Aysha’s single ‘Release Me’ proves that quality and beauty do come together. Her sensuous vocals and delivery layered over a smooth sonic background immediately relaxes and takes your cares away as Aysha invites you into her world. If you like Sade you will like Asyha. We may be a little bias as the Owner of KJAZZ Radio UK is also from California as well;-)
Nominated in 2009 and 2010 for Jazz Artist of the Year and as mentioned Aysha was winner of Jazz Album of the Year for the 2010 at the Los Angeles Music Awards. Over recent years Aysha has built a strong solo career touring and also working as a DJ. In 2006, Aysha independently released her debut CD “Love Is A Rock” and after much anticipation this was followed by her sophomore CD “Stay With Me”.
Aysha has performed in the US and recently at the Dubai Jazz Festival which serves to illustrate her increasing global appeal. Aysha has opened up for Greg Adams (Tower of Power) and his East Bay Soul band at 94.7 The WAVE’s Thursday Night VIBE series in Hollywood, CA. Aysha has also worked with legendary producer, songwriter, keyboardist & arranger Monty Seward (The Jacksons, James Ingram, Howard Hewett, Kelly Clarkson), acclaimed music director Kevin Dorsey (Michael Jackson) and internationally acclaimed saxophonists, Everette Harp and Gerald Albright. Her song “Stay With Me” hit the UK charts entering at #26 on the UK Top 30 Soul Charts, climbing all the way to #6.
Aysha’s velvety voice is sultry and smooth with a jazzy edge. Having influences ranging from the likes of Sade, Toni Braxton, Phyllis Hyman & Chante Moore. Aysha’s music will surely soothe your soul. You can currently hear Aysha’s music on terrestrial and Internet radio stations around the world. Aysha has been featured in several Independent Artist magazines and now she is here at KJAZZ Radio UK.
Five Minutes with Aysha
KJAZZ Radio UK was fortunate to catch up with Aysha recently and asked if we could send some questions to help you the listener get a better picture of this gifted and talented singer. We posed a selection of several questions to Aysha and asked her to answer those that she felt comfortable with. Aysha was happy to oblige and here are the responses. We thank her for taking the time to conduct the following interview with KJAZZ Radio UK.
Q. Where do you come from and is your family a musical one?
A. I was born in San Jose, California in the USA and grew up in a coastal town called Santa Barbara which is also in California. I was adopted at a very young age and the family I grew up with was not musical at all. I never knew my birth parents so I’m not sure if my musical interest came from them or not. Either way, music has been in me for as long as I can remember.
Q. What are your earliest musical memories?
A. When I was 8 I remember forming a group with my neighbors on my street. We would practice dance steps and singing to various records. Wow, I hadn’t thought about that moment in a LONG time! Those were some good memories!
Q. How old were you when you first learned to play an instrument/sing?
A. I started singing when I was 8, but if you asked anyone else, they wouldn’t have called it singing. LOL! My best friend growing up, told me I couldn’t sing. Later on in life, she had me sing at her wedding. I think when people first started noticing my voice was when I was somewhere around 13. I didn’t try out for my first band until I was 21!
Q. What kind of music did you listen to when you were growing up?
A. I listened to a lot of R&B growing up like Marvin Gaye, Earth Wind & Fire, the Stylistics and Smokey Robinson.
Q. Has this influenced the kind of music you like to perform now?
A. In some ways it has but I think that what I like to perform is just what comes out of me naturally. I love R&B but I don’t think my voice is suited to it as well as it is to a smoother, sultry vibe. I consider my style something like smooth R&B with a jazzy edge. Can we make that a new genre? LOL!
Q. Who inspired your love of music?
A. Music has always been a comfort for me. As a child, I had some rough times and music would put me in a better place in my mind and help to forget about the rough times around me. It’s just always done that for me.
Q. Did you perform as a child (with school orchestra or choir or with bands or choirs outside of school etc)?
A. Yes, when I was in the 5th grade I was in the school choir, what they called the Glee Club.
Q. At what stage did you realize you could make a career out of music?
A. I don’t think I realized that I could make a career of music until I was approached at a Battle of the Bands competition by the president of an artist development company to work with him in Los Angeles as a solo artist.
Q. Do you write your own music?
A. I don’t write the music but I do write the lyrics. I am working on teaching myself piano so I can write the music too but I enjoy working with my producers who write the music while I give my input on what I want, like and don’t like. I really like being part of the whole process.
Q. If so, do you enjoy that as much as performing?
A. While I enjoy writing, I enjoy performing much more! Being on stage or recording in the studio is my favorite part!
Q. How did you get your career started? (when did you play first professional gigs)
A. I auditioned for a band named Destination around the time I was 21, for a background/lead singer. The band played top 40 R&B cover songs. After that, the other background singer and I formed a couple more bands, the last one being Girls in the Mix. In 1995 I moved to Los Angeles to start my solo career and got a little side tracked until 1999 when I met my producer Monty Seward.
Q. Do you have a family of your own now?
A. Yes, I have a beautiful daughter, Keyana who is my heart and soul!
Q. If so, how do you manage to balance those commitments with your career?
A. Her dad and I are no longer married but we are good friends and he has been a great support. Keyana is my #1 fan so she is excited for all the wonderful things happening with my career. I do miss her terribly when I’m away from her but with video chat on the internet, it makes things a little easier!
Q. What is the most difficult thing about being a professional musician? (sacrifices you have to make, nerves, being away from home etc)
A. The biggest challenge has been the time away from my daughter. If I could, I’d have her with me all the time but that’s not a good life for her to be on the road with me so I won’t be selfish (although I’d like to! LOL!). Relationships have also been hard to keep since I don’t have the normal 9-5 schedule. I’m gone a lot, in the studio or out late at events and most men can’t seem to handle not having a lot of time together and they start to get jealous. It takes a certain type of man to put up with a schedule like mine.
Q. What is the best thing about it?
A. Music feeds my soul! Seeing and hearing how people appreciate my music and what I’m doing makes it all worthwhile! There’s nothing like being on the stage have having the whole audience cheering, clapping and giving me a standing ovation!
Q. Which is your favorite venue to perform at?
A. I think to date, my favorite venue is The Wortham Center in Houston. It’s a beautiful theater that holds about 2,500 people and the acoustics are amazing!
Q. Is there one of your own performances which you look back on as your best, or favorite? Why?
A. Yes, I did an intimate concert in Northern California called Jazz on the Waterfront. The stage was outdoors in a beautiful courtyard overlooking the water. The whole event went so smoothly from the moment I got on the plane to get there to when I left to go back home. The show went incredibly well (probably one of my best) and the promoters were some of the nicest and professional people I had ever worked with.
Q. Do you go to watch gigs as a member of the audience very often?
A. Yes, all the time! I love to go, hear and watch live music. Seeing a great show inspires me even more!
Q. Which artists do you enjoy going to see, or listening to at home?
A. Living in Los Angeles, I get to see and hear some incredible talent. I don’t have any one favorite as I love many artists for various reasons. I did get the opportunity to see Sade this past summer for the very first time and her concert was simply amazing!
Q. Has your musical taste changed over the years?
A. I’ve always been a lover of R&B and still am but Jazz became a love as well. My voice naturally has a little bit of a jazzy edge to it so I started to sing and write music that fit ME. When people ask what type of music I do, I tell them “I’m smooth R&B with a jazzy edge”. I guess I made my own genre! LOL!
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