EXCLUSIVE: CelebMix Interview With Au/Ra

“I never want my songs to be noted by my age.”

Last Friday Au/Ra released her debut EP X Games and it showcases exactly what is so exciting about this emerald-haired pop star.

The daughter of a producer and a songwriter, “music was a very natural thing to want to do”. Au/Ra started off, as many do, with YouTube covers at the tender age of 10 and was songwriting by 12. Now, her track ‘Panic Room’ boasts over 25 million Spotify whilst her latest collaboration, ‘Darkside’ with Alan Walker is about to hit 80 million in just two months.

“Alan is super cool. The song kind just happened. Management reached out and a bunch of emails were sent back and forth. Eventually I got in the studio and it came together.”

“I think for the next couple of releases it’s mainly going to be solo but I’m definitely looking to collaborate a lot more. I have a couple of songs with other that just aren’t released yet.”

Minutes later, she drops that her debut EP is out later in the same week. X Games is now available to buy and stream on all platforms and is a knockout debut effort. Au/Ra’s trademark talent of encapsulating the experiences of millennial teenagers and their emotions is oozing in the six tracks.

‘Emoji’ is the stand-out and the latest single. Au/Ra reveals with a giggle that it was inspired by the American reality TV show ‘Catfish’.

“I’d been watching a lot and got inspired by it. I’d recently been though a situation talking to someone online who I didn’t really know. I liked how sad that situation is. You should really be comfortable to show someone that you care about who you really are. No one should feel like they need to hide behind an avatar, someone should accept them for who they really are.”

It’s a thumping electronic pop flick that tackles the genuine problem that technology is posing to young relationships.

“Obviously technology is amazing because you can communicate with people all over the world and all that. That’s good and that’s healthy but when you only know someone and communicate them through social media that isn’t healthy. As much as techonolgy is becoming a part of everyday life, life isn’t on social media at the end of the day. It’s important to have real human interactions.”

Au/Ra’s awareness of what her generation are experiencing and ability to take a step back and look at it is a huge talent. ‘Panic Room’ is a breaking down of struggles with anxiety and ‘Outsiders’ is a story of “being left-out”.

“My age gives me a different perspective, I guess I’m really aware of certain things. In music there are too many situations where people talk about things that aren’t really necessary… there’s enough songs about going to a party and getting drunk. I think it’s great to talk about things that can actually help people and are relatable.” 

Her desire to switch things up and say something original is at the forefront of X Games. The EP opens with ‘Ultraviolet’, a James Bond spin-off which closes on the lyric “let the burn begin” – a deliberate foreboding to the dark electronic tones of the EP. Other unheard tracks include ‘X Games’ with lines such as “we’re the fresh meat, hopeless new romantics” and “all the blue ticks on my shattered screen” following similar ideas to that of ‘Emoji’. ‘Outlaws’ closes X Games, a Bonnie and Clyde love story that can equally “be a youthful song about you and your friends”.

The production is avant-garde too. Electronic pop beats pulse under Au/Ra’s moody lyrics to create a sound that couldn’t be more millennial.

“I think in general my music is always going to be pop, alternative pop. But it could go more pop or more left or electornic, I’m up for bringing different elements. It could even go rock. I want to be free with it.”

As her opening-act stint with Tove Styrke in the US draws to end, Au/Ra reflects on how these support slots are reaching more and more people.

“It’s really crazy. Yesterday I met a fan page which doesn’t happen that much as they are all over the world. She lives in Colardo and flew from there to LA to do the show and I teared up and she cried, it was a whole thing. It’s so cool and crazy to meet people who support my own music.”

“It definitely is more comfortable to have a headline shows. I often feel like I have to prove myself but at the same time I love performing and get so much experience from all these opening act tours which is really good for me.”

Now the formidable EP is out in the open, there’s no need for Au/Ra to rush the next step. She has time and a lot of talent to go with it.

Oh, if you were wondering, she’s only 16-years-old by the way. But as she rightfully makes very clear, when you’re doing what Au/Ra is doing, none of that matters.

Have you checked out X Games? You sure should do! Let us know what you think @CelebMix on Twitter.

Written by Toby Bryant

Student journalist: music, sport, culture and just about anything in-between… Have worked for The Courier, NME, Daily Mirror, FourFourTwo & British Rowing, amongst others.
@toby_bryant_ on Instagram and Twitter.