In collaboration with

Reflecting on their rise so far for the Amazon Music Breakthrough UK: Artists To Watch 2024 list, in collaboration with Notion, Wasia Project share their pre-show rituals and enduring inspirations.

For Will Gao and Olivia Hardy, joining forces as Wasia Project “just happened”. A natural evolution from their mutual love for music and a shared language of references as siblings, what started as a series of songwriting experiments on GarageBand has grown into what’s now one of the most talked about rising artist projects coming out of London.

 

But that’s where the happy accidents end — now using music as an avenue to express their own inner worlds, Wasia Project are building one together with intention. Blending candid lyrics with warm, nostalgic, jazz-influenced alt-pop, it’s a world to take refuge in whether you want to hide from real life or feel seen within it. Drawing from a wide array of influences both thematically and sonically, the duo are making mood boards to soundtrack every moment of our day, weaving our most nuanced feelings and introspective thoughts into fuzzy comfort songs.

 

Looking forward to a year of new music after a successful string of releases in 2023, Wasia Project reflect on their influences, intentions, and why moving through life with an open ear is the greatest source of inspiration.

What’s the story behind your artist name? 

William: On a whim. 

 

Olivia: I’m saying a joke. A little bit of satire. 

 

W: Irony. 

 

O: Gone serious. 

 

W: We got deep. 

 

O: It was the music and then it was like, ‘Oh what’s the name’. 

 

W: It was the music first. 

 

O: Wasia Project because it was a project for us musically, and Wasia because… 

 

W: Because, because, because… 

Where were you born?

W: Croydon in South London on planet earth.  

What’s your star sign? 

W: I’m Pisces. 

 

O: I’m a Taurus. 

How did you start making music together? 

W: I think it just happened. 

 

O: It really did happen. 

 

W: We both did a lot of music on our own. We spent a lot of time at school doing music, I went to a music college. At one point we both discovered songwriting and making music on GarageBand. You can craft a song, and that’s when we were like ‘Let’s do it together and let’s create together’. 

 

O: We had the living room space, music was happening all the time. You didn’t even think about it, it just happened over and over again and became something. 

What feeling do you want your music to emote? 

O: I think, especially recently there’s been a bit of nostalgia. It’s quite soothing. Comfort songs. 

 

W: Comfort songs and resonating with the experience of life. Everyday experiences, and the ups and downs and the ebbs and flows, are what we want to evoke. Writing songs and making music is a way for us to express our lives and all of the things that come with it.

Do you have a pre-show ritual? 

W: We do a lot of breathing. Box breathing. 

 

O: Different breathing styles. I would say the niche thing we did; his god mum is great at pre-show preparation. She does this thing where she talks like we’re in a tent – like a rainbow tent. Do you remember in primary school they’d bring out a tent and you’re all around it? 

 

W: And that’s what the show is. The venue you’re playing is the tent. Everyone’s inside the bubble, you’re all together and connecting. It’s not you and them, it’s everyone together. 

 

O: She says, ‘Lift up that tent and go into it’. 

 

W: We’re literally there in the dressing room, doing the tent thing. 

 

O: It’s pretty wild. 

What’s on your rider? 

W: Diet coke, chilli heatwave Doritos, Peroni. 

 

O: Red Hula Hoops. That’s where it’s at. Red Hula Hoops and a Red Bull. There’s a lot of red going on. 

 

W: Yeah, energy drinks, like Diet Coke and Red Bull. 

 

O: I get super sleepy before a show and get really calm. 

 

W: There was one point where it was like 24 Peroni’s, which is a very specific number. 

Did you get through them all? 

W: Someone took them. I had like one, but someone was coping all of them. 

 

O: It wasn’t us, though. We don’t do that. The rider for me is minimal, so I’m ingesting it before the show. There’s nothing to take home. 

What’s your main source of inspiration? 

O: Good tea, good nature walks. 

 

W: Nature walks and good vibes. But musically, I think having an open ear and having open senses. Being open to any sense, whether that’s hearing songs and listening to music or seeing or feelings things.  

 

O: What’s the soundtrack to the woods? If we’re branching into our musical inspirations. What are you listening in the woods during your walk? 

 

W: Good question. 

 

O: I’ve been listening to Sade on those walks. 

 

W: I’ve low key been listening to Bob Dylan recently. A lot of acoustic guitar stuff. That’s just of recent, though. 

Which artist, past or present, would you choose for a collaboration? 

W: Debussy. That’s the past. Debussy would be cool. 

 

O: That would be pretty sick. 

 

W: Having him come to the present moment and discover the different all of the ways you can make music now would be cool. And then present… I don’t know, it’s a good question. Anyone. Anyone that will have us. 

Can you describe your sound?

O: What was that word you used? Kaleidoscope. 

 

W: I would describe our sound as a kaleidoscope for the senses, mixed with a purple tinge of existentialism. Full Stop. 

 

O: Full stop. 

*What’s next for Wasia Project?*

W: Just more music. 

 

O: More music, more expression, more growth. Growth in sound. We’re experimenting and exploring a lot. It’s a journey that we’re going to take.  

Listen to the Amazon Music Breakthrough 2024 playlist here:

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