Interview by MissCallMe Cris and edited for clarity
This week we are joined by “Substance Pop" recording artist, singer, and songwriter, AZRA, as she drops her empowering single “Hell & Back”. Giving us hope through overcoming her challenges in life, in an upbeat, invigorating piece of work, in a much-needed moment in time.
Can you paint us a picture of how “Hell & Back” became a song?
I wrote the song a while ago with my co-writing and production team, The Heavyweights, with Jamie Jones and Matt Wong. I went into the studio one day with this idea that I’d been through so much in the past. Even just looking at my artist journey. I’d been doing music for a long time. Since I was born, I’d been dancing and singing. But, one day I was looking back at all the things like being in L.A., working in the industry, all of the experiences I’ve had with my eye being diagnosed with juvenile glaucoma in 2008, and just different challenges that I’ve had to face and figure out a way to grow from and move forward with. So, I went to the studio, and I was like “Hey Guys! I’ve been through hell and back”, even though people may not be able to pick up on that when they first see me. You would have no idea that I’ve been through some challenges. But, that’s very relatable to a lot of us. So, I wanted to work with the idea that there’s always going to be ups and downs in life, and it’s not a matter of only picking the positives to get through life. It’s actually accepting both. There’s always going to be the negatives, and if you don’t know the negatives, you’re never going to know positives. So, that’s how the song came to life. It’s a very upbeat song but, I wanted to make sure it had substance to it.
Why do you think it’s important to tell these kinds of stories?
In life, it’s not always going to be happy. There’s always the yin and the yang. I’ve been through a phase in my life when I was learning about positive thinking and discovering the benefits of being positive, and in the beginning, I didn’t know how to deal with all the negativity. I knew to just focus on the positives and hopefully, the negatives will just go away, I guess. That was my mentality for a while. But, this year with the pandemic and everything that is going on, a lot of us are forced to face the things that we didn’t want to face, including all the negative things. We can be oblivious to it but, that’s not going to last forever, and that’s not going to really make us grow and become stronger as a person. It’s really when we can recognize that there’s going to be good times, and there’s going to be some not so good times. It’s good to accept and recognize that because it’s only going to make us become more appreciative of the positives. I think that’s the true meaning of growth.
What kind of reception are you getting from the song so far?
It’s pretty positive actually, which I’m really grateful for. It’s very upbeat, it’s a different vibe but, still in the 6th Dimension. I’m getting a good vibe from it. The people that I’ve shared it with, they recognize that it’s not just a dance, pop song. They recognize from the lyrics that it’s kind of deep, and has a message. About two week ago, I shared the song with four of my closest friends, and one of my friends actually teared up during the bridge. That just motivated me, like yeah, I guess this is good!
What’s the one thing you want everyone to get from “Hell & Back”?
The one thing that I want people to get is a feeling of hope. That’s the most important thing. With everything that’s going on right now, it’s been really challenging. Speaking with a lot of my fans, it’s been rough. But, at the same time, seeing how people are figuring out how to rise from it, in the midst of all the darkness, seeing how people are coming out of it every single day and getting themselves up in the morning, including myself, it’s pretty damn empowering. So, I hope that my song can just add to that and give them a little more light. Even if it gives them a little boost and makes them want to dance a little, then I’ve done my job.
Is “Hell & Back” a part of a bigger project that we can look forward to?
Possibly!! Yes! I am constantly working on more music. I have been very actively going to the studio lately. Stay tuned!! I definitely hope to and plan to release more music this year.
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