Asia Graves is already one of R&B’s emerging stars while she’s barely even had time to find her shine. Although she has been songwriting for a little over a year, her debut project Big Girls Don’t Cry sounds like it was delivered from an industry veteran.
Once you understand her unique journey, it can be agreed that the sudden success she’s received was mapped out for years to come. Growing up in a military household, Music has undoubtedly been a passion of hers that quickly formed when she first began discovering Music with her sisters. “Music was always there for us. My dad was really into Music and when I first started getting into it, I wanted all the CDs I could get”, Graves recently said in a phone-in interview.
The “Boys Like You“ songstress fully accepted music to be her calling during her college years. She was attending Georgia Gwinnet when she was figuring out what career to pursue. When she began singing professionally, she already had her debut’s concept figured out. The project’s title and cover art was chosen three years before she even started recording. This artistry behind Big Girls Don’t Cry wouldn’t have come if she was never suggested to become a songwriter herself. Before the decision was made, she was finding herself in the studio using songs that were passed onto her. The idea turned out to be exactly what she needed as it’s helped her pull from her own emotions, and it reflects gracefully within her songs. “My management team told me that I needed to start writing, so I taught myself over time… and it didn’t take that long, surprisingly.”
The eight-song project that was released in February serves to be a breath of fresh air for traditional R&B lovers. Clocking in at only twenty minutes, it’s a compressed record that packs a powerful punch. Before you even stamp your thumb on the play button, the cover art is picture-perfect to tell the story itself. For any woman that is going through rough patches in their personal life, the N.C-bred singer extends her voice and reminds the listener never to let her crown tilt for nothing.
“[The EP] feeds off girl empowerment and feeling strong. We’re big girls, don’t nobody got time to be crying and stressing over guys. It’s just how our parents used to look at us growing up.”-Asia Graves
While the way she sings her lyrics with passion would make you think all the stories are hers, Graves mentioned that she also draws inspiration from her fans as well. “I don’t always draw from my own experiences simply because I want everyone to relate. Not everyone’s going to understand your problems with your music. So sometimes, I’ll go on social media to ask my timeline a question, and I’ll feed off the experiences they share.”
The combination of her angelic voice and love for 90s-inspired sounds is nothing short of being ear therapy. It’s the main reason why she was her EP’s single “All I Need” won Audiomack’s STAMPED contest. Hollywood Serge of Capitol Records deemed it an automatic hit. If you think that’s impressive, the real flex is that she freestyled the entire track. “The hook was done in 15 minutes max… one day, I wanted to finish my song, so my homie pulled up, and we went bar for bar.” All she requires is the lights off, a handful of candles, and a nice glass of wine for her to catch a vibe and make a jam off the top of her head.
Since debut released earlier this year, Asia has created a wave for herself. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to fully reap the rewards since quarantine first began. Despite missing various press runs and live performances to build her fanbase, she has chosen to remain optimistic during this lockdown. “I feel like [COVID-19] may have been a blessing in disguise because everyone is paying attention now to social media. A lot of people in the music industry are sitting down and looking for new talent. This time has also helped me with my confidence in regard to engaging with fans more.”
In a way, the comment shows how natural it has become for Graves to adapt in situations. Right now, artists are undergoing a massive loss from their back ends via live performances and public appearances. So to reach the fan that’s juggling through the same social media apps all day, artists like Graves are reinventing themselves. She is building her audience more through social media tools like Tik Tok and Instagram Live sessions.
Aside from becoming more active online, she’s also used this break to shake off a writer’s block she was stuck in for months. Before the world stopped everything from remaining indoors, the monkey on her back came from the personal pressures she put on her follow-up. “I struggled for a while and got into my head too much because I want my next project to be better than this one… I think I was overthinking.”
To break the bad streak, she made a FaceTime call recently to a friend going through the same thing. What the two didn’t realize was that the mutual struggle would ignite a spark that led to them co-writing a song together. Since the convo happened, Graves found her groove again as she’s been able to pen down a few songs. This is a huge sigh of relief for the singer focused on assuring that the next music she drops is her best yet.
Asia also mentioned that she is looking to make collaborations in the future. “I want features on this next project. I feel like I’ve found my sound already and introduced myself with my debut. It won’t have too many, maybe or two because I’m new and people don’t know who I am yet. I also don’t want to oversaturate my projects with them.”
Asia Graves has proven herself to be an attention-grabber with a quality project that sounds like she’s a vet. Watching her early development is like watching a butterfly as they break out their cocoon and spread their wings. She gave us one of this year’s most impressive debut releases, and her just getting started is an understatement.
Be sure to follow her on Instagram and Twitter @Asiagravesmusic.