It’s 2019 - the infrastructure of technology is developing at the blink of an eye, yet we’re adapting to these changes. Even the vaguest concept of how AI would evolve into the reality that it has become today, would have been perceived as fantasy ten years ago.
Yet as a society we can’t truly perceive it, as we’re carried along swiftly with each new and disruptive technological advancement. The music industry is certainly no exception and must customise itself to these changes as they occur. Au/Ra as a seventeen-year-old pop star has lived in an age where the only thing she’s known is this level of automation. We speak to her about what life being so young within the current industry is really like, her stance on technology and her career in perspective.
Q: Do you enjoy playing here in the UK?
A:“Yeah, I absolutely love it. It’s really cool as I’ve only recently done some headline shows here and there’s definitely a difference in the energy. People are actually thirsty for the mu- sic and I’m not used to that usually opening over here.”
What’s it like at such a young age already achieving a successful career in music?
“It’s weird because I feel like it hasn’t been that quick, it’s been a comfortable pace. I’ve had time to get used to the travel, lifestyle and everything. I’ve been into this since I was 13 so it’s kinda been a while, well it hasn’t been a while, but you know what I mean (laughs).”
There has been a rise in younger
artists within alternative pop, has the world become less judgemental of age?
“I think age has become less important because of streaming and the way people consume music now, which I think is amazing. I don’t think age should matter, in the end the music is what matters and I wouldn’t want anyone judging my music by how old I am or anything.”
Are there some people who are quick to judge because of your age?
“I can notice some people treating me differently because I am still a minor, I’m not an adult yet (laughs). Everyone who I work with treats me normally, which is great.”
What do you feel is the most insane issue in our culture today?
“There’s so many problems (laughs). It goes from who’s in power, abortion laws, sexism... I do feel like without social media we wouldn’t be able to talk about these things, it’s good to see it happening. There’s also been a lot of misconceptions too, especially about feminism.”
Has there ever been any moments in your career that you look back on and think ‘that’s insane?’
“Growing up on such a tiny island and being able to play shows over here, being so far away just feels insane, but I love what I do.”
Has technology helped develop your career or impacted it?
“Both. Technology has become such a big part of our lives. I was born in 2002, so I was right in the middle of it all, I remember my Dad bringing back the first IPhone and being like ‘oh my God!’ But I started on YouTube so I owe that to technology; I saw that these younger artists were making it in the music industry by making these videos online which inspired me to do it.”
As an artist in this generation could you see a society where AI and robots would be normal?
“I feel like it is happening in some ways, I was somewhere in the States and there was this safety robot, it looked like one of those moving vacuums and it was moving filming surveillance footage. That’s crazy, just seeing that starting to happen, we could be seeing more of that for sure.”
You’ve previously mentioned that you’re a fan of anime, which character is most relatable to you and why?
“I really relate to Princess Mononoke because she’s trying to help and stand up for what she believes in but doesn’t know exactly how to do it. She’s a really cool character. I watched that film when I was seven years old which is crazy because it’s really dark and violent. I think my parents saw it and thought ‘it’s a cartoon so it’s for kids’ (laughs).”
What can we expect from you in the foreseeable future?
“I’m excited to be releasing new music, I’m going to be releasing a lot of that as well as some videos. I’ve had these songs for a while and have been playing them at shows too just to see people’s reactions, it’ll be cool to finally release them.”
Photo Assistance: Alex Kim Styling Assistance: Amisha Kapalda