Recording in her home studio, Aiesha India likes to joke with “I wake up to music, and ultimately go to sleep with it as well”, the approach of so many stars seen the world over. Nothing comes to a closed mouth, nor a lazy hand. Understanding that her plight is not an easy one, Aiesha is strapped in for the long ride. Her buzz worthy singles Freedom, The Art of Seduction, and Winner displays talent beyond her years; all of which showing cause to her confidence that she is pop culture’s next big thing. Specializing in dance music, dub step, electro and pop, Aiesha is already a staple on the UK’s underground scene. Influenced by some of today’s brightest stars as well as bands from the 80’s and club classics, Aiesha is steadily crafting a distinguishing sound, and brand. Before long you too will be a fan.
I have to admit, I was truly honored to be granted the opportunity to chat with this rising star:
Tell me about you…where are you from?
I’m a 17-year-old singer/songwriter/producer from London. I finished my GCSES and quit college to pursue my music career. I’ve always had a strong support network which are my family and close friends. I was born with a rare skin condition ichthyoids which restricted me from living a normal life, everyday is a different day and I never know when I can leave my house. So I stayed in a lot and constantly made music since the age of 13.
When and why did you start playing?
I started playing piano at the age of 6. I’d always had a passion for playing the keyboard. My dad used to own a small Yamaha keyboard and I always used to create melodies on it. I started songwriting from the age of 13. As every songwriter would say, I write from experience. Songwriting became therapeutic for me and it’s my solution to every problem I have.
Which instruments do you play?
I started singing at the age of 11. I started performing during assemblies whilst singing the piano and gradually grew from there. I started high school and life was hard dealing with my condition and the people but the one thing that got me through it was the Christmas Entertainment show which was every year. Throughout all my years of high school, I auditioned and performed every year and became more confident and found myself through these performances. I used to replicate beats from Top 40 songs on my keyboard and mash songs together and sing them live.
Performing was my way out of reality. I felt detached from everybody due to my afflictions and I was determined to be accepted as myself, not by conforming into what everybody else wanted me to be. So every year, I’d prepare a performance with my two close friends and we’d through a massive production. I’d always be playing classical piano and then launching into keyboards with a loud vocal whilst the others entertained and interacted with the crowd. Whenever I perform, I feel like I’m in my own fantasy, it doesn’t matter about what I look like as a girl, only what I look like as an entertainer.
I am working on an EP and a new music video. So far, I’ve released three music videos. I am currently working with a youth bar to help young people who perhaps don’t have the guidance I have pursue their dream, musically, academically or generally.
Is your family musical or at least supportive?
My family has always supported me. The two most inspirational people who have kept me going have to be my mum and my grandma. My mum has always believed in my dream and she’s the reason I’ve even got someone writing a blog for me. Mum always is looking out for me. She’s had to deal with my medical side and my musical side. Mum has left a gold set for me, called the Grammy set after I said that if I ever go to the Grammy’s I want to wear that set. It’s like she makes my dream seem like it’s a few years to go as opposed to just a dream. My grandparents have shown so much support with my music, I have my granddad always giving me tapes to listen to so I can gain some ideas and my grandma always praying and saying how she wants me to successful and how she believes in me. My other grandma is always on the phone telling her friends and family abroad to check out my videos and songs. It’s all so amazing; I’m so overwhelmed by the endless support given by my family.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
A famous musician I admire is Lady Gaga. She’s promoted self-acceptance, something I’ve always stood for and something I’ve always wanted to raise awareness for. When I was going through difficult times during high school, her outlandish costumes and her stand to be different and unique inspired me to become who I am today and find my inner freak. I want to continue spreading the message that Gaga is spreading using every aspect of my musical ability.
Which famous musicians have you learned from?
A famous musician that I’ve learnt from, I’d say would be David Guetta. His music is dance but at the same time meaningful. I felt inspired to make music like his hit Titanium; it spreads a powerful message with a hard kick and haunting synths. I’ve also learnt from Lady Gaga, my acoustic persona has been created by listening to her acoustic material. Songs like Born This Way, Edge of Glory, and Princess Die all have such meaning to them and she can hold an arena with just her voice and a piano whilst being entertaining which is very rare for an artist of my generation.
Describe your first instrument.
At the age of 16, I asked my parents for a home studio as I had already started writing my own material and composed melodies on the keyboard. I needed a way to professionally record my music, so my parents bought me a home studio late Summer 2011 and I recorded my first song on there and ever since I’ve been passionately making music. Throughout the year, I learnt how to use music software, made demos and released a single late June 2012.
What are your fondest musical memories?
My fondest musical memory is, when I performed for my last day of high school (Year 11). After years of not really knowing whether I was accepted, I concluded my year with a mash up on my keyboard of Top 40 hits. I had my studded glasses, red lipstick, leather gloves and I went for it rocker style. I didn’t expect the reaction I got. I remember clearly, thanking everyone who accepted me and I heard an endless amount of cheers. When I started performing, people started getting up, singing and dancing and being themselves and this is the moment where I felt like I’d finally made it in my own way and this is what inspired me to move on musically and pursue music as a career.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
Getting nervous before a performance is part of the process. If I went out there and had no nerves, I wouldn’t be real. I would be alienating everyone else. So yes, I do get nervous, I do have the odd shaky leg when I perform and I do make mistakes but it’s what makes the performance work. When I’m too nervous, you’ll find me rolling on the floor trying to be a rockstar when I’m singing dance, but the nerves are just my inner freak kicking in and I love the sensation of the nerves, it brings more theatricality to the performance.
What advice would you give to beginners?
Being in the music industry or even getting into it is tough. One thing you need to do; forget the competition. I’ve always ruled out competition. Negativity, jealousy and feeling threatened always decrease your chance of success.
“You need to believe that you’re a superstar and you’re famous without the paparazzi and glitz + glamour. Perseverance is the key; never give up on yourself.”
I’ve lived life imagining and visualizing and it’s still a huge part of my life now. Performing in my bedroom with a hair-brush for hours pretending half of London is there. Not only am I visualizing, but I’m practicing. The amount of times my mum has said, what you rehearsing for and my response has been a show, half of the time there is no show, I’m preparing for the shows in my head and the more I do this, the more shows I’m getting, the more practice and confidence I’m gaining.
Everyone gets put down in this industry, people say you’re rubbish and people say you need help to make a hit. Do not ever compromise yourself. You have to believe in yourself in order to believe in your music. The amount of times I’ve had record producers wanting to own my work by changing one note. No, do not ever let the fancy contracts and big names get to you and more importantly the put downs. The putdowns are your guidance. You have to take those putdowns and prove them wrong.
If you weren’t singing, what would you be doing?
If I wasn’t singing, I’d be interested in working with young people and helping them achieve their dreams. Maybe a youth worker or a teacher. I love helping others; especially the youth and I hope that I achieve that in the best way possible!
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