Asha Jefferies’ Debut Album ‘Ego Ride’ is a Journey of Movement

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Australian pop star on the rise Asha Jefferies has released her debut album Ego Ride on April 12. A 10-track record conveying radiant positivity and bittersweet heartbreak, Jefferies has given listeners a close up look at her transformative journey over the last few years. With songs that cover everything from grief, love, joy and loss, the lovable Aussie singer-songwriter delivers a debut musical effort that is honest and raw in both her lyrics and her production. An album perfect for roadtrips across empty highways, Jefferies’ inaugural record captures a feeling of transformation and understanding of oneself. A well-rounded project balanced by gritty ballads and glowing pop anthems, Ego Ride is a stunning glimpse into the life of Asha Jefferies thus far. Jefferies sat down with Melodic Magazine to discuss the inspiration behind her debut, the power behind niche songwriting and advice for her younger self.

Thank you for taking the time to chat today! Your debut album just came out. What was on your mind as the release date was approaching?
There was definitely a lot of buildup. It was really beautiful. We had a little listening party two nights prior to the release day. I invited all of my close friends to the studio where we made the album. We had a little listening party and my managers brought in a cake and surprised me with the vinyl. I saw the vinyl for the first time, and it was so beautiful. Waking up on release day felt like I’d been flying this plane quite a while and I’d finally landed the plane. The last couple of weeks I’ve just been feeling like we were going on our descent into the release. 

That’s a very good analogy. You say it feels like an airplane, and I noticed in your music you have this common theme of vehicles, movement, transportation, and things relating to that. The album is called Ego Ride, it features the song “Cruise Control”. What do those themes symbolize to you?
I think it comes pretty intuitively, but the symbols of movement, like cars and running, I think that really represents this feeling of transformation and change and this journey of movement. It really speaks to this feeling of everything is always changing and we’re always evolving as people. 

The album captures a lot of growth and this transformative era in your life, how does it feel to share these moments of growth, happiness, heartbreak and vulnerability with people?
I’ve sat with the songs for so long. I think it’s been two and a half years of making the record. I have a very close relationship with all of the songs. It’s almost like when you know someone so well that…there’s this weird feeling of trust. When you’ve looked at the songs so many times it doesn’t feel as scary and it feels like the natural progression to share it with the world. But it’s definitely still vulnerable and scary for sure. And I think your relationship with everything is always changing, right? It reminds me of a close friendship. You kind of go in and out of being close. It’s the same with these songs. They keep circulating in different ways for me.

What songs on the album stand out to you the most?
I have a really close connection to “Spinning,” because it represents a really pivotal moment of making the album where I was letting go of a lot. I was in the studio one night and we had a rehearsal. The band had gone home, and it was just me at the studio. I just remember feeling so grateful and lucky and just feeling like a younger version of myself would be so stoked to be where I am now. It feels like it’s a song that’s a huge dedication to a young younger version of myself that didn’t know that all of these really cool things were about to happen. 

I also wanted to ask about the single “Stranger,” which was the final single before the album came out. Tell me a little bit about the story behind that single.
It took me a long time to write. It was about this relationship that I was in, and one of those things where you don’t really realize what type of relationship it is until years later after so much growing and reflecting. It’s a song about making sense of the relationship that it was and finding empowerment within it. It’s just this tough and gritty ballad that’s dedicated to that version of me that was in that relationship and didn’t really feel like I had a voice. But years later when I wrote that song, I did feel like I had a voice and was able to voice all these feelings that sometimes at the time you don’t realize that you’re feeling.

You mention that several of your songs seem to be you talking to a younger version of yourself. If you could talk to that version of yourself right now, what would you say to them?
Oh my God, I actually think about this all the time. Pursue your happiness and prioritize your creativity and then everything else will follow. I think that’s my hugest thing.  

I know around the time “Cruise Control” came out you said that your music used to come from a place of grief or anger, and then “Cruise Control” came from a place of pride, which was a change for you. With other songs on the album, what places did those songs come from? What other emotions did you explore?
I think there’s a real feeling of triumph. There’s this feeling of euphoric joy, pride and a release from all of these heavier feelings. It feels like the album has a lot of heaviness and also a lot of lightness to contrast with it. There’s also songs on the album that speak to grieving and a place of loss. The song “Golden Hour” is about trying to process a relationship and wandering down to the park hoping that you’d see them, but also hoping that you wouldn’t see them. It’s a story of feeling like the love for someone will never go away and how annoying that feeling is. 

