Who is Anais Aida? A talented r&b/soul singer with a multicultural background. Aida received notable recognition for her cover of the Janelle Monae track “Say You’ll Go,” a song She’s working hard on her debut album and establishing herself as a solo artist, hoping listeners will sense “originality, diversity, humanity, and progress” within her music. Anais certainly has a lot to offer and it’s only a matter of time before millions around the globe start singing every word in her songs. Watch the music video for her sultry and intense debut single “Love Can Burn” below, and read the interview to learn more:
EY: Tell us a little about yourself and what life was like for you growing up between France, Ireland, Senegal, and California.
AA: I was born in France, left at the age of ten to Dublin, Ireland, where I resided for two years, transitioned to Dakar, Senegal, for a year before moving to California. Moving so much was chaotic and unsettling in a lot of ways, but forced me to mature quickly and mainly to understand the commonalities amongst men rapidly. It allowed me to differentiate myself from others but also taught me to adapt to many cultures and relate to all humans on a deeper level rather than on a superficial or materialistic level. It taught me that I am more than my hometown, my origin, my culture, but rather that I am a woman living in an incredible space that has so much to teach and so many secrets and beauties to discover. It made me understand the concept of process and progress. I love to think, I love to contemplate on life and its deeper meaning, and I love people. I don’t identify with a culture in particular, but all humans. That’s who I am as a person, but also as an artist. When I say I do soul music, I don’t consider nor wish my sound to be neo-soul, but I sing soulfully in hope to connect deeply with all people.
EY: You seem to have travelled a lot. How has that impacted you as an artist and when did you realize you wanted to pursue music?
AA: I’ve started playing the violin and singing young, and truth is I always knew I wanted to pursue music. A few times insecurity has gotten in my way and derived my focus from the star to perhaps the songwriter or engineer, but with maturity and time I was able to really understand the work and respect the process that needs to go into being that artist I dream to be and becoming as I blossom. Nonetheless, I knew I had to have a career that involved music. Travelling has influenced my art in such a way that I cannot emulate a sound. Being raised to classical music, discovering folk music in Ireland, experiencing traditional Senegalese music, Bay Area music and POP in the US, while my mother playing SWV and Mary J Blige, allowed me to being open to many sounds, and creating mine, uniquely and organically.
“We are searching for the middle ground between mainstream and experimental. Familiar but different.”
EY: Who are some of your musical influences?
AA: I love India Arie, Bilal, Erykah Badu, and Lauryn Hill. India allowed me to love my voice, Bilal allowed me to be fearless of being different, Erykah allowed me to desire edginess and swag, and Lauryn gave me the desire to be a legend!
EY: Describe your sound and how it differs from the rest?
AA: My sound is minimal, it’s curious, progressive, fearless, it’s fresh, grimy, soulful! It’s searching for something. It differs from the rest because my producer, Alejandro Ghersi and I are both international, we are creating RNB that isn’t primarily influenced by Rnb. Although we are huge fans of Aaliyah and Missy, vocally our sound is definitely influenced by soul, but sonically it’s complex and original because of its diverse influences. We are searching for the middle ground between mainstream and experimental. Familiar but different.
EY: Can you tell us about your experience so far attending Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music?
AA: Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I met my musical soulmate Alejandro at the program; I have built with my professors and developed the artist I am becoming with the tools and resources they provide for me. I have great mentors there, imaginable opportunities, and expanded my network. Lastly I have also been inspired by the talent around me, and I am able to see how real my dreams are. It has taught me quality!
EY: You received a lot of positive feedback for your cover of Janelle Monae’s “Say You’ll Go”, which you recorded for a class project. Is there a reason why you chose that song in particular?
AA: Danny, the producer, showed me the song a while back when her album came out, and I was always intrigued by it. I remember listening to it many, many times before I truly understood the genius of that song. The day before our session, I suggested Say You’ll Go, we had no intention on releasing that track, and I was definitely surprised by how beautiful it came out, humbly, I felt that this version brought out a simplified beauty of that song.
EY: And what went through your head when Janelle Monae complimented you on the wonderful cover of her song?
AA: “I cannot believe she actually listened to me sing this and that she thought I did the song justice, this is unREEEEAAAAAL” <- I was going crazy!
EY: Tell us about your debut single “Love Can Burn”, in terms of its concept and inspiration.
AA: The song was a pure coincidence, but since I don’t believe in coincidence, I want to say it was destiny. The right people came together at the right time. I recorded that song in my freshman year (2009) and the meaning of the song is still growing on me. Love Can Burn is more than my single, it is the first time I sang a song believing that woah, I can be that artist I’ve dreamed of becoming but never thought I actually could. The confidence behind the lyric, vocal performance and video has a direct correlation of where I was at the time. It is about being able to realize someone/something isn’t good for you, and understanding the process of moving on and forgiveness in itself. It’s more than a love story, it’s about the traps we set for ourselves by the decisions we make. From the moment I allow myself to forgive, I am no longer a slave of the ex-lover, myself, of revenge, or of pain. I am greater and I am now stronger.
“This is the beginning for me…”
EY: When can we expect your debut album to drop?
AA: Summer of 2012! Maybe a mini EP coming out soon, some demo tracks we don’t want to throw away! 8)
EY: What do you hope to depict in your music more than anything?
AA: Originality, diversity, humanity, and progress!
EY: Where would you say is your dream to perform at and can you tell us one artist that you’d absolutely love to work with one day?
AA: I’d love to write a track with Shea Taylor and Frank Ocean. I love their style. I would love to sing a duet with Bonga! Do a track with Missy, whooooo!!!! Man, I want to perform in the ruins in Italy; on an island off the Nile river, Hollywood Bowl. I want to perform everywhere across the WORLD!!! Deadass!
EY: Do you have any other projects coming up?
AA: Working on the album this fall, and just collaborating and sharing work as we go! 8)
EY: We’ve reached the end of our interview. Thank you Anais. Please leave a message for your fans.
AA: I love and thank all of the people that have come across my work and have respected me enough and loved it enough to show support. This is the beginning for me, I hope we can continue this journey together. You are more than fans, you are my other half and my reason for creating art, I sing and write for you. Love!
For more info on this talented young lady, visit the following links: