2020 was the year Akira AK had two main personal and professional highlights (they can be BOTH!). 1) putting out his second EP “Pearl”, and 2) creating and putting out his very first music video for “Mute”.
“Pearl” had been worked on for about three years and to get to fin ally have it out, was exciting for Akira. All those songs are special to Akira and he is grateful that people have been receiving it well.
The music video release for “Mute” is particularly special for Akira, because not only is it his first music video, it is for a song he holds close to his chest. “I knew I always wanted to create a music video for this song, however I had been holding back because I wanted it to be the exact way I saw it in my head (a la my synaesthesia – you can see all about that in my insta post from 12/2 as a part of my December Insta Challenge) – black & white,” Akira tells Eat This Music. “I am so happy with how it turned out and how many people really responded well to the video – TOTAL STRANGERS IN SOME CASES! I consider the creation, release, and reception of the video in its entirety as a win.”
Eat This Music: Who was on your “Must Listen To” List at the start of 2020?
Akira AK: Hi! It’s good to be back! 🙂 My “must listen” at the start of the year was for sure Dua Lipa and “Don’t Start Now” as well as “Stupid Love” by Lady Gaga. ALSO I LOVED “Kill The Lights” by Alex Newell. All dance-y disco-ish tracks… little did we all know.
Has that list changed in the previous 12 months?
TBH this list hasn’t changed that much in terms of sound. If anything, between Dua Lipa and Gaga, their whole albums came out (as those songs were the lead singles off their respective albums) – so I’ve been consuming those whole albums en masse. I also have been getting into Kylie Minogue’s new album literally titled “Disco” (ugh “Real Groove” is IT). All in all, just more dance music that I enjoy among the confines of any room I’m in at home.
What type of new artists/bands have you discovered in 2020?
Oh so many! I actually made this conscious effort to seek out more queer artists to support my community. The artist of 2020 for me though HAS to be Rina Sawayama, and her debut album “SAWAYAMA”. Like all the “year end best of” lists have been saying – that album is truly a triumph. It’s so dynamic, and personal, and as a queer Asian, it makes me feel very seen in a way I didn’t know I wanted to be seen.
The other queer artists that I’ve found have been Clinton John (with his brilliant song “Cry” and his collab “Solo”), ORÎ (and his INCREDIBLE POP MASTERPIECE “Fire In The Flood” – truly a worthy listen for pop fans), and The Magnettes (with their amazing song “American”).
What were your guilty pleasure songs or albums in 2020?
I mean I don’t have too many guilty pleasure songs only because I listen to what I like and don’t really “apologize” for it in that way – but my guilty pleasure watch (when it comes to music related things) has been the YouTube videos (I think from snapchat or tik tok) “If Nicki Had A Verse On…”. Whoever is writing those has captured the comedy, bars, and attitude of why the world fell in love with Nicki Minaj in the first place back in the early 2010’s. They are hysterical, biting, fierce, and EVERYTHING.
Which song, or songs, of yours in 2020 would you recommend and why?
Of my songs, I would recommend “Mute” (off my “Autotune + Heart” EP) and “I Too Shall Be Saved By Love” (off of my “Pearl” EP).
“Mute” because I FINALLY was able to create a music video for it the way I wanted, and it has breathed so much life into the song once again. And I still hold firm that it’s one of the best songs I have ever written. ALSO I may or may not have a special surprise at the top of next year for the song… but that’s all I’ll say about that for now.
“I Too Shall Be Saved By Love” because I think that song really captures the theatre and grandiose scale of what I want to accomplish with my music – which is this huge ebb and flow of moods (between the verses and choruses).
Def check them out! 😀
What keeps you making music?
What keeps me making music you ask? I actually also have answered this in some of my latest insta posts as part of this December Insta Challenge I did! (I swear this isn’t a promo for it, just happy coincidence) That being said, what keeps me making music is the dream of being able to connect with people through what I have to say and using my music as the catalyst for my philanthropic endeavours.
In short, I have always wanted to make people feel with my music, what music makes me feel: seen, understood, and like the star in their own right. To know that someone has heard my music and (even just to themselves) says “oh I get that, I totally understand, I can relate, etc.” is the ultimate win in my book. Once I can perform live, I am to bring that same sense of connectivity and (in some cases where the song demands it) spectacle to any show of mine. 🙂