Au/Ra’s first audience held just two people: her parents. Due to crippling stage fright and overall anxiety, singing to anyone other than Mom and Dad was just too daunting. Truthfully, her father, producer and DJ Torsten Stenzel, wasn’t initially keen on his daughter following his footsteps into the music industry, but… now? Good luck getting Au/Ra off any stage.
Most recently, on April 19, the single “Assassin” was released, followed by a music video that features Au/Ra alone in a room, slowly introducing a masked figure crawling toward her.”Once you let that anxiety take over, you tend to just not act like yourself,” she observes. “That’s really what ‘Assassin’ is about: not acting like yourself and just ruining situations for yourself without really meaning to. That’s definitely something I will continue to talk about in my music because I think it’s really important to talk about the things we all go through.”
“Assassin” also serves as the unofficial sequel to “Panic Room,” a track originally released on February 9, 2018. Eventually, “Panic Room” was remixed alongside British DJ duo CamelPhat and amassed 55 million worldwide streams and spent nine weeks in the UK Top 40 charts, per press release. That said, each track is meant to portray a little individual world of its own, delivered meticulously.
“Using metaphors and singing songs like stories helps me be more creative with the language that I’m using,” she explains of her decision on when to write from personal experience and when to take a more fictional approach. “It allows you to look at it from a different perspective. Like, oh, if it wasn’t me if it was this character in this movie that was feeling this way, what would they be saying?”
In a way, Au/Ra is a fictional character. Around 12 or 13 years old, she was writing fanfiction about Lord of the Rings and named a character Aura. She grew attached to the character, so the next natural step was to make Au/Ra her stage name.
Fiction is simply more fun than reality, but she is not at all afraid to confront harsh realities. Overall, the main thread throughout her music is that all emotions can and are meant be to felt, and that’s perfectly OK.
Over the past couple of years, Au/Ra has toured along the side of the likes of Lewis Capaldi, Tove Styrke, Nina Nesbitt, Eden, and Alma. The opening slot taught her to give the same show regardless of how many people are in the audience.
“I am pretty proud of myself that I can actually not be a nervous wreck on stage anymore,” she says, calling back to her grade school memory. “I definitely am a lot on the inside, but I think I’ve now learned to kind of just let go and have fun and not worry too much about everything because there’s so much you can worry about. Like millions of scenarios.”
One thing she does not worry about at all is her age. Yes, she is 17 years old. No, that is not what she wants you to associate with her. If your biggest takeaway after listening to her songs is how old the person is who made them, then you’ve missed the point entirely. That would be a shame, too, because she has a very poignant point.
“It’s probably just realizing how humanity isn’t perfect,” she says. “It definitely helps to know that everybody else is going through the same thing as well.” – she proceeds “I think that’s something that I’ve really enjoyed doing with my music is just sharing that I’m going through this, and if you’re going through this as well, then that makes it less scary for you and for me.”
Au/Ra will have her biggest platform yet to deliver that message as her first headlining tour begins today. For full touring schedule and tickets, please check her website, here.