Tokyo born Chicago based multi-genre singer-songwriter Aya Ito is getting ready to release her latest single “Spell Bound” on December 10th, followed by a single release concert in Chicago, IL at Epiphany Center for the Arts on December 11th. Along with the live performance this concert will also be streamed live online for those who cannot make it in person. With a unique background of being both Japanese and African American Aya has dubbed herself the Blazian Sensation, this unique background has led to Aya performing not only in the US but also in Japan gaining fans across the globe with her signature style, that much like her background pulls from multiple different genres and languages. With a diverse group of influences from Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, H.E.R., Frank Ocean, Whitney Houston, Robert Glasper, Zedd, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Jhene Aiko, Aya Ito has created her signature Pop/R&B/Soul fusion sound. As an artist, Aya has fused her talents of singing and playing the guitar and piano, while also incorporating her trilingual abilities (English, Spanish and Japanese) into her art. No better is Aya’s unique fusion of Pop/R&B/Soul heard than are her latest single “Spell Bound”.
We get to chat with Ito to talk about her new single and what else is in stores!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Spell Bound”?
It was one of the first songs written for the album, and it has come such a long way since its conception. “Spellbound” is a song that will definitely make you want to dance and sing along. A lighthearted, catchy tune that will remind you of how it felt to be sprung or maybe you’re even feeling that way now!
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
My good friend John Renaissance actually came to me with this song. He told me he was writing a song for a female vocalist and that he thought it would be perfect for me. And he was right! I loved it from the moment I heard it and it was in a great range for me and was totally my style with a mix between r&b and pop
Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
Yes! We will definitely have a video. I am kind of thinking a skating video could be really fitting for Spellbound. And who doesn’t want an excuse to have a skate party?
How was the recording and writing process?
The recording and writing process was a little different than some of my other songs since this one was written for me and not by me. John came to the studio to give me notes as I was recording and then we went in and changed the production of the instrumental afterwards. After sitting with it for a while we then went back again with a vocal producer to add some more flares and ear candy. I’m extremely happy with the result!
What role does Chicago play in your music?
Chicago plays a huge role in my music. Most of the producers and writers I collaborate with are Chicago natives or have been here long enough they practically are. The music scene here is incredible and the artists we have are so talented. I love going out to see live music and meeting other musicians. It’s a great way to get inspired and make connections.
How has the likes of Frank Ocean and Stevie Wonder influenced your writing?
Stevie Wonder had been an influence for me since I was a child so I like to think he is my “old school” influence and people like Frank Ocean are my “new school” influences. I look up to artists that use complex and unique vocal arrangements that flow cohesively with the instrumentation and production. When you listen to my music, you’ll notice that it doesn’t really fit in a specific box in terms of genre and I think a lot of it has to do with my musical influences being diverse. I love Motown and r&b and neo-soul, but I am also really into pop, rock, pop-punk, EDM, etc.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Yes! I do have my debut album coming out hopefully in the next few months. We have a lot of it recorded and are going back to touch some things up and will likely also add a couple more songs. There will be songs in Japanese and with Spanish so you can expect a trilingual album!
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
We do not have an exact date yet, but probably some time in March 2022. The title will be “Harmony of Colors” because that is what my name, Aya (彩), means in Japanese and I think it also greatly reflects the coming together of different genres and languages.
What else is happening next in Aya Ito’s world?
More music videos, a couple more singles, and the album release hopefully followed by a tour!
About Epiphany Center for the Arts
Conceived with the vision to return Epiphany to a place for people to congregate, the shuttered, historic Church of the Epiphany has been preserved and adapted into the Epiphany Center for the Arts, an iconic cultural hub “For the Good of Art, Entertainment and Events.” Thoughtfully designed, the exemplary 42,000-square-foot campus located on the artsy edge of Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood boasts three distinct venues (Epiphany Hall, The Sanctuary and The Chase House) and a stunning array of amenities. The campus also features eight galleries that serve as a platform for a diverse selection of artists from Chicago and beyond. Epiphany’s exhibitions showcase the work of women, the LGBTQIA community, artists of color, and the disability culture. Epiphany’s top priority is to curate programming that is inclusive, while providing a place established artists can collaborate with emerging ones.
Epiphany’s programming serves to unite community and artists alike while “Bringing Chicago Together.” Visit www.epiphanychi.com to learn more.