INTERVIEW: Asha Pieper

Hi Asha, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Thanks so much! Happy to be here. I’ve been very well. It’s a busy time of year as we’re finalizing all the details of this current project. But it’s a great kind of stress to be had.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “History”?

Of course. ‘History’ was original meant to be written as part of a singles project, an undertaking I began after participating with an artist entrepreneur program run by Coalition Music here in Toronto. Prior to this, I struggled in connecting with my writing artistically. I could write in different genres, and had experimented working with producers, and other artists, but there was this chasm between what I wanted to achieve technically, and how I connected to it personally. It was through fate and good fortune I met my current team, and ‘History’ kind of just spilled out one night. It’s the first release from my new project, and I’m very excited to share the rest!

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I think it was a culmination of a lot of things. At the time, I felt incredibly frustrated, unable to translate what I heard in my mind out in the real world. And I could see, as I think most people do, the safety of youth fading. There’s a great pressure in growing up, in having the answers, in being the ‘go-to’ adult of your own life. It’s a terrifying responsibility, and one I’m still not sure I’m wholly managing. The permanence of adulthood, seeing the patterns of your past and watching yourself make the same mistakes in the present; it’s an infuriating experience. But there’s also comfort in knowing kind of letting that go, in claiming the imperfections, and being okay despite it all. That kind of inspires me, and I hope it does for others as well.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

Actually, yes! We just released the video. It was shot by Jay Baskey, and can be seen here:

How was the recording and writing process?

We had to opportunity to stretch the recording over six months, which was great in many ways, but also created problems of it’s own. There were a few different iterations of the song, particularly when it came to the intro. I’m really lucky to work with amazing players, and after a rehearsal, we pretty much settled on the groove, and the feel, and recording that was the same as performing live. We had this beautiful space at Rose Room Recording, and all the players were able to kind of see each other, which helped in landing all those shots and musical cues. It was a very organic, smooth process, and we pretty much had it nailed after a few takes. The writing process, I’m afraid, was much less interesting. I had been toying with some chords in my mind, the first line specifically had kind of ear-wormed into my brain. Then I just kind of sat down one night, vey late, in the dark, and it sort of spewed from me whole.

How does acting influences your music and the other way around?

My background was in theatre, and also served as my introduction into music. I began singing because of musical theatre, and shortly thereafter, playing piano as well. I think there’s a certainty in acting. You know the choices that character is going to make, you’ve studied and lived in their skin. It’s not quite as assured as being your own person. Because we, ourselves, are in a constant state of flux. I suppose if there were a correlation between the two, it would be that acting, and music, allow you to see the world in a broad and different way. You can assume different identities, different points of view, and they all feel real, and validating. I think it’s opened me up to be, I hope, less critical, and more understanding of others.

How’s your new EP coming along?

It’s coming, in fact, it’s very nearly finished! I can’t believe it’s almost three years now in beginning this process. I marvel at artists that can pump out yearly projects. It’s really difficult, especially as an independent artist, to balance your creativity, with all the other aspects involved in doing a project. If it weren’t for the help of my amazing team members, I don’t think it would ever see the light of day,

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

Absolutely! We’re looking at a loose release date of mid to late February. It both feels very close, and very far. You can follow me online to keep up-to-date with further releases, and also fun behind-the-scenes stuff.

What aspects of Jazz music will you be exploring on this new material?

Jazz to me has always been about the unexpected. It’s improvisation, it’s being in the moment, it’s reactive. There’s a certain harmonic structure, the texture of extensions, that I really get into. The recorded material is more on the side of contemporary music, but when it comes to live music, it’s always a different show. The songs are able to take their own life, in reaction to the crowd, to my own state of mind, to what it is we’re communicating in that experience.

Any plans to hit the road?

Absolutely. We will be confirming the show for EP release party, and come spring and summer, release our travel dates.

What else is happening next in Asha Pieper’s world?

Finishing up this EP is pretty much the centre of my life at the moment, and I’m very much looking forward to the holiday season to take some time off and visit with family. They live on the other side of the country, so it’s always a treat to go home and visit. The cold, on the other hand, I am not prepared for. At all.

I’ll also be releasing a second single in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned! Thanks so much.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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