Nigerian-French singer-songwriter Aṣa has made her long-awaited return from hiatus with us last hearing her soulful and soothing voice on ‘Bed of Stone’ her third studio album release all the way back in 2014.
This, however, doesn’t mean the multi-platinum selling star wasn’t busy as lived experience in of itself is an invaluable part of the creative process. As she said in her interview with The Independent earlier this year, she is still young and felt that she didn’t have enough personal stories to tell so it all came down to presenting the stories of others with respect and care.
It must be said that the two singles released before her fourth studio album seem to break this mould, turning the gaze inward while opening up immensely about her life, those closest to her and heartbreak.
It seems this unfortunate heartbreak served as a sort of creative catalyst as she says the initial push to come out of hiatus “was down to the desire to create a body of work but I didn’t know what it will be about. I wanted the next record to mean something. I was writing and living like everyone else. It was after recording that I realize “oh my God” I had been singing about one subject.”
Let’s be clear ‘The Beginning’ and ‘Good Thing’ aren’t songs in which Aṣa is powerless or even reminiscing fondly about the past, both singles, in fact, are practically the opposite. They are strong self-love and empowering anthems all about regaining one’s power and freedom.
“The two songs actually are about taking power back. The Beginning is about being the bigger person in the relationship. Looking back at the way things spiralled out of control, reaching out to the other person with a hand of reconciliation in order to move forward, for the sake of clarity. Good thing is about not wasting time in beating a dead horse, forcing a relationship that isn’t working. I am taking back my freedom.”
Sonically, the singles are dense and detailed. ‘The Beginning’ for example a beautiful calming mesh of piano, bass guitar and strings drawing you in ever more as the strings swell and Aṣa can fully show off her incredible vocal range. ‘Good Thing’ uses a more straightforward composition but the more upbeat nature of the instrumental sets the listener at ease, it sounds like triumph, breaking free from a relationship that just isn’t working anymore.
If the two singles are anything to go by listeners can expect not only a deep reflective album but, ultimately, an album about self-love, acceptance and uplifting.