Updated: Aug 29, 2019
This next ambitious artist traveled a long way from home to pursue her dreams in D.C. Although she’s new to the game, there’s no doubting her work ethic, skills, and determination to make it to the top! The Neo Elite presents to you, the beautiful powerful upcoming R&B artist, Ajia [Asia].
Ajia is originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and moved to D.C. in early 2018. Growing up, music wasn’t an everyday thing for her, but she initially found her start in church at the age of eight. “I never thought I could sing until my mother and sister pointed it out,” she stated. After realizing Ajia’s talent, her mother advised Ajia to join their local church’s youth choir. “I enjoyed it, but the youth choir only sang once a month, and I wanted to sing every Sunday,” she stated. With Ajia’s eagerness and willingness, she was soon able to join the adult choir a year later. She then recalls her first performance, "I was nervous, but I was surrounded by people I knew and loved, which gave me comfort."
Apart from the church, talent shows, and being a four-sport athlete. During high school, she joined the A cappella choir, which created a lasting impression on Ajia's artistry. “I learned about classical music, sight-reading, breathing, etc. It made me realize it's more to music than just what you hear.” Throughout school, she recalls being asked “What do you want to do?” Ajia would always reply “I want to be a singer and a lawyer.” However, as she got older many teachers would tell her to choose one and be realistic. These conversations soon led to Ajia questioning her aspirations to become a singer. Coming from a smaller city she never thought making a living off music was an option. “Growing up in a smaller city, and not seeing artists emerge from Pine Bluff, I didn't think it was possible for that to happen for me” she stated.
However, after graduating from the University of Arkansas, Ajia made the decision to make the
“Illogical” move to the nation’s capital. Ajia selected D.C and became intrigued to follow her dreams after witnessing her friend leave Arkansas to attend Howard University. “I was always thinking small and in comfortable parameters, but she showed me it was possible,” she stated. Speaking of Howard University, apart from her musical career, Ajia has plans on attending Howard Univ. School of Law this upcoming fall.
Not only is she focusing on education, but since she’s been in D.C. Ajia has turned to social media, particularly Instagram, to express her talents. Posting covers started off as a way Ajia can get tunes out of her head. Though now she strives to keep consistent content, and has been posting covers every two weeks since January. “Music makes sense, it makes me happy and I enjoy it,” Ajia stated.
On her Instagram, she has done many covers of artists that have inspired her, like Beyoncé. Ajia grew up listening to Destiny’s Child, as well as a lot of older music due to her older sister. “I love Beyoncé,” she exclaimed. She also pulls inspiration from soulful artists like Tori Kelly, Priscilla Renea, Anita Baker, Jade Novah, Jessie J, the late Whitney Houston, in addition to many more. In all, two characteristics that sit well with Ajia is they all possess a determined work ethic and a vast capacity of creativity.
When it comes to her musical style as a new artist, Ajia is in the process of finding her unique technique. However, she stated, “When I do settle on it, I like all genres of music whether it’s country or hip-hop; this will ultimately express my versatility by taking pieces from each.” Ajia then admitted her playlist validates the idea that she enjoys all genres, and in a car full of people, you won’t see her on the aux.
Regarding the DMV music scene, Ajia is fresh in the game and the area, but has heard a lot. “One thing I hear frequently is the idea that people don’t support the local artists, and most artists gain more support from other states,” she stated. However, Ajia has received a considerable amount of support. She's also fascinated and appreciates the Go-Go scene in DC. “From the culture, the rhythm, and the feeling you get while listening to go-go, it’s truly distinct."
Two years from now, Ajia has a goal to sing backup for various artists. By doing so, she believes it will give her space to learn and make connections in the industry. She would also like to open for R&B artists and enhance her knowledge on producing and composing. “I’m learning to play the guitar right now, so in the coming years I hope to be pretty good,” she stated.
Aside from music, Ajia finds an immense amount of interest in traveling and sports. Her top travel trip to this point has been Dubai. “I went with people I didn’t know who were all from the UK. The trip was amazing along with the people; I learned so much about the culture; in all, it was a humbling experience.”
Ajia is also a basketball trainer, as well as a basketball coach, and has been coaching for a few years. She further enjoys reading, writing, and exercising. “Exercising balances me regardless of my frustration/feelings; It’s something I need to get my day started.” As she is still fairly fresh to the area, being away from her big family gives her many moments of isolation. “Being alone, I’ve now become accustomed to being a homebody, but I really appreciate solitude and the idea of recharging.”
When it comes to advice for aspiring artists, Ajia would tell them to just do it. “Whether just do it means to book studio time or sing at open mics.” Don’t put things off because you’re too busy paying attention to other people's lives. “Whatever you have, is what you need, just take that leap of faith,” Ajia stated. Personally, she has struggled worrying about others who have great branding or managers. In the end, she stated, “Once I started trying with effort and not worrying, things happened.” In all, “Just do it!”
Read more about Ajia with a closer look below.
Who would win in a dance battle Chris Brown or Usher?
Chris Brown would win! Usher is a legend and is underrated, but I’m sticking with Chris. He just has that extra spark of energy.
You won’t see Usher doing backflips etc.
If you can hang out with any celebrity for a full day, who would it be and why?
I would really love to hang out with Beyoncé, but I’m not mentally prepared for that.
Therefore, I would hang out with Priscilla Renea. I enjoy her music and writing style. In addition, I would love to learn about her inspirations and who she is as a person.
What’s one of your biggest pet peeves?
My biggest pet peeve deals with individuals who make everything about themselves.
You could be having a hard day, and all they want to talk about is them.
If you didn't have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
If I didn’t have to sleep, I would travel and eat; I enjoy eating anything with shrimp!
What movie can you watch over and over again?
I can watch Disney’s ‘Mulan’ at any time; I have watched it plenty of times in my lifetime, and I’m not even old!
What song do you currently have on replay?
‘Let you go’ by Samoht. I listen to that song all the time, every single day because I can relate to it. Samoht has an amazing voice, furthermore, the lyrics and the vocal arrangement on the song are exceptional.
Magnified Topic of the Week: Ajia’s “Ari Lennox Mash Up”
Ajia tackles and conquers DC native Ari Lennox ‘Shea Butter Baby, feat. J. Cole, ‘BMO,' and ‘Broke’ feat. JID in a splendid mashup! After learning about Ari Lennox before her stardom, and the release of her critically acclaimed album ‘Shea Butter Baby.'
Ajia one day got into her car, played the album, and admitted: “It was fire!” She stated, “Ari is amazing, and no songs sounded the same on the album.”
Later on, she then selected her favorites, as well as popular singles, and created a mashup with ease and grace!
Watch/Listen to Ajia’s exceptional performance below!
Written by Dejah Moné