 3 words?
Substance Pop: Pop, Soul, Dance
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
My Mom. My earliest memories of music influence were my mom’s choir rehearsals when I was 2-3 years old, she always had music on in the background whenever she was doing chores, etc. She was either humming, singing, listening to music. She loves the Beatles and Micheal Jackson so I would perform in my parents’ bedroom all the time as a kid (they had a full length mirror) using my mom’s hairbrush as a mic. PS. My mom and dad also had a killer vinyl collection. I also remember watching a kpop boy band perform at an outdoor lawn concert. I was sitting front row behind the rope as part of the audience. I remember thinking that I wanted to be on the other side of the rope performing just like the singers on stage. These influences gave me the affinity toward music and performing, however it wasn’t until I published my book called The Cupcake Theory, a book on self-worth, that I realized I wanted to do music professionally. Through music I am able to continue my mission to inspire people while investing in my joy of creating, singing and performing.
Now tell us about your new single “Hell & Back?”
I released “Hell & Back” to give people hope and light in the midst of this year’s 2020 pandemic and everything else that is going on. Over the recent years, I’ve been trying to get more balanced and understand the synergy between yin / yang. I have come to realize how crucial it is for us to accept the seemingly negative events/experiences in order for us to grow and move forward. That is what the song is all about, accepting that things are hard at times, like right now with Covid. However despite this, we will have the strength and empowerment to move forward and do our best everyday. We can’t practice optimism without understanding the other side. I like to say that ignorance is a temporary bliss, acknowledgement and acceptance is harder, but it’s the permanent gateway to bliss.
Tell us about your last single “Dangerous?”
Dangerous is a song about being unapologetic, vocal, and owning who you are in the world. It’s a women empowerment song and a gateway song to a new concept of normalizing the presence of a powerful woman.
And about the success of your single “Right Here?”
Right Here is a song that will always be very dear to my heart! The song is all about resilience, perseverance and transforming challenges into power and personal growth. I was incredibly grateful and happy to hear that my listeners connected with the song and found the song extremely relatable to their own lives…I still get DMs and shoutouts from people about how the song helped them get through their hard times and struggles and it empowered them… This is the reason I do music.
Do you ever get nervous?
I don’t really get “anxiety-nervous”, however I often get overly “excited-nervous” because I get hella passionate about the things I do. I have learned that when I do get the jitters or feel in my head for any reason, the best thing to do is to put my attention on the people I am there for and remind myself of my ‘WHY’ and refocus my attention outward. After all, that is our duty as performers, we are here to serve.
What is your next goal as a musician?
Continue to grow and spread the 6th Dimension Culture. Create and share more music and motivational stories to those who need the most. I want to get to know my supporters at a deeper level and continue to get better at engaging with them. During this current release of “Hell & Back” I’ve been hearing from a lot of my supporters ( #AZRADEITIES) about their struggles, how they are coping with hardships and challenges this year and they’ve been truly inspiring. This conversation is happening with me and amongst themselves in our 6th Dimension community. I want to continue this conversation and continue to serve them and connect with them. by creating and releasing more music in the next coming months in various ways. I am also focused on building my live concert streaming and social media community. I never thought I would enjoy streaming online and connecting with people virtually because I’ve always been an in-person type of person who likes to physically meet people. However, during this pandemic, I’ve come to appreciate live streaming and found magic and realness in connecting with people through the web while performing my music, sharing stories and exchanging words with one another. In addition, it’s the best feeling to see people physically show up at my live shows after discovering and connecting with me via streaming or social media platforms.
Do you have a tour coming up or where we can see you performing?
Yes, I had my last live shows at Madame Siam in Hollywood and at a college convention in Orlando in late Feb/early March when I released my latest single “Dangerous.” This was right before the covid quarantine and by far some of the most exciting and turnt up shows ever. Since then, I’ve taken my live performances to online streaming platforms and been hosting and singing on my own show called “The 6th Dimension”. We’ve completed 2 seasons since quarantine. In the 6th Dimension show, I combine motivational storytelling, engaging with a live streaming audience, and of course, singing my originals and covers from time to time. I like to choose a specific emotion as a topic for every episode and create a discussion out of it. So be sure to check out my show schedule that is shared on my IG @theazraofficial. I’ve also done quite a few live streaming concerts to help raise funds for Covid-19 relief. I love getting together with other artists, organizations to serve a greater purpose. So doing these fundraising concerts from home have not only been fulfilling, but also inspiring. In terms of my physical live tour… I cannot wait to get on the road and physically connect with my supporters and AZRA DEITIES in person. Performing is my life force so I cannot wait for the world to heal from this pandemic and for me to get out there again…so in short, as soon as we are clear to get out and perform, I will be out there for you.
