E.P, Albums and Singles Guest Writers Emilyjanewoolleyvass  


For US singer/songwriter Akira there was always a desire to immerse himself within the realm of entertainment, inspired by Shakira (witness his name – a play on hers) his first love was dance where he would spend endless hours learning choreography and performing for school peers. He says: ‘it was around the age of 13 that I knew I wanted to do something within entertainment.’ However, at the age of 16/17 he hung up his dancing shoes to set his sights on singing and he hasn’t looked back since. ‘It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that I stepped into a professional studio for the first time to begin recording. That experience was when I knew I wanted to definitely make this my life.’


For his distinct sound it was interesting to discover who he draws inspiration from, ‘I am inspired by a variety of artists such as Lady Gaga, Shakira and Sia.’ He notes his admiration for the female artists due to their songwriting, although he also identifies acts such as Years and Years as well as Clean Bandit for offering influence in their quality of production, ‘I have come to really appreciate the production that has gone into those artists work, I find the sounds all come together to evoke all different emotions.’ When referring to his personal crafting of material he really values the process, ‘For me, a song comes together when the lyrics and melodies are crafted. The instruments and further production simply encapsulate the words.’ Akira should be an expert now when it comes to songwriting as he has been writing and producing his own music for 10 years, something he cannot believe has been that long – ‘It really doesn’t feel that long! God saying that makes me sound like some kind of industry veteran. I don’t feel that way though as I know I have so much more to offer and create, therefore I am excited about my new EP Pearl and a larger scale project I have coming up.’


A lot of artists in the present industry had a designated path that they constructed and set out to embark on to reach where they are now, but Akira says this was not the case for his journey. He explains that although he knew the general outline involved in the process of infiltrating the industry, he didn’t feel comfortable with the waiting game it entailed. ‘I’ve never been comfortable with doing that because it puts my fate and my worth in someone else’s hands.’ This attitude led to Akira once finishing college finding a job in NYC to pay for day to life as well as studio time, this enabled him to release his first EP Autotune + Heart  on his own terms. He feels this was important, ‘I created my own because I did not want to wait for someone to discover me offhand. I didn’t follow a path, I made my own because at the core of it I feel like the truly happy/successful artists create their own ways forward.’ It is undeniable that Akira has a lot of self determination to push him further forward.


A lot of artists draw inspiration from relationships when writing songs and this is certainly the case for Akira, as he notes that both his friendships and romantic relationships are touched upon within this lyrics. Interestingly another source found within his music are themes or characters from comics/cartoons. He explains, ‘The character and their situation inspire the sound (key) that I would choose to write in, as well as advise on the supporting lyrics if there are keywords associated with the character. My first EP Autotune + Heart  was inspired by characters from Marvel comics: Black bolt, Medusa and Scarlet Witch.’ His upcoming second EP Pearl takes direct inspiration from a character within the cartoon show Steven Universe and her lost love for the character Rose Quartz. Akira feels that comics and cartoons are very relatable so work well in his songs, ‘I find within these larger than life comic and cartoon characters there are themes and traits that everyone can identify with and that is what I aim to put forth in my music.’


When asked to summarise his EP Autotune + Heart within 3 words, the songwriter deems it as purposeful, quiet and thematic: ‘It is purposeful because the lyrics were written and refined in a way to make sure that anyone listening could identify with what I was singing about, right down to the absence of gender pronouns. It is quiet due to the lack of loud dance type elements used in the past as i really wanted the lyrics to shine and be thought about. Lastly, it is thematic as I have Synesthesia, so I wanted to make sure that the instrumental, lyrical content and visuals all matched up with what I was hearing.’


For Akira the music scene within the US is ‘as diverse as you want it to be. Like with any country’s music scene, if you go looking for the type of music you like then you will most likely find it and surround yourself with it.’ He personally is a lover and student of pop music and for a long time this was a predominant genre within the US with the likes of Lady Gaga, however he feels this slipped away to allow the growth of the rap, hip hop and RnB scene. An element of the ever changing scene in the US that has got Akira excited is the wave of 90s pop nostalgia that is taking place, ‘I can’t say exactly where I fit into that but I make sure to make and incorporate as many elements of pop music from the past as well as present in order to hit all my bases for listeners.’ His engagement with listeners is an element that he perceives as important and he like every artist holds intentions for what his fans will extract from his music. ‘I want my listeners to gain a sense of empathy. All of my music is intentionally written to be viewed from another’s point of view, I intend for people to think of how my music and lyrics apply to others.’
The future is an exciting prospect for Akira, with current work on his upcoming second EP entitled Pearl expected to be released in fall. He anticipates this EP to showcase a new body of work; ‘ With this EP I really get to branch out and experiment with different sounds, so I am really excited to show off what I have been working on for the past 2 years!’


Words Kerri Marie Lacey

Interview with Akira ( Images by Tom Stewart)

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