Connecticut based singer/songwriter Akira AK releases his stunning EP' Autotune + Heart'. While also releasing another EP titled "Pearl," Akira AK is no stranger to the long hard days in the studio. Striving to create universal pop music that can reach anyone's heart, his latest passionate EP 'Autotune + Heart' does precisely this and more. Starting his EP with the dynamic intro track "Nothing Without You," the song opens with chiming background keys, growling synths and throbbing power chords. While still incorporating a pop feel through the main beat, the deep electric guitar instrumentals give us a riveting rock atmosphere. Akira AK sings lyrics of giving thanks to past love for the experience and lessons learned, he brings an incredibly wise message of not keeping ill will towards the past but growing from it. Although it's clear that his feelings still run somewhat deep, "Nothing Without You" provides a positive take on parting ways with someone. Moving into a heavier and contemplative piece, Akira AK's second track "Mute" shines a light on the negative aspects of his past relationship. While the beautiful piano instrumental moves from loud to soft, Akira AK keeps this track simple with the iconic duo of piano and vocals. He passionately sings lyrics of holding your tongue towards a past lover and keeping your thoughts to yourself to avoid the fire that swells after speaking your truth. We can feel Akira AK's deep-running emotions with this song, as he's finally found words to describe how he feels. His stimulating piano playing gives "Mute," another sincere aspect that comes straight from the heart. On to the third track, "Inner War," Akira AK brings in a broader sound to emphasize his healing. Starting off with soft piano and celestial pads that grow into a feel-good pop atmosphere, we can instantly feel the energy of forgiveness exuding off this track. The autotune on Akira AK's vocals have met the perfect medium, without drowning in effect. Singing lyrics of reason and forgiving someone from their weaknesses, all because they're fighting an "Inner War." This track takes a stimulating turn with up-beat production that surrounds the main piano. He lets us know that we'll survive our inner turmoil and find the light at the end of the tunnel. Ending off the lovely 'Autotune + Heart' EP with "Gravity," another meaningful piano and vocal duo. Akira AK's vocals give a timeless and mesmerizing aspect to his music, the ballad's that he's crafted is incredibly heartfelt and sincere. This track surrounds reminiscing upon memories of past love and feeling their energy around you long after you've parted ways. At the chorus, "Gravity' moves from single piano to a powerful chorus with enchanting and emotionally-rich violin strings. This song takes a deep turn to the EP; we're left capturing the emotions that Akira AK feels so profoundly through his passionate portrayal of lyrics. We've found that Akira AK's 'Autotune + Heart' EP serves us a musical coping mechanism, and how to heal from love positively and effectively.
You can find the 'Autotune + Heart' EP here.
Hey Akira AK, welcome to BuzzMusic! We’re captivated by your incredible vocals and detailed messages on your emotional EP “Autotune + Heart”. Was this EP purely written from dealing with lost love, or were there other elements at play for the overall concept?
Hi! Thank you! I’m super happy to be on BuzzMusic talking with you all! First off, thank you for the kind words about “Autotune + Heart”. Even though I released it 3 years ago, I still think the themes, messages, and melodies are relevant today – and that was intentional. Aside from it being a highly emotional and personal EP, I intentionally made it with the faith that it would be able to stand the test of time and not falter into a sonic trend. That being said, songwriting above all else is what I take very seriously. Every word, inflection, syllable, and phrase is super important to me in order to create the kind of world/headspace I want the song and listener to live/be in. This EP is both about dealing with lost love, while also delving into grey areas. What I *like to think* I specialize in with my songwriting is telling a story from a distance. Not necessarily giving into the high highs or low lows of any given situation, but looking at events and moments (such as heartbreak) from a reflective point of view. In that regard, it makes whatever I am saying (even while on its face a “down-er”) come with a glimmer of optimism: meaning that the worst is over and you can look back at it knowing and acknowledging that it was bad, while not dwelling on it too much. While I do delve into lost love and heartbreak in the grey area (like in my song “Mute” – my personal favorite song I’ve ever written), I also talk about having a support system in place (“Inner War”), and the necessity of looking back at a toxic relationship or situation with the acknowledgement that you are better for going through it (“Nothing Without You” and “Gravity” – it is in this respect that these two songs bookend the EP to really complete a cohesive and contained piece). As you can see I like to talk… but it’s only because I am very passionate about my own work. As my friend Megami (NYC drag queen extraordinaire) has always said, “As an artist, you HAVE TO be your own advocate. Who else will love your work if not you?”
