AZRA is a South Korean-born, Bay area-raised, now multidisciplinary Los Angeles based independent artist making waves with more than just her music.
Her new EP, The Chronicles of Substance Pop: The Rebellion, is a chronicle of her artistic and emotional journey – it’s a human experience depicted through music. She has finally accepted who she is, what her ideals are and has let go of all negativity and demons. With this collection of songs, she send the message that the greatest rebellion is being yourself and living your life wholeheartedly and unapologetically. The EP perfectly encapsulates the sound that she’s been trying to find for herself since 2017 and marks the beginning of a new era for AZRA.
Tell us about this EP. What was the inspiration behind it?
My EP called The Chronicles of Substance Pop: The Rebellion is an ultimate pledge to stand up for ourselves and accept that being who you are is where the power and rebellion lies. The inspiration behind this EP began as a diary for myself, reflecting on the artistic journey I’ve been on, the ups and downs I’ve felt, and the lessons and realizations I’ve learned over the years to eventually own who I am fully. I wanted to create a body of work to tell a story of the emotional journey we experience while we are letting go of our past and demons, showing up for ourselves, accepting our deepest vulnerabilities, claiming our powers, and ultimately finding our community to become the best versions of ourselves.
What about this title? How did you come up with it and what about rebellion inspired you?
I came up with the title as a way to capture and tell the story of an aspect of our emotional journey. Just as our lives are never ending chronicles of us searching for meaning and substance, so are the lessons and realizations we gain along the way. I view every single one of my songs as an encapsulation of an emotion, a thought, a lesson, at a specific moment in time. These songs were all about being authentic and embracing who we are in order to break ourselves free and rebel. I feel like we as humans struggle so much to find freedom from the external influences throughout our lives that we actually end up trapping ourselves. With these songs, I wanted to emphasize that the greatest rebellion and freedom is being authentic to ourselves and the rest of the world, no matter the cost. So calling it The Chronicles of Substance Pop: The Rebellion felt just right.
Substance Pop is a genre I created which was inspired from my glaucoma experience. Substance Pop is punk/pop, rock/dance music with heavy 808 beats, belting vocals, melodic melodies, catchy hooks with lyrics that are full of depth and substance. I’ve also always loved trilogies, chronicles, chapters, and volumes in books, movies, and stories, so that probably had to do with my title too 😉
Do you have a song that’s very meaningful for you on this EP?
Every song on the EP means different things to me so it’s hard to just pick one… “6th Dimension” is all about the world I’ve created in my music where you can be who you’ve always wanted to be and burn the bridges behind you that don’t serve you well, “ALL OUT” is a self love anthem to embrace every part of yourself, even the reckless parts while living and giving life to the fullest. “i wish you would cry” is a love letter to encourage ourselves to face our darkest moments and accept the feelings that follow, “Bring Me The Crown” is about owning your path and claiming your personal power. Lastly “Soul Ties” is a song I wrote in Korean and English that reflects my journey of immigrating from Korea to America as a child and finding the people in my life that want to lift you up and want to be around you.
If I had to choose one, I would say “ALL OUT” because this song was the first single I released off of the EP earlier this year and it set the tone and sound I’ve been yearning to find in myself since I started my career. Every time I listen to this song, I am reminded to always give 100%, go all out and be unapologetically fearless about who I am 🙂
Tell us about the 6th dimension
You are invited.
This EP connects the world we live in with the 6th Dimension…
The 6th Dimension is a place, a mindset, a shift in perspective where you can let go of all your inhibitions, be yourself unapologetically, and go after your dreams boldly. My mission through everything I do including music and performances, is to introduce and spread the 6th Dimension. I came up with the “6th Dimension” as a child in South Korea when I was often ridiculed by institutional figures such as teachers, nuns, and adults who said I was too “different” than my peers, that I was standing out too much, and that I should stop challenging the norm. They complained that I was not living in reality and was instead living in “yuek chawon” which translates into “6th Dimension”. This bothered me for a long time and made me think something was wrong with me. However, I never stopped being myself and instead of giving into these societal pressures to conform, I started embracing the 6th Dimension and made it my own little world where differences are celebrated, all things are possible, and began paving my own path towards my dreams. As I got older and started exploring my art, I realized that being in the 6th Dimension is a positive thing and sharing it makes positive impacts on others.
You also wrote books and gave speeches etc. How did you get into that and why is that important to you?
I guess I kind of stumbled into writing a book and giving speeches… I was inspired to write The Cupcake Theory after recovering from an eye condition called juvenile glaucoma where I temporarily lost my right eye sight for about a year and a half. When I was going through my eye condition, I was forced to step away from all things I loved, including singing and dancing, so I had to find other ways to cope and find peace. The other way was through discovering the world of personal development and self-help. It was a very dark and difficult phase of my life, however, I learned a very important lesson which was the importance of relationships, self-love and having substance. I vowed when I was able to see out of my right eye again that I’ll always seek substance in life and look for things beyond what meets the eye. During that same time frame, I also went through a breakup. With all of these events and lessons combined, I started sharing The Cupcake Theory with my girlfriends by discussing with them about how important it is for us to have self-worth and substance when dating and that we need to be our own cupcakes. This gradually turned into me writing on napkins “be your own cake!”, “your frosting’s rotten, time to slice that off,” and “your muffin is unique” to give to my friends as funny motivational quotes. Then this eventually evolved into writing a book about it. Writing the book eventually led to doing book tours and then being invited by schools, colleges, and organizations to speak about self-worth and healthy relationships. Over the years, I’ve evolved this into my advocacy work and put on “motivational concerts” for schools and youth / women’s organizations where I share my music, books followed by a Q&A/meet and greet.
This is very important to me as it serves my mission in all that I do, which is to show every youth and youthful soul that anything is possible and that their voices and dreams are theirs.
How would you define your artistic persona overall?
AZRA… from the 6th dimension, landing and living on earth to invite everyone into the 6th dimension, share the secrets of substance pop, connect with youthful souls to help break through societal limitations that the earth has placed upon all of us humans and to exist as a dream-filled, unstoppable, uninhibited, unapologetic energetic beings.