"I wrote ‘Who's Gonna Love You’ with an all-female team. That was a first for me."
At the age of sixteen, Toronto-based Aja Neinstein is turning heads in the music scene. Her newly released sophomore single ‘Who’s Gonna Love You’ navigates toxic relationships with sass, with killer vocal range and soft vocals referencing the pop and R’n’B vocalists of the 2000s. FUZZY caught up with AJA to chat about her new track, Grateful Dead, and her plans for the future.
FUZZY: Hi AJA! Congrats on the release of 'Who's Gonna Love You.' How has it been received?
Thank you! I've been getting great feedback. I am really excited about this release. I wrote ‘Who's Gonna Love You’ with an all-female team. That was a first for me. I am going to be releasing a Remix featuring Pressa. He sounds amazing on it, and I can't wait to share that in the coming weeks.
FUZZY: It's been described as being about "realizing that a person is wrong for you and you are better off without them." Could you elaborate on this? How does this message manifest itself in your music?
I learned a lot about myself when I realized I was focusing on someone who was not right for me. I was not being treated the way I wanted to be and it took up too much headspace. Once I moved on, I realized how much better I felt about myself. I wouldn't trade this experience and luckily the two of us are friends now. When I wrote this song, it was still fresh and made writing it feel real! I think most people can relate to being with the wrong person. It feels good to move on.
FUZZY: You were brought up on a "classic diet" of rock and jazz. What kind of artists did this encompass?
My dad drove me to school every day and he is a huge Grateful Dead fan. He would constantly play the Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, The Band, Bob Dylan, etc. What blows me away is that Grateful Dead never played two shows the same - their setlist changed daily. I don't think musicians like this exist today. I would love to tour and be able to change my show daily. In terms of jazz, I grew up singing from a young age and I have always loved to push myself vocally. To me, jazz is unique, not necessarily trendy, which I love. No two artists sound the same - each has their own distinct tone and style. I grew up listening to Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and many others.
FUZZY: What have you been listening to recently? Any top summer picks for FUZZY?
I have actually had a few songs on repeat: ‘Something Special’ by Popsmoke, ‘Nerve’ by ME, ‘2 On’ by Tinashe, ‘Rover’ by S1mba, ‘Comeback’ by Jojo.
FUZZY: What does the future of AJA look like? Any plans for some more singles, or an EP?
I've got the remix of ‘Who's Gonna Love You’ coming, a remix package for Nerve, and I am planning on releasing maybe another single before I drop an EP. I've been writing a lot and have been working with some really incredible people. I feel like I have really grown as a writer. I can't wait to get out on tour soon. I really miss touring.
FUZZY: What do you do when you're not making music? I love being social and because I don't have a lot of time because of work, I really try to spend time with friends. I am used to being very busy juggling a crazy schedule.
FUZZY: Finally: if you could only take three albums to a desert island, what would those albums be and why?
Pop Smoke - Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon
Any Grateful Dead album, which would remind me of my dad.
Beyoncé – I AM…SASHA FIERCE. Love her as a vocalist. I would do runs and riffs to this album for days!
Words by Eleanor Noyce.
3rd September 2020.