Aja Transforms Into a Deity With Her Newest Music
Brooklynn-based drag queen and recent visitor to Denton, Aja, followed up her hit single "Finish Her" with 'Brujería.' We chatted with this Pop Kawaii Queen last week about the excitement surrounding her debut EP, In My Feelings, as well as the symbolism, power and beauty of "Brujeria" and its stunning music video. The Dentonite had a chance to dive into her feelings and share them with the community.
Upon me congratulating Aja on her debut EP, she reeled with excitement. “This is my first time really going into like, a completely music realm” she jeered. Her tone was giddy, eager to share her work of art with the world.
Compared to developing her work behind her drag character, Aja shared with us that her creative process was a more grassroots, humbling experience.
“It was kind of like getting back into my roots” said Aja. “ Before I became a performance artist, I always wanted to do hip hop and rap music. Oddly, it came more naturally to me,” Aja said while reminiscing on her EP.
Aja said, "As I started getting into the writing and matching things together, I realized I was having so much fun, not even grasping the amount of work I was putting into it. With drag or burlesque I’m always like, ‘ Oh! This has to be perfect and visually pleasing - everything perfect to the nines.’ This time it was different, something new and exciting."
For Aja, the music side came so much more naturally, in an overwhelmingly exciting way.
“I’m eager to see how I can mix my music with different types of performance art, especially since I tend to not do my music in drag. I really want to perform my music both in and out of drag, really go the full mile and blur the line between gender and performance and drag and music,” Aja said.
When talking previous projects, Internet favorites “Level Your Pussy Up” and “Finish Her” immediately came to mind. Both are flushed with video game and sci-fi technology, making for a perfect realm for this space queen. But where did the love come from?
“Honestly growing up, I didn’t have many friends so I would just do the video game, anime, stay in my room as a preteen thing, but I’ve also have always been competitive,” Aja stated frankly, as if we didn’t already know this queen has already proven time and time again that she is here for us and to claim her crown.
“The friends I did have I would play games with for hours and I would be like ‘I can beat you at this game.’ When I artistically created “Finish Her” the music video, we were working on the visuals and story line for it I really wanted to show the multiplicity of my character as Aja and how I was growing as an artist. And I thought it was cool to have us playing my different sides. It was like all of my different strengths at play.”
We could not contain our thoughts on her newest music video for "Brujeria."
The entire music video — from the music, the outfits, to the location and overall set design — is amazing. It almost feels like Aja’s cut a hole into her brain as a doorway, welcoming visitors with the message, "Hello, World! Yes welcome, come on in and get you some of THIS BITCH AAAAAAHHH!" That was probably her favorite description.
“Hah! Yes exactly this!” she exclaimed. “We really went in on this one, y’all.”
For Aja, ‘Brujeria’ is a cross between a serious idea of what spiritual witchcraft practices are in America, with a touch of witchy pop culture references like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and “all those classic witchy moments."
“Growing up, my family practiced Santeria; it’s one of those practices that has been misrepresented in media,” Aja said with absolute truth. “It’s one of those practices that has been misrepresented in media. It’s often directly linked to Satanism, etc. I wanted to change that perspective and show them the real side.”
Symbolism is a favorite element of Aja’s when creating her art
“In the video, I portray different deities from Santeria. You see me in my devil outfit, and then me in this all white elegant, flowy dress.” said Aja as she delved into the details. “At one point, you see me take the devil horns off and then it cuts to me in the white dress. That is me taking the idea America has dubbed on Afro-Caribbean religions and practices and throwing it to the side. I want people to see this message of ‘I’m not gonna fight with you on my beliefs, i’m just gonna show you the beauty of what it is and who we are.’”
She goes on to share about the audience's perspective represented In the video, played by a girl who stumbles upon Aja and her crew.
“She tries to run away the whole time, but can’t escape. You observe that everything seems scary to her at first, but she finds that it’s really these other things.” she said. “ It’s us showing how we aren’t afraid - we want her to join us and have fun and be safe. You don’t have to be part of who we are, just at least see us for it.”
Aja has always been a proponent for authenticity and self-identity for everyone, sharing her support and the importance of supporting queer and POC culture. Through her debut EP, Aja found the perfect track to continue to share that message with "A Yo, Sis."
“A lot of people know me for saying, 'Ayo, Sis!' as my entrance line on Drag Race, but 'Ayo, Sis!' is actually a joke between me and my friends. Now, it’s become a big thing in gay, trans and queer culture, where people call each other ‘sis’ regardless of identity. I think it has a lot to do with such a strong influence of feminism in queer culture and in a way, ‘Ayo, Sis!’ is a way to connect myself with that feminism and with our feminist icons who have paved the way for all of us, really.”
To us, it seems that Aja’s music is the perfect medium to share with her fans the full extent of her creativity and passion. In an interview with the observer, Aja mentioned that this was something her drag race fans would have seen more of.
When we asked her if she thought this was something she had finally accomplished, you could hear the smile through her voice.“ Honestly, I feel like there is more coming and I’m starting to show exactly who I am. I think it’s amazing to have had [the RPDR] team behind me to help me build my platform and i’m grateful for that experience, especially having the opportunity not once but twice.” she reinforced. “ A lot of people don’t even have that experience once.”
For now, Aja will continue to work towards music, while adding fashion as well.
“One day, I really want to go the full effect. I would love to do a full album, touring, and also give people great visuals and storylines.” said Aja. “ I just want people to look at me and realize no matter what they say, you can’t say i’m not talented. You can’t say I didn’t work or put forth the effort to become a full-fledged, multi faceted entertainer. There are those who may not appreciate me for me, and they can say whatever they want about my style and who I am, but they cannot deny that I have the talent.”
Spoken like a true Queen.
The Dentonite is super grateful to have had the opportunity to chat with Aja. Her support for the community shared through her vast platform is truly paving the way for future queens, no matter what your background is. Her work is proof that being authentic, sticking to your work and being honest with yourself and others paves the way for greatness.
Aja's debut EP, In My Feelings, released on May 11, 2018 and is currently available on iTunes and various streaming services.
Photo courtesy of Aja
Header image layout design by Mateo Granados