azusena’s musical influences are as hard to place as her accent. born in new york and raised in liverpool to an american mother and english/iranian father, she tells me how as a family they were always travelling back and forth. it’s quite fitting then that music was a rare constant growing up, as now, finding her feet on the tour circuit, azusena looks like she has it licked; having married her passion for both performing and seeing the world into a very (en)viable career.
treading the line between mellow and ethereal, azusena’s sound is minimalist without skimping on soaring, sublime vocals. “i get nervous talking in between songs – like, it’s something i almost forget about doing. i’ll introduce the song and stuff like that but i really don’t want to talk too much. i like people to form their own interpretations of my music and be made to feel things” she explains.
azusena’s performances sound an immersive experience in that sense. we talk about the idea of music being a vehicle for communication (political or otherwise) versus a form of escapism. “i feel like if you have something to say on a specific matter and you feel strongly about it you should definitely say it through music. there are things in my own songs for example that relate to how we treat people – which I think is a very universal message in the current climate.”
on other artists she admires, bass player jaco pastorius is cited without hesitation. “i just find him so cool to watch, the way he’s just so engrossed in playing. grace jones is one of my favourites too.” in terms of her own ambitions, azusena enthuses “i believe in working, keeping yourself fluid and always learning from everything you do. i guess the goal right now is just to see how far it can grow and evolve.”
although now writing and touring full-time, azusena reveals various past employments that have sustained her, including working in a betting shop and waitressing as well as the perhaps more glamorous past-times of selling her own photographs and paintings. it’s unsurprising then when it transpires that she painted the cover for the latest single herself and is now contemplating doing the same for future releases.
having come out in november, azusena’s aforementioned recent offering goes by the name of ‘crosby’ and joins the hazy Clever Gains as a blissed-out track that nods to the 90s – lethargically euphoric and drenched in waves of synth. “i’m really pleased with the reception it’s had. i’ve had it for over a year and a half so it’s really exciting to finally put it out there. i do have a vision in mind for an album but i’ve learnt when you let a song go, it takes on a life of its own. crosby is just like a first chapter of what’s to come.”
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Words by Tilda Bywater