First things, first, let’s make sure you pronounce this week’s First Look Friday subject’s name correctly. “Ahh-zee-yahn,” better known as Asiahn, this three-time Grammy nominated singer-songwriter has built a reputation for being ill with the pen. Her assistance on major hit records for Jennifer Lopez and Miley Cyrus — to name a few — have taken her to the upper-echelons of the game.
Her skill and talent caught the attention of one of the most sought after producers in the game: Dr. Dre. He brought Asiahn into the Aftermath lair to work out a few ideas. The end result was the standout cut, “Just Another Day,” which featured her and Compton MC, The Game. Since then, the two have been putting in the hours to cook up something major, but we’ll just have to wait and see what that final recipe becomes. As a rare jewel in an industry full of fool’s gold, Asiahn utilizes all of her opportunity to the best of her ability, which our earholes thank sincerely.
With her project, Love Train out and ready for listening below, we had the distinctive pleasure of chatting it up with Asiahn about her vast array of influences, how her “dream” helps audiophiles to find peace in their lives and why Anderson .Paak should keep his head on a swivel. Be sure to keep an eye out for more from this powerful vocalist. Enjoy!
Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact. What is it that those in music game are seeing and hearing that the rest of the world has yet to discover?
Asiahn: Something real, something organic, something that makes you feel. I feel like that is what’s missing most times in music today.
Okayplayer: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?
A: I have so many influences, man. Quincy Jones was a big one for me. He is a musical genius to me. Dr. Dre as well. I have had the pleasure of working with them both and they taught me to be a perfectionist and unapologetic about my craft. My other influences are Etta James, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Minnie Riperton, Whitney Houston and Prince, for the obvious reason of being 100% amazing at everything they do. Ludacris and J. Lo (Jennifer Lopez) — both whom I have worked with — have shown me that you can be huge in this industry sans ego. They taught me perseverance and humility.
OKP: Can you talk about how your life was while developing as an artist? How did you react to your first bits of press?
A: My first bit of press came when I was nine, singing at a Charlotte Hornets game. That was when I became an artist—I knew it right then and there that this was what I was born to do. I wanted to be on stage, to write things that move me so I could move others, so growing up I was focused on that. [Taking] Greyhound buses back and forth to Atlanta from Charleston, South Carolina to create music and perfect my craft. I missed out on a lot of parties and college shenanigans, but no one could say they were doing what I was. No one had a demo with Ludacris on it, so [my life] was kind of surreal.
OKP: With incidents involving people of color, police and racist occurring almost on a daily basis around the globe — how can your music (and/or others) help to relieve the trauma that is being experienced by the masses?
is the managing editor of Okayplayer. His top three MCs are: 1) Andre 3000, 2) Scarface, and 3) Black Thought. Debate him on Twitter @KevitoClark.