Haitian Artist Azia Releases Powerful Music for Change
We met up with new artist, Azia during her Labor Day Weekend Tour, which included a series of shows at local venues in New York City and a live performance on the Haitian Allstarz and WBAI 99.5 FM truck, at the West Indian American Day Carnival. We started off our interview with a brief conversation about fashion and we quickly moved into an in-depth conversation about life, music, politics and societal dividers. It was clear that the 22 year old, Virginia State University alumnus, mastered the art of communication and now wants to use music as a platform to educate and empower. In this article, check out the World Premiere of her video for “Pull Up On Ya,” followed by an up-close and personal interview. More After The Jump…
World Premiere of Azia -“Pull Up On Ya”
“We don’t do Black Magic”
Angel: Bless up Azia! You had the best Carnival look yesterday. Loved the embroidery and cheerleader skirt with the metallic nails and blonde hair.
Azia: Yes I love the way blonde hair constrasts with my complexion. I just love blonde hair and anything iridescent so the nails and jewels; and of course I had the red and blue colors representing Haiti.
Angel: So you are from Haiti?
Azia: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, but my mom is Haitian and my father is Trinidadian.
Angel: Same here only that my mom is from Barbados and dad is from Trinidad. I think it is so great to grow up with diverse influences.
Azia: Yes, I love my heritage and I was so proud to represent for Haiti this year at the West Indian American Carnival with the Haitian Allstarz and WBAI.
Angel: Have you visited Haiti or Trinidad?
Azia: Not yet, but I plan to as soon as I can.
Angel: You would love Carnival in Trinidad.
Azia: Thats my goal to do Carnival in Haiti and Trinidad for 2018. I can’t wait.
Angel: I know you will get there, especially with this great music you released and the visual. Before we discuss this, how did you come to music?
Azia: Well I grew up with a studio in the home because my dad is a producer, so when I was 4 I started to show an interest in music and my dad began to groom me for a career in music. But when I became a teenager, I would kinda hide and do music away from home because I did not want my dad to shape the artist I was trying to become. I wanted to be free to go in my own direction. But as time passed, I realized I should probably work with my dad, Faroah Black, Brent Touissant of Sphinx Music because he built a studio outside of the home. At first, he was really strict with me and harder on me than the other artist he worked with and he did not want me to speak out of turn or curse. He was very opinionated and there was a lot of censoring of my work. But overtime, he let me be more free and that really strengthened our personal relationship as well as the flow of the music. Now we just have such a dope relationship. My mom and Aunt also help to promote my music.
Angel: It must be great to work so closely with your family with the music you are obviously passionate about. Great support system.
Azia: It is, it keeps me grounded and I just feel really happy to be around them. Especially since I have been doing music for awhile. I was part of a trio, then a duo and then another duo, and solo; but now I really feel like I found my sound as a solo artitst.
Angel: How would you describe your musical sound?
Azia: My music can be described as “Ra Ra” or Hip Hop. It has elements of Hip Hop, Trap, Pop and R&B.
Angel: Who are artists that influence your music?
Azia: I love classic music. My favorite, favorite is Sade then Kanye West. I love Jay-Z and Lil Kim, it’s a Brooklyn thang. I also love Beyonce, Travis Scott and Pharrell. I meet the later two but I have yet to meet the others, saw Jay Z in passing at an event, but right now I really would love to meet Lil Kim. I hope she hears my music. How could I forget? I met Slick Rick and I totally fanned out.
Angel: What do you mean you fanned out? You fainted?
Azia: Nah but I felt light headed and all of that.
Angel: I understand the original storyteller, I would probably be the same way. When his music plays people like know the lyrics word for word.
Azia: Exactly, how you mean. Holy shit I met a legend, a Guru!
Angel: You pulled up on him. Is “Pull Up On Ya” your first single?
Azia: I would say it’s my first major single as a solo artist.
Angel: The song is very hip hop but in conjunction with the creole and visual there is a merger of cultures. How did you come up with the lyrics?
Azia: I always remembered when I told people I was Haitian growing up – it’s like people would mention Voodoo and start to make fun. There were weird negative connotations attached to being Haitian and to Voodoo. But Voodoo is not bad. There is good and bad in everything. They have Popes that rape children. The same respect people have for Judaism or Islam or Christianity or Catholicism, should exist for Voodoo. But why is this not the case? Voodoo is a set of African rituals it parallels Santeria and Ancient Eygtians who believe in more than one God. In slavery, Christianity was used to oppress but some slaves stuck to their cultural roots and the slave owners labeled Voodoo as “Black Magic.” Haiti was the first country to gain independence, and this was one of the places where Voodoo practices were widely used and gave people the strength to revolt. We don’t do Black Magic! All of us on earth are spiritual in some way. I had a christening and I was confirmed as a person with a Haitian background.
“All of us on earth are spiritual in some way.”
Angel: I appreciate your point of view which transcended well in the video. All the symbolism and even the Intro commanded attention. You rarely see hip hop videos with this type of spiritual depth, especially these days.
Azia: The song features Azor and in the intro he is delivering a call and response before a Voodoo seance. The director, Roaring Lion then fused this ceremony with aspects of Mas including haitian flags and stilts, for a cultural emulsion.
Angel: The cross cultural aspect of the visual was very effective for the message you wanted to propagate. What’s next for you?
Azia: Right now I am working on my EP and continuing to build my fan base.
Angel: You have everything it takes and we want to thank you for sharing your music with Boomshots Magazine.
Azia: Thank You, Thank You, I am so grateful to have this recognition right at the beginning of my musical journey as a solo artist. Thank you Angel.
Subscribe to Boomshots TV