If you were a successful music artist, what would make you want to quit the music business? Your brother in-law embezzling all your money? Realizing that law school was your true calling? Maybe the opportunity to be the star of your own reality show? In this Popdose Interview…podcast style, I spoke with Aaradhna about her music, her influences, her new single, and, yes, what made her almost say goodbye to her music career. For those who don’t know this versatile singer from New Zealand, you’re in for a real treat. Fans of soul and R&B music will quickly hear how that genre of music from the ‘60s to the ‘90s factors into her sound. Given her ethnic roots (Her mother is Samoan and her father is Asian Indian), there may be an inclination to think that a more “world” sound would emanate from her music. In some ways it does, but the dominant musical chord is that of American soul music. And really, considering how rich that type of music is, who could blame her?
So who is Aaradhna? Well, she’s a NZ Girl from Porirua (Near Wellington) whose big break came when Nainz and Viiz Tupai from the R&B group Adeaze asked her to sing on “Getting Stronger” — which went to the top of the New Zealand charts. After that debut in 2004, the future for Aaradhna in the Kiwi music scene looked very bright. However, two years later, while her music was in NZ top 10, she reached a personal nadir that caused her to withdraw from the public view. So deep was her anguish that it made her want to throw in the proverbial towel on her music career.
She came back from the precipice, however. Armed with a newfound determination and a desire to give music another go, she recorded and released the song “Wake Up,” a call to action to those for whom the dark clouds of difficult times hang over their head. “Wake Up” has similarities to the retro sound that Amy Winehouse had success with the release of her CD, Back to Black. Now it’s no accident that Winehouse’s music is a factor in Aaradhna’s latest single since at that time, she fell in love with Winehouse’s voice, her lyrics and…well, the whole album.
It’s clear this is a time of transition for Aaradhna. Her music is taking her in another direction and it’s one where many of her fans are eager to follow. I’m just happy I got to speak with her as she’s turning the corner in her career.