London based, US born musician Astraea is a one woman musical phenomenon, both behind and in front of the microphone. As a performer and a producer, with a masters in music therapy, Astraea proves the old adage that if you want something done, you ask a busy person. The lucky recipients of the performing and production side of Astraea are us, the audience, as she releases her debut EP, Tonight I Run, later this month. The EP is a four track collection of electro pop, solely written and produced by Astraea that sees her take the time to tell her own story. Struggles with self-doubt and obstacles faced as a woman in the music industry, the songs are a reflection of her journey towards inner strength, emerging triumphant over adversity.
I spoke to Astraea over the summer and she said that she was inspired to write such personal and candid songs by some of the artists she grew up listening to, citing Taylor Swift and Linkin Park as major influences, as well as classic rock bands such as Crosby, Stills and Nash. In regard to the order of the tracks, Astraea says that the order was “completely intentional. The enemy is anxiety issues but, you need to carry on. Life can be crap but eventually you need to move on and that’s how the EP works,”
The EP kicks off with the title track and straight away introduces a cinematically big sound that delivers an anthemic track that sets the scene for the other three tracks. The message is that whatever happens, our dreams are still there and we can find the resilience to overcome the barriers even though we might have to find a different way to achieve them. Astraea says that she wants “to give hope and power to anyone who’s feeling beaten down that they have the strength within themselves to fight for their dreams.”
‘Nobody Loves Me Like You‘ is one of two songs written especially for Tonight I Run and sees some stunning vocals in a style reminiscent of the strength and fragility of Kate Bush. The healing power of good relationships is the story told in this song and how “there’s something so powerful in how relationships can heal our past wounds.” Most of us will know this already but the forced separation from friends and family in the last few months perhaps brings it home that little bit more.
The last two songs of the four, ‘Our Own Worst Enemy‘ and ‘Carry On‘, the latter again written especially for the EP, take us further through the cycle of anxiety and recovery. Very often, creative people can be their own worst enemy and it often takes the intervention of others to prompt change, in Astraea’s case, it was a music teacher at college, saying “you’re your own worst enemy”. Now, Astraea says that “I wrote My Own Worst Enemy as a way of dealing with these struggles and to show others who may also be experiencing anxiety or self-doubt that they aren’t alone.”
By the time we get to ‘Carry On’, we are fully through the anxiety cycle of struggle and moving towards recovery and the message becomes one of hope – your dreams are still out there. A tip for you – listen to the four tracks on a loop twice through. The cyclic nature of this message becomes all the more real and uplifting,
As one of only 6% of female producers in the UK music industry, Astraea knows first hand that if you want something, you have to go out and get it; waiting until you’re asked gets you absolutely nowhere. Raising the profile of female music producers and also female songwriters (women make up just 17% of the UK song writing talent) is dear to Astraea’s heart and is an issue that she is actively working to improve, choosing to work with women wherever possible and engaging with workshops aimed at promoting the inclusion of more women behind the microphone. This work relates to her advice for aspiring musicians, as we see here:
Invest in yourself. Make things happen for yourself and never give up. Learn how to do stuff that you need and keep learning new skills that you can use in your career. You also have to learn how to deal with rejection and be persistent – most successful artists just never gave up.
Tonight I Run is released on 18 September.
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