THE stunning Astha…
has been talking with me about her track, More, and how it came together. I ask about Toronto and whether it plays an important role to her; when music came into her life; if her own material/sound has changed and progressed since the early days – she talks about her first home of Kathmandu (Nepal).
Astha recommends a new artist and gives advice for artists coming through; whether there are tour dates coming up; a special memory from her time in music – Astha ends the interview by picking a song from a great new talent.
Hi, Astha. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey! So busy! We had a really successful pre-listening event for the E.P. yesterday in Toronto. As an independent musician, the grind sure is real!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m Astha; an Alternative Pop singer-songwriter originally from Kathmandu, Nepal and now based in Toronto, Canada. What I’m about (is wanting) to capture complex human emotions in a minimalistic way to create a sonic space of intimacy with my listeners. By welcoming them into my world and my emotions, I hope my audience will feel inspired to express theirs as well and hopefully discover their emotional freedom.
More is your new single. What was it like putting the song together?
More is a song that I hold very close to my heart. My producer, Myles ‘Losh’ Schwartz, and I spent many days in the studio fine-tuning the emotional delivery of the vocals. Since it is such a stripped-down production, it was important for us to focus on the voice being the centre of the song.
I believe you faced tough decisions and felt, at one point, your life was not going according to plan. Is More the rebirth and need to find something better from life?
I wouldn’t necessarily call it a 'rebirth' but more so a self-discovery process. I feel that the song More represents my understanding of what true unconditional love feels like in a relationship. In 2015, through the most random string of fated events, I met someone who hit me like a wave. Have you ever had an unconditional love? I believe that I have found that love and if I can capture even an ounce of that love in my songs I have fulfilled my calling.
How do you think your music has developed and progressed since your early days? Have you felt yourself change as an artist?
I would say that, at my core, I haven’t changed much. What has changed is the amount of life I have lived, which I feel definitely reflects in my music. I feel like I know myself better now? I think for the longest time music was sort of a crutch I relied on to fill a void. Now, I am approaching music from a space of fulfilment. Now, I have a lot more to give!
Toronto seems to be an important place for you. What is about the city that you love?
Toronto is my second home (Kathmandu first). I’m so lucky that I have two cities I can call home. The multiculturalism is what I love the most about Toronto. Everyone here is from somewhere else.
How did music come into your life? Were there particular artists that made you want to go into music?
Music came into my life in the form of songwriting. I started writing songs when I was fourteen and fell in love with the art form instantly. Music is definitely my first love. Artists who had a huge influence on me growing up were songwriters like Ben Harper, Dave Matthews; John Mayer and Alicia Keys.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I hope I continue writing and releasing new music. My biggest fear is that I’d stop writing songs someday. That would be crippling.
Will there be any tour dates? Might you head to the U.K. at all?
The U.K. might be on the list! I did three shows in the U.K. back in 2014 and have been itching to go back ever since! As of right now, my team has secured a few dates for Australia next year.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I remember all the late nights I used to spend writing songs back when I was a teenager. I would pretend to be asleep in my room with all my lights off. I would then use the streetlight that would shine through my window as a light source and stay up all night writing in my notebook. I miss that. I miss writing just for the sake of writing, without the pressure of turning them into studio-quality songs.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Wow. Tough question. I would love to open for James Bay and support him on his tours if I could.
As for the rider: an unlimited supply of warm green tea, please!
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
To be yourself - and not let the industry change you. At the end of the day, all that matters is making music that you feel is true to you.
IN THIS PHOTO: lemin.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
There’s a new artist out of Toronto I just discovered the other day who goes by the name lemin. I love her new song, My Body - “My fingers talk about your hands/My mouth tells me about your lips/My silhouette just won't stop talkin' 'bout your fingers on my hips/It's so loud”. So beautifully written!
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time outdoors; just getting in touch with nature. Being beside any body of water helps me recharge.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Lemin. - My Body