How would you describe your sound?
When did you first become interested in playing music?
My mother is a singer-songwriter, so growing up I was surrounded by music. She was a single mom in NYC, so nights when we couldn’t get a babysitter, she took us to all the Venues in the city. Watching her play really inspired me to be the performer I am now.
What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
I once wore roller-skates onstage in a play and fell on my ass in front of the whole crowd. Had to crawl offstage.
What are you listening to these days?
Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, Hank Williams.
What does music mean to you?
Music transcends meaning for me. Music is being. It is how I see the world, and how I assert my place in it. Without music, I don’t know who I would be, how to love, or how to tell anyone.
How’d you first get started playing music?
As a solo act, the first time I started playing music seriously was after I experienced some really difficult times in middle school. My mom used to sit with me at the piano after I would come home crying, and she would help me get through my pain with music. My first song from when I was 10, “Mean Girls” now has 20k views on YouTube.
San Francisco is full of music history. Who are some San Francisco musicians who inspired you?
Harvey Mandel and Fantastic Negrito are two musicians from the SF Bay Area that I absolutely love.
What’s the biggest challenge in becoming a musician today?
As a 19-year-old independent artist, everyone will tell you that analytics is everything. You have to have x amount of followers to be “successful,” you have to get your Facebook page to x amount of views before you can even think about pitching yourself to labels, etc. I wish that the industry would prop up young artists simply for their talent, not for their popularity.
What are some of your favorite Bay Area music venues?
The Warfield is forever my favorite venue. I love how the standing room is so intimate, you can meet friends just by standing in GA, and you can even push your way to the very front if you’re daring enough.
Where do you like to get creative in San Francisco?
City Lights poetry room. It’s a sacred space.
What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?
I am Miss Capital City Sacramento, and I’m competing for Miss California in June.
Is there anything you’d like to plug?
I have a new release coming out on May 28 called “Throne.” I am trying to promote my release as much as possible.
How did you come up with the name of the band?Aya Safiya is my stage name.