“Everything has a purpose,” says Aisha Badru, the Nigerian American, sometimes earthy, sometimes ethereal singer-songwriter. “I was meant to be here, doing this. And it's just part of my purpose to experience certain levels of trauma that are very universal, go through every process of healing, and somehow put it together so I can help guide someone else.”
Tellingly, she’s titled her latest project, which explores the intersection between romantic entanglements and self-care, 'Learning to Love Again', out now.
'Learning to Love Again' is so musically dynamic in part because Badru intentionally reached out to different producers for each track. “With ‘Move,’ I had this idea that I wanted to make a dance track, and sung the lyrics and the melody into a voice memo probably within 20 minutes,” she says. “I knew exactly the electronic dance producer that I wanted to work with. She’s an Asian-American producer named Yuan Chang.”
Badru’s career has fatefully led her to this exact point, beginning with her debut album, 'Pendulum', a melancholic musing on life’s highs and lows, through her last release, 'The Way Back Home', an optimistic take on the future. Badru found her voice the moment she decided to make music, but with 'Learning to Love Again', there’s now a palpable drive to amplify it.
Some of that spirit comes from her in-the-moment approach to composing Learning to Love Again. “I write when I feel inspired,” she says, modestly. “Maybe it'll be when I'm driving and the kids fall asleep.” (She’s the mother to three-year-old twins.) “Or maybe it'll be when I have 15 minutes, and I'm looking at myself in the mirror after brushing my teeth. And I just get this inspiration.”
The way she sings it, you wouldn’t know it. A confidence belies her vocals, which are sultry and knowing. “I do feel like my delivery is different,” she says of the track produced by GRAMMY winner Synematik. “There is sort of this yearning, a sexual tension.”
She pauses to think back on how far she’s come in five short years. “I started with just me and my guitar. That boxed me into being viewed as an indie folk artist. And I think, at heart, that I am,” she says. “But on this EP, I'm letting people into a different me. I’m showing layers that people maybe did not know were there.” There’s an immediacy to her musings, which is at once authentic and relatable. “These are all different iterations of who I am now. We all grow.”
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