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Artist Spotlight: J-Pop princess Anna Aya talks new single, creative outlets and finding herself in the music

With J-pop on the rise, singer-songwriter Anna Aya is bringing a sound all her own to the world. Her first single, “Someone Else”, was a stunning introduction to her career and she’s back with the next song in a very promising discography. “Hit Me With Your Love” is the perfect danceable summer hit, seamlessly blending English and Japanese lyrics within the catchy pop grooves. We spoke with Aya about how the track came together, finding her creative niche as a singer and becoming a global J-pop princess.

Atlas Artist Group: Now that the new single is finally out, how did this song come together for you and how did you decide this was going to be your next release?

Anna Aya: It was actually the second song that I originally recorded in 2022, beginning of 2023. I recorded “Someone Else” first and then Michael showed me this song- my producer- and we started with “Someone Else”. But then we were like, “Hit Me With Your Love” is going to be really fun. It’s going to be a pop moment. So we were like let’s release “Someone Else” first and then do “Hit Me With Your Love”- the idea of J-Pop has maybe been introduced a little bit so people will be open to listening to pop more.

Atlas: It’s also interesting because you speak multiple languages and you’re using all of that in your artistry. How does that affect your lyric writing when you’re working on songs?

Aya: The Japanese lyrics were actually written by me so definitely that came in handy. I’ve spoken Japanese since I was born. My mom and I [have spoken] it my whole life so just knowing the language has definitely helped me with my songwriting and definitely growing up around the Japanese culture. I lived in LA but I go back and forth from Tokyo all the time. Just knowing the undertones of how people speak here and the hidden messages- it’s a very difficult language because it has so many layers so incorporating that into lyrics means a lot to me.

Atlas: You’ve spoken on this previously but what is your musical origin story? How did you decide that this was going to be one of the paths that you really wanted to pursue?

Aya: Originally I was a model and actress. Since I was six, I’ve been doing it in LA and in Japan, I’ve been doing it since I was 13. Then I got introduced to this opportunity to bring J-pop to the world and I was very open to it. At first I was like, I don’t know if I can do this because I’ve never done music in my life. But I’ve been a dancer as well my whole life, starting with ballet when I was three so music has been very big in my life. It’s always been something I loved listening to and I loved singing as a kid as well, but I never thought I could pursue it professionally. With this opportunity, I realized that I could do this. This is really fun. That just got me thinking, I can do this and I want to do this.

Atlas: What do you consider your biggest inspirations- musical or otherwise? What influences do you draw from when you’re making music?

Aya: Ariana Grande has been my number one favorite since I was ever listening to music. She’s a big inspiration to me with her music and how she’s vulnerable with it and also her aesthetic as well- the girly aesthetic. I just love her whole vibe. Also recently I’ve been loving Madison Beer’s music and her style as well. So those definitely influenced me.

Atlas: You were talking about how you’ve been involved in a lot of different creative things. You’ve been a model, an actress, a dancer and now you’re a singer. Is there one passion that really calls to you or do you really enjoy being able to explore all of these different avenues for your creativity?

Aya: They’re all ways that I express myself but I think fashion and beauty- makeup and editorial looks and stuff like that- has been my passion ever since I was a kid. That’s just been my number one passion because it’s just how I express myself the most. I think it’s an everyday thing- what I wear, how I do my makeup and stuff like that. I love doing photoshoots that I can creatively express myself. But definitely I found a new avenue to express myself with this music and singing and writing. I am definitely growing to love it more now that I’m experiencing it more because definitely I’ve had more experience in the fashion field. I think the more I spend time with it, I love it more.

Atlas: What do you hope that your listeners are going to take away from your music? And if your fans were standing in front of you right now, what would you say to them?

Aya: I would say thank you for supporting me in any way. Listening to my music, at least just once even, means a lot to me, especially starting out as a new artist. I definitely just hope that everyone loves this whole new J-pop thing. I know it’s new, but it’s a part of me. Hopefully people love it.

My biggest message always is to love yourself and know your worth and just all of that. That’s what I want people to feel when they’re listening to my music, even in a lighthearted pop fun way.

Atlas: Do you have any dream collaborations, whether in the studio or on stage?

Aya: Definitely. Now that Ariana’s back in the music scene, of course. Taylor Swift’s also one of my biggest inspirations, and especially since we have the same producer so hopefully I can do that one day. Or maybe we can perform together somewhere. I know I’m way too early to be saying this, but hopefully one day,

Atlas: Speaking of live performances, do you have any planned or any spoilers you can share?

Aya: Not anything that’s set yet but I’m working on my live performances with choreography, and we have backup dancers, so there’s going to be a lot of dancing for sure.

Atlas: Besides this new single, what else is coming up for you?

Aya: I’ve been recording a lot more new songs in LA, writing new songs and I’ve been writing my own English lyrics as well. I did that for the first time two [or] three months ago and ever since then it’s been really exciting for me to explore that aspect of it. So definitely a lot more songs coming and potentially an album, I think.

Atlas: Is there anything else you want people to know about you or your music that we haven’t covered? Or is there anything that you wish you got to talk about more that people might not ask you?

Aya: I think it’s just as a model and an actress, it was really exciting for me to step into the music scene as well and I’m definitely still new to it. I don’t really know how all of it works, but I’m definitely finding myself and finding my sound. So I think from now everything’s going to be a lot more elevated. And I think within finding my own self as a growing teenager and growing out of her teens, I’m going to try harder and work harder to make everything more my own and just find my voice and style even more in my career. That’s what I hope for.

Stream “Hit Me With Your Love”, out now!