6 September 2021

Aziya

Who's that girl? Meet the Londoner changing the face of alternative music.

Born Aziya Aldridge-Moore but now performing mononymously as Aziya, this Londoner is changing the face of rock. At just 21 years old, she’s already received cosigns from H.E.R and has carved out a multifaceted niche as a producer-singer-songwriter and musical polymath (she plays piano, guitar and drums). Always looking to expand her repertoire, during lockdown she started up her well-received Osmo-Sis and Across The Tracks livestream series, which saw her dive into expressive covers sessions and interview musicians like Master Peace.

Her raw lyricism and unique brand of guitar music were evidenced to full effect earlier this year thanks to debut EP We Speak of Tides, an exploration of the shifting relationships and sense of self that are innate to growing up and developing as human being in a chaotic world. With a never-ending creative appetite and bold outlook on the world, Aziya is shaking up the music world and shows no signs of stopping soon.

HUNGER caught up with the genre-defying talent to talk about her enduring love of Blondie, why being a self-professed “control freak” helped her hone her production skills, and what needs to be done to support emerging artists. 

Full look by GIVENCHY.

Which artists did you listen to growing up?

Living in a household where a huge range of music was being played, from System of a Down to Blondie to J Dilla meant I wasn’t deterred from listening to a lot. As I got into college, I went on a psych rock discovery and found bands like CAN and artists like Ebo Taylor, as well as rediscovering my love of artists like Patti Smith and Stevie Nicks.

 

A long-time music obsessive then! When did you start making music yourself?

As soon as I was given my first guitar I started writing songs, whether or not they were good is another thing! Then I wanted to learn how to produce, so at 15 I started producing demos and little ideas [to eventually make] full-bodied tracks that I could sing over.

 

How would you describe your sound?

I produce songs that I would want Debbie Harry to sing, Prince to co-produce and John Bonham to drum on!

 

You’re a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer. What pushed you to develop so many creative skills?

To be brutally honest, because I’m a control freak! I just have very specific ideas that I hear in my head, that sometimes are difficult to communicate. So I learnt how to play and produce so I could do it myself.

All clothing by FENG CHEN WANG and shoes by MIISTA.

As guitar music reenters the zeitgeist, many people are grappling with what were some of its more problematic aspects in the past. Nowadays, would you perceive alternative or rock music to have an issue around gatekeeping?

I would say alt and rock is a locked door with a really badly fitted Chubb lock on it, you just need to learn how to break it. Or better yet, make your own house! I hope the analogy isn’t too deep…

 

What do you think needs to be done to help support greener musicians as they enter the industry?

Learning how to do invoices! This is a business too, its kind of important to keep that on your mind when you’re emerging as a new artist.

 

Does the idea of songwriting as therapy resonate with you? 

Hell yeah. A lot of songs I write have been cathartic processes for me. My track “Blood” for example is about a family member and realising how it feels like there are no loyalties or sense of a bond between us, and a confusion as to why that is. As soon as I wrote it, I started to work out what I needed to say to that person. Now, we’re closer than ever.

 

How has the internet factored into your come-up as an artist so far?

It’s played a huge role in helping me find my audience, specifically during the pandemic. I was literally on my way to play The Windmill in Brixton when Boris announced bars and pubs were closed! I think that sudden prevention of gigs definitely pushed me to try and think of ways to reach out online to my audience. By taking the live element of my music on social media it opened up what I’m doing to a whole range of fans.

Body and skirt by MARNI and top by DELADA.

Body and skirt by MARNI, top by DELADA and boots by ABRA.

As guitar music reenters the zeitgeist, many people are grappling with some of its more problematic elements. Nowadays, would you perceive alternative or rock music to have an issue around gatekeeping?

I would say alt and rock is a locked door with a really badly fitted Chubb lock on it, you just need to learn how to break it. Or better yet, make your own house! I hope the analogy isn’t too deep…

 

What do you think needs to be done to help support greener musicians as they enter the industry?

Learning how to do invoices! This is a business too, its kind of important to keep that on your mind when you’re emerging as a new artist.

 

Does the idea of songwriting as therapy resonate with you? 

Hell yeah. A lot of songs I write have been cathartic processes for me. My track “Blood” for example is about a family member and realising how it feels like there are no loyalties or sense of a bond between us, and a confusion as to why that is. As soon as I wrote it, I started to work out what I needed to say to that person. Now, we’re closer than ever.

 

How has the internet factored into your come-up as an artist so far?

It’s played a huge role in helping me find my audience, specifically during the pandemic. I was literally on my way to play The Windmill in Brixton when Boris announced bars and pubs were closed! I think that sudden prevention of gigs definitely pushed me to try and think of ways to reach out online to my audience. By taking the live element of my music on social media it opened up what I’m doing to a whole range of fans.

Photographer Leanda Heler
Stylist Felipe Mendez
Makeup Artist Emily Wood at Creatives Agency
Hair Stylist Kieron Fowles
Writer Megan Wallace
Stylist Assistant Marc Salas

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