AZA has released ‘Go Slowly, from his EP of the same name. The song is centred around beautiful jazz piano and has an emphasis on powerful lyrics - ‘the world’s a scary place’, with the core message being ‘so go slowly’. At the 1.39 mark, the percussion joins, with a minimal, laid-back feel.
We can hear AZA’s musical influences being drawn upon - this is a musician whose sound is deeply rooted in music from the African Diaspora. AZA grew up listening to gospel, reggae, soca, blues, soul, and jazz and all of these genres have had a profound influence on the development of his musical style. There is a combination of rap and and then choruses which are sung in a legato style on this single. Overall, ‘Go Slowly’ has a very soothing vibe to it. The verses speak of some of the fears and dreams of the speaker, so we sense this track is very personal. There is something of the young Late Registration-era Kanye West to be heard, with heartfelt stories being shared over piano melodies.
At the 3.27 mark, the song erupts into more of a punchy groove section with toms and hats joining the mix as a celebration of going slowly - luscious layers of vocoder-touched vocals and backing add texture and warmth, before the song comes full circle and ends as it began. The only difference being the jazz bass we here as the track fades out.
This is an artist who has a rich and interesting background, and someone who has an academic history, as well as a focus on spirituality and meditation practices. Currently, he practices and teaches meditation and mindfulness and is currently a resident physician in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University where he leads The AZA Lab. He is also the co-founder of Renaissance Entertainment, LLC a company aimed at combining music, science, and community building to create a more conscious and empathic culture.
AZA was fortunate to not only develop a unique ear for mixing elements of different genres together, but to also have a firm foundation in music theory as well as formal studies of gospel and jazz music in college and was awarded MIT’s Emerson Scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music. AZA studied in the MD/PhD program at Harvard Medical School. He finished his PhD in Neuroscience at MIT in 2016 and his MD in 2019. He also received his B.S. in Biology from North Carolina Central University where he also received minors in Philosophy and Jazz studies for piano and vocal performance.
AZA is a multi-instrumentalist and artist with a particular flare for music which is rare to come by. Go stream the latest EP to here more of AZA’s distinct sound and be transported into the world he invites you to enter with him. You’ll not only discover something about AZA, but also about yourself.