INTERVIEW: Azadeh on Poetry, the pandemic and Persian Music

Hello Azadeh and many, many thanks for agreeing to an interview with us here at Joyzine. In 2018, you stated in a Sky News report that a key element of your musical inspiration focuses on the issue that, when you hear enjoyable music, you believe in where that artist/band is coming from. Growing up, which musical artists/bands succeeded in pulling you into their creative worlds and how did this affect/inspire you?

Thank you for having me! Growing up I was influenced by a multitude of genres.  Firstly, during my childhood, I was exposed to a great deal of Persian music – which is why I still have a soft spot for Persian music specifically from the 70s.  I then discovered highly expressive and unapologetic female artists/groups such as Skunk Anansie, Nina Simone and PJ Harvey.  They inspired me to use my voice to channel emotion and to not be afraid to speak my mind.  Long before their explosion into British music’s hall of fame, I developed an obsession with Elbow – I thought, and still think, everything Guy Garvey writes is first and foremost stunning poetry.  I also used to listen to Jeff Buckley daily.  Every time I hear him play I have to stop what I’m doing and just listen and journey deep into his world. The list goes on…!

On similar lines, when you first hear a piece of music, is it the lyrics or the music which inspires you most?

I think as a musician, you are naturally drawn to hearing the instrument it is that you play first.  I am a geeky poet at heart.  When I hear something that moves me, it’s usually because there is that perfect marriage between cleverly woven lyrics, melody and rhythm that fit effortlessly.  Once those components click, the music is the embellishing magic that brings the story all together.

You have an amazing, new single out called ‘Beautiful Life’. Can you please tell our readers about how the song came into creation and what it means to you?

Like a lot of my work, ‘Beautiful Life’ originally emerged as a poem.  I lost touch with an important person in my life and I reimagined what my life would be like if I could be the one giving all that love that I needed back to myself.  I wanted to speak from a place of gratitude and acknowledgement for all I’d achieved just by following my own intuition.  It’s a song about self-compassion at its core – we often spend a disproportionately large amount of our time in a cycle of self-sabotage, or self-criticism certainly, and look outward for an answer, when the long lasting healthiest (and sometimes most challenging) solution is to be kind and unconditionally loving toward ourselves. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a powerful effect on so many people. How have you personally coped with the last 18 months and how has it realistically changed both your creative expression and affected your desire/ability to perform to others?

Similar to most musicians, I lost all my work during covid and it hasn’t quite recovered since.  I took it as an opportunity to take my time over releasing my music.  I found out I was pregnant around the same time as the first lockdown began and so, as you can imagine, I have been very busy throughout the whole period for other reasons.  I played a couple of online concerts which allowed me to feel like I was still performing, though it’s not at all the same as the connection you get with the audience in a concert.  I hope things go back to normal slowly on that front as there is nothing quite like performing and watching music performed live.  

Thank you so much for answering a few questions for our readers! Finally,  may we ask what the future holds for Azadeh? Are there plans to tour, now that life is slowly beginning to return to ‘normal’? Also, what musical projects are approaching for the remainder of 2021 and going forward into 2022? 

Beautiful Life’ is the final single I am releasing ahead of my EP launch and so for the remainder of 2021 I shall be promoting that.  Who knows what 2022 will bring but I hope to throw a posthumous album release party and perform my album live.  When I get time to myself again, I would love to delve deeper into the world of creativity once more and see where it takes me. 

‘Beautiful Life’ is out now on all of the usual streaming platforms.
Follow Azadeh on Facebook / Twitter

Interview by Kev Milsom
Photography by Doh Lee

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