What we can expect of AZRA in 2020?
Definitely more streaming and live show opportunities to share who I am with my audience. More music, high energy dancing, substance pop vibes all around. This year, I want to spend much of my time building and connecting with my supporters (AZRADEITIES) and showing them another side of me. Most of all for this year, I just want to do as much as I can to help bring some hope, healing, light and joy to others.
What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
Haha I’m that girl who’s always belting and singing in the car…some favorite songs are “Chandelier” by SIA, “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco, “Let It Go” from Frozen, “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman, Nicki Minaj, and can’t forget “Wanna Dance With Somebody” and every Whitney Houston song out there.
Name one your strengths?
I absolutely love connecting with others at the realest level more than anything.
What is your own definition of happiness?
My own definition of happiness is being able to enjoy every moment, growing and expanding our minds to new possibilities, having the power and clarity to stay absolutely present, and serving the youth. Happiness is in those moments of connection I have with myself and the higher power, with my love, family, friends, and my four legged son Blueberry. It’s also meeting new people and being able to connect authentically. It’s singing, performing for my supporters, connecting with them and then being able to sit with my team, closest friends and family to hang out afterwards. It took me a while to realize what my happiness was… because us humans are constantly influenced and reinforced by external messages and visuals saying that happiness is found in possessions, titles, various notches on our belts and the depth of our pockets. We are told to measure our happiness based on everything but the basics that make us smile, feel deeply, laugh in moments of bliss throughout our everyday lives… I learned my happiness the hard way, by waking up one morning with one eye blind and realizing that there’s more to life than what meets the eye.
Any loves other than music?
Beauty/Skincare, Food, Personal Development/Motivational Storytelling, Fashion, Reading, Yoga, and Dogs.
Any exciting news you want to share with us?
I just released a brand new single & lyric video for “Hell & Back.”
How’s a typical day in your life?
There’s not really a ‘typical’ day in my life as everyday seems to be very different, but here are some things I do right now during Covid time: Meditate, Write music, rehearse singing, dance, daydream, go for walks to get some air (with a mask on), sip on lots of liquids (water, kombucha, tea, smoothies, hot water), creative time, yoga/workout, phone with mom&dad, play with my four legged son Blueberry, eat, connect with other creatives (production, song writing, beauty, art concepts, etc.), record new music, clean up, design my new home, read, consult for business & book… pre-quarantine I would attend meetings, events, perform shows, hang with friends… etc.
Idea of a perfect Sunday?
Wake up early morning 5:30am, make myself jasmine green tea, read a self-help / philosophical book on my rooftop/patio, set up my intentions for the day and week ahead, scribble in my journal, then do some hot yoga in my gym, write random ideas / music on my piano, and practice singing. All of this before 12PM. Then meet up with my friends for some brunch, picnic, go shopping, catch up, walk & play with Blueberry, then settle down watching a movie or show that is not music related at all with some facemasks. Then during Sunset, go for a drive down Hwy… And just let the night take me. This is just one example of a perfect Sunday.
What is your favorite healthy food?
My Signature Green Smoothie. Also, Kimchi.
And your favorite cheat food?
I don’t have a fav cheat food. I eat unapologetically and face the consequences.
What would be a deal breaker on a first date?
Lack of focus on the present, talks too much about self (talks to much in general) & lack of chivalry.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
– My Grandma & Grandpa together (Mom’s side)
– Einstein, because why wouldn’t you want to meet this genius?!
– Whitney Houston, because growing up she was one of my greatest singing inspirations and I’ve always dreamed of one day singing alongside her. I would love to sit down with her and have a conversation. I always felt that she was a beautiful person.
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
Making a greater impact on people. Fully living out my dreams that I have now and then striving for something greater. Being physically & mentally stronger, more inspired, empowered, enlightened, and a compassionate human being. Still Singing, Performing and Creating music but at an evolved, elevated level than now all over the world!
How would you describe your fashion style?
High Fashion/Couture, Minimalistic, Androgynous, Oversized accent wear, Chic
What do you think of Social Media?
I think Social Media is an extremely powerful communication tool that if used wisely and consciously we can spread a lot of light and love in this world
Where we can follow you?
In the 6th Dimension & follow me on all social media platforms @theazraofficial
Quote: Quote I created and still live by and share: “Follow your passion. Create your own show, The World is your stage, for anything you can imagine is possible.”
Song: “The Greatest Love Of All” by Whitney Houston
Movie: Pretty much sci-fi, action movies. The Transformers, Inception, The Matrix, Shutter Island, Devil Wears Prada…
Travel Destination: Paris
Food: Korean, Pho, French American, Mexican, Mediterranean, Hot Cheetos