- Words Notion Staff
Au/Ra chats with Notion about her plans for a big 2022, explorations of growing up in her music, and dream collabs.
Au/Ra was born and raised in Ibiza as the daughter of two German musicians, with the family relocating to Antigua soon after. She was a true musical prodigy, writing the song “Panic Room” at age 15 – which would later become a huge TikTok hit with over 250,000 streams. The song has also hit the UK Top 30 and gone Platinum in the US.
Her songs have been utilised across pop culture, from the hit video game Death Stranding to popular Netflix show Elite to reality smash Love Island. On Spotify, she boasts over 7 million monthly listeners and over 150 million streams on “Panic Room”.
With success firmly established, Au/Ra is now ready to give listeners a look behind the curtain of fame, exploring the challenges of becoming a star in the public eye at such a young age with her new track, “plz don’t waste my youth”. On the new tune, she has said: When you turn 18, you’re supposed to have figured out what you want from life, but that’s not how it works! Instead of enjoying thetime I had as a teenager, I was plagued with the worry of being successful enough. In the music industry you’re expected to handle the expectations that people have for you from such a young age. It’s not easy to cope with, especially when you’re already an anxious person. I really wanted to yell about how unfair it can be for young people and society’s expectations of them.”
Aged just 19, Au/Ra is all ready for a massive 2022. Notion sat down with this fast-rising artist to chat about…
Happy New Year to you too! and everyone reading this haha. I celebrated PDWMY like most releases – a discord listening party. I have a super wholesome community on there and it’s so enjoyable to celebrate the music with.
I started working in the music industry at a young age, so I was always that kid that kind of grew up fast. That with the circumstances of my personal life, I think I always thought I had to act like more of an adult. I was dying to turn 18 – thinking that people would start taking me more seriously then. When I turned 18, that didn’t really change anything hahaa. I wish I knew that was going to happen because I would’ve tried to enjoy my youth a lot more. I think with this song I just wanted to express how important it is that you’re supposed to take things at your own pace – and sometimes young people are put in circumstances where they’re pushed to act older, and that can sometimes feel really unfair.
Unfortunately I didn’t do a live show on my own in the entirety of 2021! But I was lucky enough to join Alan Walker at one of his shows in the Bahamas. It was my first show in I think two years and I was super emotional and grateful for it. We also spent a week writing together too and ended the trip with that show. Releasing my EP ‘Soundtrack to an Existential Crisis’ was really creatively fulfilling after delaying it for a few years. And of course continuing to build my Discord community has been amazing – hanging out and playing video games with the people on there has been so cool.
Obviously during Covid I’ve spent a lot more time in Antigua with family, but I’ve continued to go back and forth between Antigua, London, and sometimes LA. But there’s a lot of things about living on an island that most other people might not experience elsewhere. It’s obviously paradise, and growing up on the beach and on boats was amazing, but it’s really beautifully grounding actually living here. We deal with a lot of hurricanes, power cuts, droughts and times when we have to conserve water, when the tank is running low. Going through that has made me so much more appreciative of having resources.
My mom is a songwriter, and my dad is a producer that does a lot of dance, trance, and all sorts of electronic music. He’s German and was really involved in the German music scene, and the Ibiza dance scene in the 90s and early 2000s and still does his project York. Growing up I was always watching them create music so I naturally became inspired. But! My dad definitely didn’t encourage me going into the industry, knowing how tricky it can be to navigate. When I was younger I never sang in front of him, only my mom, because I was too shy but eventually I started asking if I could record songs, and later started putting covers on YouTube!
I loved working on this track with CJ! He also did a previous single off my EP, ‘Bite Marks’. I love his production style, I love his brain, and he’s so fun to collaborate with. I think you can really feel that in every moment of the song when you hear it.
Some of my dream collaborations: I love Tame Impala, Gorillaz, The Neighbourhood… Queen Lana Del Rey is another. Some others: still woozy, jawny, joji, benee, zeph, steve lacy, FLETCHER, PinkPantheress, mxmtoon, cavetown… I have a looot.
I’m a huge foodie and I love baking, even though I’m kind of not great but not bad at it. At least it’s entertaining to record haha. I love playing video games too – I have a Minecraft server that I run with people from my Discord server called Greenbeania. Other than that I play Valorant, Genshin Impact… and I love inviting listeners to play with me online too.