Marie: What is your story, Aiko? How did you become an artist?
Aiko: I started singing when I was a little kid, started writing lyrics when I was about 13. One day I decided to learn how to play the guitar and at that time, I knew nothing about it. I went into the store, pointed at a guitar and decided I wanted it just because it was pretty. The poor salesman tried to at least make me listen how the guitar sounded. Didn't work. Since then, I learned how to play it, went to a Czech TV show, got to semifinals and only at that time I realised, that if I really want to stay in this industry and be successful in it, I have to work hard.
Marie: You performed your song Down which is not released yet, what is the plan?
Aiko: The single is called “Down”. It’s a song from my upcoming album, we’re currently working on it with Patrick J Pearson and hopefully it will be successful!:)
Marie: What is the single inspired by? What is the story behind it?
Aiko: The single is about feeling tired and a little bit lost. Most importantly, it's about being in consent with yourself, learning to find peace in your own company and really that when you're friends with yourself, then comes success and stability in everything else.
I learned how to play guitar, went to a Czech TV show, got to semifinals and only at that time I realised, that if I really want to stay in this industry and be successful in it, I have to work hard.
Marie: How does your writing process work? Is it stream of consciousness type writing or more planned and thought out? Is there an underlining theme in your music?
Aiko: It’s quite funny, as the chorus of this song is a recycled chorus I wrote a few years ago (remember, notes in your phone are your best friend and something you may find bad now, you might love years later!) All other verses I wrote in one sitting, I was thinking about this topic for quite some time as I spent a lot of time traveling alone for work, so it all came together quickly. Generally speaking, in my music, I don't write songs in one sitting, I often write a short bit that I find good, finish it other evening, return to it again and again in the span of the next few weeks, just so I know that months later, it would still be a song that I'm proud I recorded and released and not my momentary excitement of writing something new.
Marie: Where was the single written? How does place and time influence you and your writing process?
Aiko: Written both at home, in Czech Republic, in different life situations and way of thinking ahah. I think time and place definitely had an impact on the lyrics, as at that time I have just moved to London to study, everything was changing in my life and I think it reflects the situation pretty well.
Marie: Were you listening or watching anything in particular quite a bit during the recording and writing process?
Aiko: Not really, I find it distracting to listen to something else while writing or creating new music.
Marie: Do you think there is a perfect time and place to listen to the single, does it lend itself to a particular listening experience?
Aiko: I think it's a good song to listen while going somewhere or when hanging out with friends and you want to show off that you know some cool music:)
Marie: If you could hope that your music inspires someone to do something, what would that be?
Aiko: Learn to be alone! Learn to find peace in your own company! People are important and a huge part of our lives, but it's you you have to be friends with first! I'm a very extraverted, people person but I don't think it's good to spend time with people just for the sake of being around someone.
Marie: Who or what are your musical influences? Are you hoping to achieve a certain sound or theme on your new release?
Aiko: I'm really inspired by the music I myself listen to, so mostly alternative/pop, so artists such as Aurora, The Neighbourhood, Jungle. Lately I've also really gotten into instrumental music, so artists such as Ólafur Arnalds or Joe Hisashi inspire me to focus on details more. I'm now finally at the point, where I think I'm achieving the sound I wanted to have from the beginning - I know how to work in the studio and how to explain what I want, I also know much more about instruments and what gives you the sound you're going for.
Aiko: What successes as an artist are you most proud of?
Aiko: Shameless promo time! I've released my first EP a little over a year ago and since then, I had a lot fun times music wise. I had over 70 concerts, opened for acts such as Tamino, Princess Chelsea, Black Honey and many other. I traveled all around Europe to perform, performed at festivals such as Sziget festival, Waves Vienna, Good fest, Praha Žije Hudbou, Žižkovská noc, Sofar Sounds Budapest and Newcastle. I organised my solo gigs. I've been a part of a TV show and also a commercial. I had interviews filmed. or also aired on Radio Wave. I'm now actively preparing new music, that I plan on releasing early next year.
Marie: What are your hobbies/interests outside of music? Anything else I should know about you?
Aiko: As I manage myself as an artist all on my own, I spend most of my time either doing the boring e-mailing, doing music and being creative, gigging or traveling for gigs. When I don't do all of this though, I love to dance - I do pole dancing in particular. I also do yoga, travel a lot, enjoy photography and calling my mom.
ALL PHOTOS IN THIS ARTICLE BY PIERS MURRAY HILL