INTRODUCING: POPPY AJUDHA
With her pixie blonde hair and distinct style, Poppy Ajudha is a face you can be sure you won't forget. But don't be fooled, this girl is so much more.
Born and raised in a nightclub in South London, meet Poppy - the jazz influenced, soul singer whose timeless voice will have you hooked from the minute you hit play.
Your music has quite a distinct sound - For people that have never heard it, how would you describe your music?
Jazz influenced, soul induced, electronically produced. If you haven’t ever heard it come and see me and my band play live at The Village Underground on the 27th of February, 8pm.
Which musicians were your earliest inspirations? How did those artist impact the music that you are writing now?
I have always identified with strong female artists. Whilst I was surrounded by reggae, rare groove and lovers rock growing up as a kid I simultaneously always loved artists like P*nk, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and TLC, Amy Winehouse was a big inspiration in my teens and that took me onto Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Representation is really important so just seeing women in positions of power and success will always influence the way I write and perform.
Your videos and life seem to be very connected to London – how important is the city to you and your work?
It’s my home and the reason I am who I am. It’s been feeding me knowledge and experience since I was little and I’m so grateful to have been able to grow up here, to access the freedom and autonomy it’s provides.
"Seeing women in positions of power and success will always influence the way I write and perform"
You grew up in a nightclub in South East London, how did this influence your sound and the music you're now producing?
It meant I was surrounded by lots of different types of music and people, I think this has helped me to be open. Openness is important because it has helped me to find my sound organically and work with the right people that help to elevate those choices instead of being pushed into one genre.
Are there any artists that are currently inspiring your direction, someone you think everyone should watch out for?
Connie Constance is an amazing lyricist and singer making powerful and important work. Nubya Garcia is an incredible saxophonist and composer similarly killing it in the SE jazz scene. I love seeing my peers excel in such beautiful ways, it’s so inspiring and pushes me to be my best too, we help each other with just our presence as hardworking and strong minded women.
What is the main topic/issue you are trying to communicate through your music at the moment?
There is never one single topic or issue but I guess feminism is the common thread that runs through all of my work, this is then intersected with race and differing topics on gender. Interectionality is an important concept that I try to keep in mind whenever I am sharing my experiences through music.
"Styling is super personal for me, like with all aspects of my music"
What have been your experiences being a woman in the music industry?
You will always face hurdles and hardship in any male dominated industry but women have learnt to be flexible and resourceful and therefore we can fit ourselves into any space. When we get there we just have to make sure we remember make room for other women on their way up.
How involved are you in your personal styling, how do you ensure your video aesthetics match your lyrical content?
Styling is super personal for me, like with all aspects of my music, I take a central role in the creative control of this. With my videos the content doesn’t so much match but contribute to, or build, on the lyrical meanings of the songs - the videos are supposed to not only provide a visual representation of the songs but give you more of an insight into that topic or branch off and nuance it.
What does it mean to be part of #HOHLife?
It feels really special to be a part of #HOHLife and to be included in its journey. There will always be a special place in my heart for the first brands and designers that have believed in me on my journey, and I want to always support them in return.
Poppy Ajudha's new EP 'Femme' is release today. Listen on Spotify.
She is currently supporting Jamilla Woods on her European tour and will be supporting Tom Misch around the UK. Get tickets here.
Poppy Ajudha and her single 'Tepid Soul' were featured in the campaign video for the launch of House of Holland's 'T-Shirt Shop'. Watch the video here.