Below, you can read our interview with Auresia, and listen to her album, Raíces. Check out our full music review of Raíces, HERE.
Q: You’re from Montreal, Canada, but your music spans countless borders and cultures. How did that happen? How did you become inspired and influenced by so much of the world?
A: Ha ha. Yes, I am actually Ukrainian and grew up in Western Canada. I have always been interested in culture and different styles of music. At 17 I hitchhiked to California and stumbled across a 3 day reggae festival (Reggae on the River). Someone gave me their ticket and it transformed my world. I completely fell in LOVE with reggae music and the artists there. After that, it started coming out in my songwriting. I am also very passionate about Salsa music. Celia Cruz really caught my heart in my mid-teens, and then later in my mid 20s I went to Cuba and fell in love with the music there as well. This is where I wrote my first salsa song off my sophomore album, Quiero Bailar (Solita). I love a lot of different styles and types of music, though. There are a lot of influences, so it’s totally a melting pot for me.
Q: You’ve been performing since the you were 3 years old! Can you tell us where that comes from? Clearly, you always knew what you were going to do, correct?
A: Yes, my Ukrainian parents were keen on me singing for people. They both were very musical as well. My mom played piano and sang, and my father was really into playing accordion and singing while I was growing up. They would host weekly dinner parties and my parents would give me and my brother (who would harmonize with me) pennies for a song!
Q: Your mother’s life and presence has inspired you deeply. Can you put into words how her life has inspired you and your work?
A: A mother to a daughter is a really special relationship. She is one of the people I love the most in the world and look up to. She was always so caring, kind and smart. Like me, she loved culture and languages, and taught English, Spanish, French and Ukrainian in schools, and later tutored when she got sick with M.S. When her life was taken away by domestic violence, I can’t express how horrendous it was. You never think something like murder can happen to you or anyone close to you until it actually happens. I used music to heal, and wrote a lot of songs inspired by her. Most of the songs on my debut album are about her (as she left this earth during the process of making it), and I dedicated it to her. I also wrote my latest track and album title Raíces in honor of her beautiful memory. I went back to Ukraine to discover our roots and dig a little deeper recording the music video for it.
Q: Raíces is your third studio album. Is this project a continuation of 2008’s Auresia and 2013’s Risin; or, is this something altogether new for you and your musical evolution?
A: Yes, Raíces is my third album. It was an acoustic project and an amazing experience to record with some of the world’s best musicians in Havana, Cuba. My first album definitely has a solid roots reggae feel, and my sophomore album is more pop/reggae/salsa/dance-hall/world. Raíces is an acoustic world album. I think they all have the world-pop element in common, however, I feel like Raíces is a mature evolution of my work and sound as an artist. I definitely went with my heart on this one.
Q: Raíces was recorded between Canada and Cuba. How long did the project take to complete? What is your favorite track and why? What did that rigorous recording process teach you about your craft?
A: Yes, it was recorded in Canada and Cuba. Super fun to do that in Havana. It was an amazing experience. I think my favorite track is a tie between Raíces and On My Way. I love On My Way because the sounds came out so well in my vocals and flute. The afro-cuban percussion (including bata drum) is absolutely entrancing, and the song is a message for people in times of struggle, to stay focused on the higher path and vision—no matter what life can throw at us. But, every time I hear Raíces, it warms my heart. Maybe it’s because it was inspired by my mother and her legacy and roots, and the song just has a beautiful melody, and fun, sweet vibe.
Q: Your band is wildly talented! Where did you find them?
A: Haha! Yes! I love my musicians. Though, I often use different musicians depending on the show and tour. Especially in Montreal, many musicians play with many artists/bands, and so most bandleaders will have their main front line. Like myself, I have 2-5 different great drummers, bassists, guitarists, etc., to choose from.
Q: Can you tell us about the first moment you picked up a guitar?
A: I totally fell in love with guitar! I had played classical piano for years growing up, but it wasn’t until I played guitar in my mid-teens for the first time that I felt inspired to write.
Q: What was your first guitar? Do you still have/play it?
A: I got my first guitar at a flea market. It had no name but was a beautiful red sunburst guitar with super high action. I loved it! and named is “ssssssssssssssssssss” ( 21 s’). I played it for hours every day, sometimes the whole day for almost a year. I still have it, and traveled to Europe with it in my late teens, busking around. It cracked on a folding bus in Amsterdam, as it was sadly in the middle of the bend part, and there were too many people to move it in time. But the guitar lives on, hung on a wall at a family home.
Q: Perhaps in some unspecified amount of time, your musical career explodes in the best of ways…what does that look like for you?
A: When I am constantly being asked to perform at different festivals across the globe and big benefit concerts for change and hope.
Q: You get to collaborate with anyone of your choosing. Who is it?
A: Damian Marley. Love his music and vibes.
Q: Your favorite album of all time?
A: Yes, it’s tough for real! But I would say one that comes to my head is The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. She is an amazing soulful singer, insane lyricist, conscious rapper, and the music is beautiful.
Q: Your favorite song of all time?
A: Hahhh this one is impossible!!
Q: What would you like fans to know about you that they’re most likely unaware of?
A: That I am really into natural health. I have been helping people through diet and essential oils to help them with their various health ailments, reach their health goals, and make their life easier and enjoyable again.
Q: Any shout-outs you wanna make?
A: My fans far and wide. I love you all!