When it comes to love, loss and heartbreak, what advice do you have for listeners who might be going through the same things you talk about in these songs?
I feel like there’s only one way through it and that’s going through it. You can’t go over it or go under it. You just have to go through it, and the more that you accept and allow every emotion and every feeling to be there, the more you’re able to be transported into this new space. But a lot of the time when they’re getting a heartbreak, it’s this feeling of wanting to be in a better place or wanting to be a newer version of ourselves. I think just really allowing ourselves to be exactly where we are is what gets you ahead.

Around the release of “Cruise Control” you had said you had gotten into piano playing, and you really loved a more raw production and you said you’d do that with future music. Did you take a more raw approach to the production of this record?
Yeah, I really wanted the songs to showcase the songwriting effort, if that makes sense. I think in the past it’s been more about the production efforts or the lyrical efforts, but I think what I really wanted to come through was the honesty and the songwriting. When you first write a song there’s this intention behind it, and I think sometimes the intention of the song can get lost through the arrangement or the production. So, I think working with Sam Comrack was really important because he’s a songwriter as well, so I think he was able to really identify the intention of the song and never lose it.

Going off of that, what draws you to the singer-songwriter side of pop music?
I wanted to be a celebrity when I was a kid, and that’s how I got into playing music in a way. I thought if pop stars are singing music, it’s because they write their own music, so I’m going to start writing my own music. That’s how I started writing music, but I think over time I got so much more out of it than feeling like I was a pop star. I started to actually feel this huge purpose of expressing myself, and I think that’s the most beautiful part of writing songs. You really get to share a piece of yourself and you get to know yourself better. At the end of the day it does feel like therapy and I think that’s what I love about it. It feels very productive and it also feels very healing.

I had read that your music ‘comes from the most vulnerable depths of a young woman learning to express her queerness,’ and I thought that was an amazing description. When it comes to that aspect of your identity, how do you express that through your music?
Through honesty. It reminds me of this certain phase that I went through while making this album where I realized that I was attracted to women, and it was just exciting and this joyful and lighthearted thing. That’s what I wrote “Tank Tops” about, and it felt so cool to write songs again from a place of joy and happiness that changed me as a person, I started understanding my identity as a queer person and understanding that I could write more than just sad music. It became natural because I just seemed to write about personal things that happened to me. I think it was just another thing that was happening in my life that I felt very good to write about.

What do you hope listeners can take away from your debut album?
I’m excited to know how the songs resonate or if they resonate with people. Writing these songs has been a deeply personal and honest experience for me. I’m such a big believer that the more specific and personal you get around songwriting the more you capture this essence of being able to relate. I think the bigger picture about it is that connection through music, and I’m excited to see how it relates.

It’s almost an oxymoron how the more specific the songwriting is the more relatable it is. Why do you think that is?
I don’t know! It’s one of those risks you take. I think about it in this way – the more specific you are, maybe you resonate with less people, but the people that you do resonate with it resonate so hard. I think of the song “Begin Again” by Taylor Swift. She talks about James Taylor records and her high heels. I don’t relate to those specific things at all, but because she brings so much detail into the song I think it creates this feeling, and we relate to this feeling a lot. At the end of the day, I think the specificity in her songwriting does all the groundwork for this huge feeling that so many people relate to.

I think that’s a great answer. Did you have any final thoughts or any upcoming plans or projects you wanted to mention?
We’ll be heading over to the UK in a month’s time to play The Great Escape and then do some traveling, but that’s kind of it!

It was such a lovely chat. Thank you for taking the time, I really appreciate it!
Thank you so much, so lovely to chat to you! 

Keep up with Asha: Instagram // YouTube // Spotify // TikTok

Justice Petersen
Justice Petersen
Justice Petersen is a Chicago-based music journalist and freelance writer. She is a recent graduate from Columbia College Chicago, having earned a journalism major with a concentration in magazine writing and a minor in music business. Justice regularly contributes artist interviews, On Your Radar features and various other articles for Melodic Magazine, serving as an interviewer, writer and editor. She also writes for several other online magazine publications, including Ghost Cult Magazine, Chicago Music Guide and That Eric Alper, and her work has been featured in Sunstroke Magazine, Fever Dream Zine, ChicagoTalks and the Chicago Reader. Her favorite band is Metallica and her go-to coffee order is an iced vanilla oat milk latte with strawberry cold foam on top.

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