Today our Spotlight – Ajay Friese. This BC native has seen time on the screen with Riverdale, Lost In Space, and more. He comes to us today to talk about his newest music release Your Eyes and his musical journey. Check it out now.
Welcome Ajay! Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today. Would you like to give an introduction to our readers?
Hey! My name’s Ajay and I’m 23 years old. My name is pronounced like a bird, a tree, a plane: a jay… you follow? Just clarifying, because most people say it like AYE-JAY when they first meet me, haha, and I’m like “nope, it’s A-jay”.
I’m an actor and musician. I know, REAL ORIGINAL, right? I’m also Canadian and American, and ethnically I’m Indian and Northern European. I’ve been on shows like Lost In Space, Riverdale, Dirk Gently, and The Order, which have been so much fun! I also started releasing music this year, though I’ve been writing songs since I was around 12 years old. In fact, the first thing I ever wanted to be was an orchestra conductor.
Coming in hot off of an acting career, what influenced you to start making music?
I’ve always gravitated towards music. According to my parents and video evidence…I would always be humming or drumming, even as a baby. The melodies and lyrics just float around my head, and I’ve been writing songs since I was a pre-teen. It’s always been a dream of mine to release music, and the three songs I’ve recently released have been pretty successful so I guess the time is right!
How does it feel to be releasing your third single of the year, “Your Eyes?”
“Your Eyes” just came out, and with it I announced my debut EP, the result of three years of writing, recording, and producing. The EP is called “light a match… then run” – look for it on October 8th. How does it feel? GREAT! I’m super excited to see how it’s received. Every time I see even one person connect with my music, it’s a really special feeling.
From the folk-infused “Jasper” to the slow ballad “Higher Stakes” and now, an electric dance tune. How do you stay so versatile with your music?
I love getting absorbed in listening to many different genres.. I think a lot of people do. We can move around so easily on streaming platforms and are getting constant suggestions, the world of music is at the touch of a finger! I like going with the flow. The way I dress is versatile I feel, for example, and in the music and art I consume — so I guess the art I create follows that same trend! I will say this though, I write all my own music and sing the songs as well. I’m very involved with the arrangements, instrumentations, even the mixes. So you’ll definitely feel connecting energies between all of my work, and it truly represents me.
Since we are at the very start of your music career, what kind of artist do you want to be? Any specific visions?
Yes, I have hopes and dreams. 1. A crowd singing my lyrics back to me. It doesn’t have to be a stadium-sized crowd, just an engaged crowd. Can you imagine that? 2. A collaboration with, or writing for some of my favourite artists but honestly, my biggest goal with music has already been accomplished. It was accomplished the first time I ever wrote a song. It was the joy and satisfaction that comes with creating the art. At the end of the day, that is the real thing I desire and appreciate most from doing all this.
What are your favourite artists/bands right now that have influenced your recent sound?
This is a hard question to answer. I think you might hear hints of John Mayer, Conan Gray, Bright Eyes, Taylor Swift, REM, and The Milk Carton Kids. I discover and appreciate new artists everyday, and I’m sure they all influence me.
Can we look forward to an album in the future? Anything in the works right now?
So, my debut EP is out on October 8th!! It will have my three singles on it (Jasper, Higher Stakes, Your Eyes) plus three totally new tracks!! The songs are almost all in different genres but all flow in a story of relationship building, and then falling. Keep an eye out for, “light a match… then run”, on October 8th.
Are you hoping to balance music and acting or is acting on the backburner for now?
I am balancing both, and yes, that’s a challenge, and probably one (minor) factor contributing to how long it takes me to release a song. It’s definitely nice when I get to focus on one at a time, but they feed off each other and both make me happy.
What feedback has shocked you from the release of your first two singles?
Jasper (my first single) has been added to… *looking it up, one sec*… 1737 playlists on Spotify already. Like……. What?!! Just absurd to me. I am honored and floored.
Glad to see your social media revamped since releasing your single! Did you use the pandemic time to be hard at work writing music?
Actually, I recorded all my songs in New York City pre-pandemic. I thought that was all good and done, but then realized that writing and recording was just the halfway point! Actually RELEASING the music is a lot more work than I had anticipated, and I didn’t know much about it. So I spent the pandemic finding management and planning the release of my songs. So yes, I was pretty busy, and social media maybe got put on the back burner. I’m enjoying reconnecting with fans, excited to have released three singles, and SUPER EXCITED that my debut EP is about to drop! Did I mention….October 8th?!
Did you have any musical training growing up?
Our family friend Bruce taught me my first 4 guitar chords when I was in grade seven, and I used those 4 chords for the next 5 years hahaha. Like many kids, I took a few violin and piano lessons (and never practiced, to my parents’ dismay), and I definitely got lots of experience through jamming with friends, writing songs, and making demos in my basement with my dad. Another fun fact: check out “Close The Bombay Doors” on Spotify – that was the high school band I formed, and I even won some music awards and played at festivals. Ah….the old days….
Releasing a new song versus releasing an episode/scene. Which feels more personal to you?
I mean, my songs are my babies. I put so much heart and work into them, just as I do the scenes I film, but the distinction here between the acting and the music is that the songs are really mine. They are my creation, my art. Whereas with acting I am one of many cogs in the art piece. So definitely music feels more personal. Both are super exciting though!
What is a fun fact you want your fans to know?
I prefer savory breakfast over sweet….in case y’all wanna have breakfast sometime!
Would you ever want to go on tour? What would your ideal show be?
YES! I would love to play live on tour. My ideal show is to a sold-out room of a few hundred people – big and energetic but still intimate and personal. I can’t wait!
Finally, you can shout out anything to send us off, maybe a person, organization or charity. Thank you so much for being here with us!
- A) OCTOBER 8th (oh, did I mention that already??)
- B) If you’re in Canada and 18 or older, exercise your right and responsibility to vote on or before Sept 20th!
- C) Get vaxxed!
- D) Thanks for this opportunity Hidden Beats 🙂 <3 Lots of love.
Spotlight – Ajay Friese is wrapped! Big thanks to Ajay for taking the time to chat with us
Check out Your Eyes now
Keep up with Ajay here
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