Aisha Badru's elegant and raspy vocals have made her one to watch in 2018. Her understated tones and lyrics have drawn many to her acoustic melodies. Guestlist caught up with Aisha on her travels, activism, spirituality and latest single 'Bridges'.
How’s it going, Aisha?
Great! I just returned from a 2-week stay in Rishikesh, India. I stayed at a Yoga Ashram, where I learned about the philosophy as well as the physical practice of yoga and Ayurveda. Yoga has been something I’ve been practising at home for the past 6 months and I thought it would be a great way to expand my practice by going to the place where it originated.
You lived in south-west Yonkers, what was it like growing up there?
There are definitely a lot of limitations that I faced growing up in an underprivileged community, but now I realize that those limitations were what shaped my character. My upbringing pushed me to be self-determined and it gave me a deep sense of compassion which shaped my desire to give back to underprivileged communities everywhere.
Now we've heard your single 'Bridges' what was the thought process behind that song?
To be honest, there usually isn’t much thought process when I write. ‘Bridges’ was one of those songs that were tucked away somewhere inside of me and when it was ready to come out, it did, without thought.
I heard you were involved in a Volkswagen Campaign right? How did this come about?
Before I signed to a record label, I independently released an EP online. My single ‘Waiting Around’ received a lot of attention from blogs and eventually, that led to me teaming up with a licensing company that agreed to shop my songs around for television and film. One day I checked my email and the offer for the Volkswagen advertisement was there and of course, I approved! That was one of the most exciting days of my life.
You also went to Bali to build a home for local families using some of the profits from the campaign, what was that like?
I’ve been helping my taxi driver in Bali build his home. It felt very natural to give to a family in need, especially since I had the resources to fill that void. I am very spiritual, so in a lot of ways, I felt as though our meeting was bound to happen. This experience has inspired me to continue doing things like this for the remainder of my life. Be the change you want to see in the world, right?
Your an avid activist, America as a whole has a lot of political and racial tension. How does your music reflect this?
My biggest message is self-accountability and self-determination. We can sit on the couch and talk about politics all day and frown about what's going on in The White House, but what are WE doing to change our lives? I’m tired of waiting for the perfect president or for the perfect law to be passed. My next single, ‘Splintered’, is all about going within to find the answers instead of seeking guidance from people who are flawed just like the rest of us.
What topics can fans expect to hear on your upcoming debut album?
Love lost, love found. Hope lost, hope found. And, waking up to our innate power.
So what challenges have you faced as an artist?
The biggest challenge I have faced as an artist is accepting myself. I am my toughest critic and I am not immune to insecurities. It’s not always easy to be an open book for everyone to read. I’ve had to get over things like stage fright and feeling awkward in front of a camera. It is still an ongoing journey to fully embrace who I am without holding back or without doubting myself.
What do you hope to achieve through your music?
To remind people that we are all connected. Once that realization truly sets in, I believe that the way we interact with each other and the way we interact with the world around us will radically change.
What contributes to your creativity apart from music?
The polarities of life. The ups and the downs. The way that there is no good without bad.
What music inspired you the most growing up?
Folk music...but that happened in my late teens.
What’s been your biggest achievement so far?
My songs have been on two television shows within the past 12 months and it honestly feels like I’m watching all of my childhood dreams come true. To hear my song play on TV still feels so surreal, but it also validates for me that I’m living the life I was meant to live and that my hard work is paying off.
What ideas changed your life?
The idea that we are the ones who create our reality. If we want something to be changed whether in our lives or in the world, it has to start from within.
What is the worst thing you have a reputation for?
I tend to dominate conversations a lot. Especially in intellectual debates. I am trying to become a better listener and I’m learning to take the back seat sometimes.
And last but not least where do you get your current news from?
I stay updated on current events online. Social media mostly, honestly. It’s almost impossible to not know what’s going on in the age of information
Make sure to follow and listen to Aisha here.