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In My Feelings: Interview with Aja from RuPaul's Drag Race

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The queen of ‘levelling her pussy up’ Aja has risen to superstardom since her appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race: Season 9.

Rapidly growing from a reality TV star on the show to a powerhouse of talent in fashion, beauty, and performance, Aja returned to the franchise less than a year later on All Stars 3 to slay challenges and show the full breadth of her talents.

Shortly after, Aja launched her music career with her rap track Finish Her, a single off her upcoming EP, In My Feelings. With this album, she is joining the wave of drag queens including Trixie Mattel, Shea Coulee, Sharon Needles and many more who are producing hit albums for the masses. To say that Aja is unstoppable is an understatement.

Aja chatted with us about her newest single Brujería, being a musician, and the inspirations behind, In My Feelings.

 

Have you always wanted to be a musician?

I’ve always wanted to be a rapper and a lyricist. Every time I would listen to music I could break down the stems in my mind and boost the parts I liked the most in the song.

When I was younger I always found myself bopping to the strangest beats coming up with these terrible raps that didn’t make any sense. Over time it was easier for me to write because I had more experiences to write about and more references to draw inspiration from. 

Who are your music inspirations? 

My music inspirations are always changing. As an artist, I think it’s important to switch it up now and then. That’s how major artists such as Beyoncé keep us on our toes. Right now, my music is heavily based on my life and general experiences. I want my first round of music that gets released to the world to tell everyone about who I am. I’m fun, I’m smart, I’m crazy and weird but I’ve also been through a lot of things that have shaped me to be this way. 

 

How has your upbringing and ethnic background inspired your sound and lyrics?

I’m North African/Arab, and Middle Eastern with a little swish of French in there.  I was adopted and raised in a Latina household so I wasn’t really aware of my identity until I was told I was adopted. When I got older I wanted to know where my roots resided so I took several DNA tests. My DNA is heavily concentrated in places like Morocco, Egypt, Libya, some Senegal and a few other countries from West Africa. My ethnicity does play an inspiration in my sound because my struggles are reflected through metaphor in my lyrics - but in the future, I would love to do a track that really embodies my ethnicity. 

Tell us what inspired ‘Finish Her’?

Finish Her was my personal breakthrough to get over the hate I was receiving from toxic fandom, people within my industry, and even the hate I had for myself. It was basically me imagining myself in a video game, defeating my inner and outer demons. It was me evolving from just a reality TV star drag queen to being able to pursue my dream as a recording artist.  

You have been posting on social media the process of putting together the music video for Brujería, and a few months ago you published the video for Finish Her – can you explain the process of coming up with concepts for your music videos? 

The process of coming up with music video concepts that correlate to the video comes naturally to me. It’s all about telling a story that can be told through the song but also with visuals. In my upcoming music video, you will see a lot of symbolism, including how I believe syncretic religions can be looked at in the media. I feel like a lot of practices from Africa that were brought to America and the Caribbean are looked at as satanic worship. In the video, there is a girl running from us because she thinks we are evil, but at the end, we welcome her so we can teach her to live in peace.

I also wanted an excuse to pull out all the great fashion. I love incorporating a mixture of different looks into my videos. I appear in my videos in and out of drag. I do that to show the dichotomy in my persona. Aja is not binary by any means. So, I feel like it’s only necessary to show different forms that I can present in. I hope to be able to continue making these music videos and showing my creative visions!

 

How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard your music?

My music is like if an art student became a rapper. It’s hood, yet intellectual. It’s expressive. My sound is always going to change because I’m always drawing my inspiration from different places. But most of all, my music is a story, with a sick beat.

Is there anything else you’d like fans to know about the album?

I want fans to know that this album has my entire heart and soul in it and I’m sharing every little piece of myself with the world. There’s a lot of pain and sorrow yet happiness that is going into this EP. That’s why it’s called In My Feelings. The overall theme is dichotomy and how it is possible to feel opposite emotions at once. There are times in life where you’ll be happy and sad at the same time and you really can’t explain how or why. The only real way to explain it is to write music and release it, and that’s what I’m doing.  

Aja’s EP, In My Feelings, featuring Finish Her, Brujería, and other tracks will be available May 11th and is available on iTunes now.

 

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