As one of my favorite vocalists to debut in 2017, I am especially happy to share this interview with you. If you listen to artists like Billie Eilish – then you need to add Astrum to your playlists. She’s been releasing music sporadically since 2015 but finally decided to release her debut project Perception in 2017.
In this interview, I got the chance to talk to her about the backstory of Perception, what drove her into being an artist, and much more!
Q: Before I start the interview would you like to introduce yourself?
A: Sure! I’m Astrum, I’m nineteen years old and I am a singer/songwriter and producer. I like to think I make dark alternative-pop music.
Q: How long have you been interested in music? Was there a specific moment when you realized you wanted to do this professionally?
A: I’ve always been interested in music. Music has been with me my entire life. I remember being young and singing my heart out in the car. It’s always been my passion, my shelter, my way to express myself.
I started writing when I was eight years old and producing at fourteen. Honestly I don’t think there was a moment when I knew it’s what I wanted to do, I think I’ve always known.
Q: When you decided to become a musician, did you initially have the support of your family/peers?
A: My family is supportive of me now, for sure! I mean they have always been supportive, but I don’t think they understood how much music actually meant to me growing up. I was always afraid of how they would interpret my music. I think once they saw me perform live, they were more understanding and supportive of my career choice.
Q: Your music (as a whole) is relatively alternative. Who are some artists that you looked up to growing up and influence your music now?
A: The Beatles for sure! I don’t know if I would say they’ve inspired any of my music but they definitely inspire me as an artist and in general.
I love Fleetwood Mac and I think Lindsey Buckingham inspires me as a lyricist. Lana Del Rey and Marina and the Diamonds are my OG’s, I love those ladies.
Q: Are there any artists that are out now that you’d want to collaborate with?
A: There are so many artists I would love to collaborate with. I love Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, SOHN, Vince Staples. I think it would be cool to work with Lorde, as well!
Q: You released your debut song “Promises” in January. Can you briefly explain your thought process while creating this song?
A: ‘Promises’ was originally created as a writing assignment for one of my classes. We had to link up with another writer in the class and do a co-write. I had never written a song with anyone before so it was a new experience for me.
I wrote the song with my friend Lilianna and in the end we liked it so much we were like “we should release this”. We wanted to switch the narrative with this song.
Usually in “one night stand” situations, people associate women to always wanting something more for some reason. I wanted to be the one in control of the situation. I wanted to feel empowered.
Q: Were you nervous about how it would be received? What advice would you give someone who wants to be an artist but is afraid of how they’ll be perceived?
A: I was SO NERVOUS! I had never released a song before on larger platforms before. I was a Soundcloud artist, the majority of what I was releasing was covers, so I didn’t know if people would like my original music and sound.
I’m a very anxious person so I was worried that it wasn’t good enough, that everything had to be perfect. I think every artist has these fears, because you’re putting out a part of yourself and giving it to the world to analyze.
My advice would just be to make sure you are putting out something you are proud of, and the rest shouldn’t matter. If it doesn’t mean something to you, it’s not worth it.
Q: Later in the year you released your debut ep Perception. To me, it feels like creating this project was somewhat therapeutic for you, am I right? How did you decide what you wanted to talk about?
A: My EP Perception means so much to me, and I feel like that is maybe weird to admit, but I really needed it, and I hope that others can relate to it.
I had been writing songs that fit a concept that didn’t feel right at the time. I was in a rush to get something out immediately after ‘Promises’, and it took me some time to realize that I couldn’t rush myself.
I wanted to tell a story that felt real. I’ve always had a toxic relationship with myself and I had to admit that and pour out my feelings, because I felt like that was the only way I was ever going to accept myself and grow. I had already written ‘I’m Still Standing’ and I knew I wanted to end on a note of strength and self acceptance, and once I wrote ‘Perception’ it all came together.
Q: This may be a hard question, but from the project, which is your favorite song and why?
A: ‘Perception’ is definitely my personal favorite song. Don’t get me wrong I love them all, but the day I wrote the lyrics to ‘Perception’, I knew it was my favorite.
I didn’t really have to think with this song, the melody and the lyrics just came naturally. I think it’s my favorite because it’s my truth. It’s me being honest with myself, and I hope people listen to the words and know that they aren’t alone in what they are feeling, because I know I always felt like I was.
Q: Do you think who you are as a person and who you are as an artist are similar/polar opposites?
A: Astrum is a persona. I don’t consider us polar opposites, but there are definitely aspects of me as an artist, that differ from me as a person. As an artist, I am a more dramatized version of myself.
Everything I write is personal and has truth to it. The emotion is real, but the experience doesn’t always have to be, which is something that will make more sense with future releases.
Q: There are a lot of aspiring artists who want to put their content out into the world but are afraid of how they’ll be received — did you have the same fears? If so, how did you surpass them. Also, what advice could you give those people?
A: It’s scary putting yourself out there and not knowing how you’re going to be received, but I’ve been making music for so long that the fear of not doing what I loved overruled the fear of what others were going to think of me. Just create art that you are passionate about and put aside everything else.
Q: Was there ever a time you thought (or felt like) this career path may not work out? What made you decide to take the risk of being an entertainer?
A: It’s something I questioned a lot, and on bad days I have doubts, but I think it’s normal to doubt yourself sometimes. It’s a hard industry to break into when you are an independent artist, but it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do so in the end it’s worth every doubt, struggle, and risk.
Q: Is there anything you want to tell your supporters?
A: Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me and listened, streamed, or bought any of my music. I hope you know that you are loved and you are not alone. Your support means so much to me and I truly thank you for believing in me and following me on this journey!
Q: Last but not least, should we be prepared for something in 2018?
A: Definitely! I can’t wait to share what’s next.
To listen to her debut ep Perceptions click here.