Photo Credit: Valerie Kutišová
Aiko was just 15-years-old when she participated on ‘Superstar,’ and while she remembers it as “interesting” to learn about the TV process, she admitted what she didn’t see there, “I don’t think it actually taught me the beauty of music though, the creative process, appreciation of each individual’s originality. It was more about putting a show on (and that is also a very valuable skill!) and I had to find my persona myself later.”
And that she did as she made moves both literally and figuratively throughout her career. We started talking about those location changes, dove into dance and ended with how she’s been taking full advantage of her time at home in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: When it comes to your 2018 debut you pulled from the various places you’ve lived from Moscow to Czech to London. How important do you feel locale is for a musician? Do you think an artist has to have a connection to where they call home to work well?
Aiko: That’s an interesting question! I think it’s important to just have a sense of belonging and to feel connected to yourself and the place where you currently are – just for the sake of a clear mind that is capable of creating (or you can use the sense of not belonging as inspiration, just like I did). So in that sense, I think yes, otherwise it turns into an endless search for yourself and your true home. For performing, as long as you have an audience in the city, I don’t think it’s that important to feel connected, you just have to feel the people.
Kendra: Your latest video for “Down” has this wonderful dance sequence as well as impeccable art. Are you a trained dancer or was that the result of some heavy-duty practice?
Aiko: Thank you, I wish! I love dancing, it feels like an extension of music for me, but was never professionally trained, always did it just because I love it so much! We worked on this one for a few months. I’ve been doing pole dancing for a few years now and dived into contemporary dance not so long ago, so my pole teacher, Aneta Kopickova, was actually the one to come up with the choreo and then came the drilling!
Kendra: I loved the shots that showcased religious art and then paralleled them back to you. It reminded me of the parallels between music and religion; churches and venues each being heavens for people, singing along to choirs vs. singing along to a band, and the idea that each could bring you an internal calm. With that, can you recall a time where music touched you on another level, so much so it felt like some sort of divine intervention?
Aiko: That’s why I love performing so much. You can “lose yourself” in the music, completely submerge and lose the sense of reality whilst doing it and share it with other people – and I get to experience it quite often when I perform. Other than that, I always feel it when I go see other artists that I love, especially at festivals, where although you don’t know the other people that are around you, you somehow all sing and leave the music flow through you and you have a special connection at that moment, in a way.
Kendra: Before we got “Down,” you gave us “Bad Influence.” Instead of asking the obvious, we’ll go with this…what or who has had the biggest positive influence on your career thus far?
Aiko: Just like for many people, my mother was my biggest positive influence on my career. She didn’t teach me how to be artistic or anything, as I don’t come from a musical background, but she saw the passion in me early on and supported me, told me to embrace my qualities, and set a great mindset to me. Other than that, I had many people that helped me along the way that have been a great influence as well!
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Aiko: Strangely enough, I actually really appreciate these times! They forced me to slow down, canceled a lot of my concerts, so I had more time to do music and I decided to release an album! I’m planning on releasing it at the end of June, together with a music video, animations, and all that fun stuff, so I think you should keep an eye out for that! But when it comes to a song that never fails to get me through, it’s probably “Heavy, California” by Jungle! It’s just so energetic, that it always brings you into a good mood.s