Speaking on your EP “Autotune + Heart”, Akira AK captures lyrics of accepting the past and learning from it to move forward. Are there any songs in particular that you feel best portray the EP’s message?
I guess I got ahead of myself the answer to you last question then! My bad! But in short: yes. Two songs are directly about this theme, both “Nothing Without You” and “Gravity” about learning from the past and recognizing its influence in everything that you are today. I really wanted to hammer that message home, which is why both songs introduce and close out the EP, respectively. That theme is so important to me because it is something I think gets thought of, but not too often put into words (or songs, in this case). The idea of acceptance of past situations, mistakes, and behaviors is so core to how we grow as individuals, and I always try and weave that message into every song I write, whether that’s covertly or overtly.
Your EP “Autotune + Heart” brings in different musical atmospheres from rock to pop. What made Akira AK want to portray these dynamic aspects all in one project?
I usually talk about my music as pure pop, but in reality, since “pop” is short for “popular”, it has no defined tones, instruments, sounds, etc. That is the great thing about the genre, that it takes the best parts of other more established genres and blends them into itself – and if you’re good at what you do (which I think I am, but I’ll leave it up to others to determine my curation skills, I know what I like and what I want, and that’s good enough for me), then you can create a really special piece of pop music, utilizing some really interesting and diverse elements. To get to your question (sorry, I just love pop music and can go on about it for a bit), the reason I brought in some different atmospheres/elements from other genres (mainly rock and light dance) is because when I created the demos for all these songs and was REALLY working on them from the floor up, I found that these elements (from the large drums in “Nothing Without You” and “Inner War” to the power chords in the latter song as well) really rounded out their respective songs. It was a way of bringing diversity to the overall sound of the EP while making sure the songs were able to have an individual identity all their own.
We’ve heard that not only has Akira AK released the beautiful “Autotune + Heart” EP, but also released another EP titled “Pearl”. Could you speak on the differences between these projects?
My thought process with “Pearl” was that it would sonically be the natural follow up to “Autotune + Heart”. If you listen to the two EPs consecutively then you should be able to hear elements of “Autotune + Heart” being built upon in “Pearl”. As you’ll hear on “Autotune + Heart”, the instrumental is more acoustic and simple, giving the songwriting and vocals a real chance to shine and be at the forefront of each song. With “Pearl”, I wanted to give the production of the song, and the other instruments/elements a chance to play a bigger part. That is why there is a more diverse range of synths, bass, guitars, drums, etc. Aside from the actual sound differences between the two EPs, the subject matter on “Pearl” is actually more refined to tell a story, where “Autotune + Heart” was more about conveying a theme. To this respect, the ordering of songs on “Autotune + Heart” was meant to highlight the overall thematic sound of the EP, while “Pearl” is ordered in a way to convey the narrative I wanted to tell through both the instrumental and writing. This is why I can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to an EP or album from top to bottom – to truly understand what the artist is trying to say with the project as a whole.
What can we expect to see from you throughout 2020?
While I DID have plans to create a music video, get back into performing, and put out another EP by year’s end – I think those projects will have to be pushed back a bit because most (if not all) of them require me to be around people (whether they be collaborators or an audience), and with the pandemic that (understandably) cannot happen. That being said, I have been hard at work writing for the next EP (I’ve actually been working on it for a while now) and making sure I have all the elements ready in my demos for when I bring them to my engineer for mixing and mastering, so we can get straight to work. While I don’t want to give too much away about it right now, what I can say is that it is heavily inspired by a certain X-Men character. I am currently reading Jonathan Hickman’s current X-Men run “Dawn of X” and the characterization in there is so BEAUTIFUL that I cannot help but draw inspiration from it. One thing that I talk about openly is how inspired I am from geek media – whether it be comics, TV, movies, video games, anime, etc. And this EP will be no different. A portion of the ideas from “Autotune + Heart” were actually taken from various comic book characters and stories (like “Mute” being inspired by the Inhumans character “Black Bolt”, while the whole idea of learning and accepting your past is the whole character theme of the Scarlet Witch – specifically from “Avengers: Disassembled” to “Avengers vs. X-Men”). Even the cover art is by comic artist Keron Grant! With “Pearl”, it is directly inspired by the children’s cartoon “Steven Universe”. The themes of love, loss, identity, and acceptance played a major role in that show, and through the specific character “Pearl” (as to who the story and title of my EP is based off of). The cover art is by Steven Universe comic artist Katy Farina, and the logo is actually handwritten by the voice actress of the title character herself Deedee Magno-Hall. All that is to say that this new EP will follow that same theme and be inspired by a particular comic character in its subject matter and motifs. More on that at a later date though!