Things blew up for indie pop artist, Asta, 7 years ago after the release of her first two singles “Escape” and “My Heart Is On Fire”.
But the large gap between her debut EP, and her latest video for “Want You To Know” that she dropped at the beginning of 2020, is telling.
The Tasmania-born singer-songwriter sits cross-legged from me, hands folded in her lap.
“When I wrote ‘Want You To Know’ a year ago I was like, this is me!” her voice is light and calming, almost serene. “I’ve never felt more comfortable in a song before – with my voice and the vibe and my producer, we’ve been writing together for ages and he just gets it. I was looking for an energy that’s untouchable and that’s what I think we achieved with it.”
The video itself is bright and bold, and Asta assumes the role of a Willy Wonka-style bad-ass who asserts her strength through her colourful aesthetic and movements.
As a solo artist, Asta is now confident in the certain amount of freedom that comes with having the option to experiment, but still has that nagging feeling that perhaps there should be a cohesive whole to her musical journey. “I’m struggling at the moment releasing new songs,” she starts. “My set is just going to be a clusterfuck of these different things that are complete different chapters and phases in my life. But I think many artists feel the same, you just have to keep writing and making better and better songs so then eventually you can play your dream set.”
But Asta’s newfound creative freedom has not been easily won, and she attributes her prolonged break to her fervent desire to to find her own voice and take control of her career – to be the captain of her own musical ship.
“I definitely have felt disappointed and let down. And I don’t know if that’s because I was a woman, or because I wasn’t being strong enough and didn’t voice my opinions enough on stuff. Maybe I didn’t have a strong enough vision at the time because I was so young?” Asta muses and we both break as her question hits thin air.
“I’ve definitely been let down and in that, I feel like I’ve let my fans down. Wow, I’m literally like tearing up right now.” Oh god I made her cry, is literally the only thing going through my mind, but she pauses for a split second before jumping right back in.
“It’s so draining on an artist to go back and forth for years with people telling you what they like and don’t like about your music. ‘Want You To Know’ is the first release where it’s like – no, I’m doing this for me. If you don’t want to get onboard with this, then fuck off,” she smiles, going through a spectrum of emotions in 0 to 100.
I marvel at her courage and tenacity, especially since “Want You To Know” really is so great. It’s the ultimate middle finger to what’s over her shoulder.
“So now I’m looking at what’s next. I don’t want to make the same-sound song forever. I’m getting inspired by more club-rooted stuff, I’ve been going back to older artists. You know when you’re a kid and you listen to stuff, and then you’re an adult and you listen to it again and you’re like, holy shit this is actually amazing!”
We spend the next while talking about Jamiroquai being an undisputed genius and Kylie Minogue being the ultimate OG, and I find myself feeling that no matter what comes next for Asta, this is a woman who’s resolutely secure in her musical self-image that there will be no advantage-taking ever again.