17 Nov 2023

Aaradhna: 'I've learnt to just put my foot down on things that I believe'

2:38 pm on 17 November 2023

Aaradhna Photo: Renati Waaka

This month, Aaradhna released the new single 'SHE'.

The award-winning R&B artist tells TAHI's So'omalo Iteni Schwalger about the self-ownership that's shaped the music on her upcoming album.

Find details on Aaradhna's upcoming shows in Christchurch, Hamilton, Wellington and Auckland here.

On her recent self-titled spoken word piece:

"[Aotearoa spoken word artist Jahra Wasasala] kind of inspired me to write something of my own. Everything that came out, it was just a mixture of things that were simmering inside.

"I just wanted us to speak about what my world's like and what goes on in my head. And sometimes a song is not enough. Being able to do the spoken word … I just felt more open to saying a lot more than what I would in a verse on a song. It gave me more space to colour and draw."

"It was like just a big, beautiful spew of words that came out during lockdown."

On producing her own music for the last seven years:

"I just really wanted to take ownership for everything to do with my craft, like the music especially. I really wanted it to feel like it's coming from me - like no detours - just to feel like you're listening to me.

"I just taught myself to play a few more chords and I just really got into recording everything from scratch and bringing it together with my band and putting the skin on the skeleton.

"I really wanted it to feel like you're feeling me. I feel like I've accomplished that with this new music. I'm the most me-est I can be with this music."


On taking ownership and backing herself:

"It's good to get help but … that whole seven years I found out that I can do this. I can do this by myself. And yeah, so it's taking ownership for everything. And also I've learned that if I really believe in something I really need to stick up for that. So I've learnt to just put my foot down on things that I believe, especially when it comes to my craft.

"I need to make sure that I am happy with everything and not worried about someone else's feelings getting hurt. If it's to do with my craft, I have to make sure I just put my foot down on my ideas and to make sure I fight for what I believe in."

On neo-soul artist Nganeko:

"Her voice is just so, so silky and buttery and just so effortless. The latest release 'Down Bad Patrol', does feel so pleasant to my ears, just the way she puts her harmonies. I love her."

On the power of kindness:

"I think it's my upbringing. My mum and dad have taught us to always treat people how we want to be treated and that's just the only way we know to live is just give out good energy. Because everything always comes back and what you give out you're gonna get it right back."

So'omālō Iteni Schwalger, sitting with Aaradhna, in TAHI Studio for interview.

 So'omalo Iteni Schwalger and Aaradhna Photo: TAHI

Aaradhna on RNZ:

NZ Live (2013)

Get the RNZ app

for easy access to all your favourite programmes