The moving new single from New York-born singer-songwriter Aisha Badru titled ‘Bridges’ will no doubt stick to your head. Accompanied by an equally heartfelt music video directed by Nathan Presley, the track follows the success of ‘Mind on Fire’, which has gained over 5 million streams on Spotify, and both songs will appear on Aisha’s upcoming debut album to be released this spring via Nettwerk Music Group. It’s striking how much genuine emotion she evokes with a simple, atmospheric indie-folk instrumental and intimate vocals, and the song becomes a quiet anthem for sticking through.
We caught up with Aisha to talk about her new single and upcoming album.
How and when did you start writing music?
I wrote my first song when I was in the 5th grade. I was on the phone with my best friend and I’m not sure how it happened, but I started singing lyrics to her and we ended up performing it at our school talent show that year. It wasn’t until my senior year in high school that I began writing again and it wasn’t until I dropped out of college until I really started taking it serious.
When did you decide you wanted to share your songs with the world?
During my third year of college, I started to reflect about if I was really happy in life and if I was really following my heart. When I realized that I was only in school to make my parents happy, I secretly stopped going, bought a guitar and taught myself how to play from watching Youtube tutorials. I was so shy that I never imagined I would share my songs with anyone other than my bedroom walls, but my oldest brother eventually pushed me to start performing at open mics in NYC.
Could you talk about your experience of traveling to Bali?
Bali is one of the most magical places in the world, but it seems as though only tourists get the opportunity to fully enjoy all that it has to offer. When I asked my taxi driver to show me “authentic Bali”, he took me to his village where I saw that his home didn’t have doors or a roof. He and his daughters were sleeping on a mattress on a concrete floor, while I was staying at a luxurious hotel that only cost me $30 a night. This experience opened my eyes and inspired me to be a part of the solution for the many troubles that the tourism industry imposes on developing countries. I’ve donated $3000 to his family to help them finish building their home and I’ve also started a GoFundMe for the remaining costs (https://www.gofundme.com/build-home-in-bali). Any donation is greatly appreciated.
How do you think ‘Bridges’ is different from your previous releases?
‘Bridges’ was the first song that had full production, so it was totally different from my previous releases. I worked with music producer, Chris Hutchison, from the UK, and he added lots of electronic and atmospheric touches that I think melded beautifully with my style.
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When I heard the line “I’ve got scars by great white sharks” it brought to mind Lorde’s ‘Green Light’. Were there any artists that influenced the approach you took on the track?
Ironically, I don’t listen to a lot of music. My writing style is largely influenced by my love of literature. Beautifully written novels, poems, and screenplays have contributed to the way my lyrics are vivid and figurative.
How is activism connected to your music? Do you separate the two or are you looking forward to bringing it more into your songwriting with future releases?
As I am growing as a person and seeing more of the world for what it really is, naturally the content of my lyrics are also evolving. My experience as a human is connected to both my activism and my music, so I imagine there will be more socially conscious releases in the future along with releases regarding the many other varied experiences of life.