If you ever want to read about an incredible journey of sheer talent mixed with hard work and a sprinkle of luck, buckle up; you’re already here.
The career journey of AACACIA is certainly one to watch. The story began when the young Kiwi entered a competition to win the chance to sing with Drax Project at the sold-out RnV last New Year’s. Watch the entry video below.
Man. Every time I watch that video, I get a prickly number of shivers. Acacia (that’s AACACIA’s real name) retains a voice that challenges the soft and the standard. The magnificent depth in her vocals got her the call of confirmation that she had indeed won the Drax Project competition. In just a few months’ time, this sultry-sensation would be performing in front of New Zealand’s biggest music-fiends. Acacia received this surprise call during an unsuspecting standard shift at her office job.
Personally, the only exciting over-the-phone surprise I received last year on my office job was the Countdown delivery guys letting me know our order was accidentally duplicated and we were going to get two deliveries.
Life was about to get even better for AACACIA. Firstly, she effortlessly nailed the guest performance. Check it out.
In fact, she nailed it so much so that she got officially signed to the label and was sent to record her first single in LA.
Covid may have got in the way of her full time in LA, but that didn’t slow her passionate talent down. AACACIA has just released her first single ‘BEND’, and it’s been laid in front of us like the tease of an entrée before the main course. Written about the common use of nightlife in order to swallow pain, as a young person myself, I got lost in the crevices of ‘BEND’ as it spelled out the reality of the (waste of) time I’ve spent dancing-to-forget in a dark room. This tune is going to be soaked up by our generation of sad-boys and girls. We will welcome this carefully crafted beat with open arms and full glasses, and when that harmony behind her lyrics ‘moving on’ hits, I better be in a cosy basement gig watching AACACIA up-front doing her thing.
In other news, I got to sit down for a casual Q&A with this rising star.
Take us back to the moment you found out you’d be singing in front of that many people. The sold-out entirety of RnV.
It’s quite a funny memory actually. I was working full time in an office at the time, and I got the call that I had won and would get to perform with Drax in front of thousands! But it was confidential for a while, so I had to walk back in the office and act as if nothing happened. My head was definitely in the clouds that day!
Who was the first person you told?
I texted my mum straight away. I was having a conversation with her the night before saying how stoked I would be if I even made top 3!
There’s 5 minutes to go and you’re about to go out on stage. Where are you at, what are you thinking, did you naturally undertake a discovered pre-performance ritual?
I basically just brainwashed myself into thinking I was a badass superstar hahaha. I had to manifest an awful lot of confidence, and quickly. As I walked out on stage, my in-ears got clipped onto something and ripped from my pack and my ears. The tour manager, Jack, was a huge help and we managed to get out there in time for the first verse, but it was certainly stressful!
Your voice has such depth, it’s beautiful in the way it simmers feeling. When did you begin taking the time to share this talent with other people?
3 years ago, I posted a video on Facebook of me singing Tracey Chapman – Give Me One Reason. That video turned out to be the first time my wider family, even my best friends heard me sing. That built some really vital confidence for me to get better and put myself out there more.
Have you ever had professional coaching?
I’ve had 2 singing lessons, and that introduced me to routine vocal warmups which really helped. I’ve discovered through other people’s vocal journeys and my own self-improvement just practicing songs, doing scales and drinking water consistently has been a game changer.
Your favourite childhood memory?
Probably travelling all throughout New Zealand with my twin brother and granddad. He would take us everywhere. He would even pull us out of school sometimes just so we could go away with him! And because of that, I’ve been to many corners of the country.
Your biggest lesson from an adult experience?
Doing music as an adult, it’s been crucial for me to understand the idea of being content in every moment, and avoid the mentality of, “if i have this, then I’ll be happy”. Music is full of huge highs and plummeting lows, and it’s important to find gratitude in every moment cause nothing will ever be perfect or good enough for the ego that constantly demands more. Finding beauty in every moment makes gratitude grow, and fear dissipate. You can’t be grateful and fearful at the same time!
How would you plan to stay YOU throughout the journey to fame?
I think deciding to do music reasonably late (20) gave me time to really think about why I wanted to do music and make sure it was for a genuine reason. I’ve actually spent a lot of time detaching myself from the success I could get in music, and not allow it to define me or my happiness. My friends and family definitely keep me grounded.
If we turn back the clock to pre-covid, you were recording in Drax Project’s L.A studio. How was that!
That was crazy! Truly an incredible time. I got to experience about a week of L.A before everything started changing, so I was extremely grateful for that.
Congratulations on your first incredible single BEND! Can you let us in on the story behind it?
Thank you! I never really know what I’m writing about initially. I normally let the beat determine my writing. Bend was made in the second session I ever did with Neil and it was a beautiful sunny day. I guess we concentrated it around the pains of moving on from something, and the nightlife tends to be quite a common strategy to try and deal with it.
What makes your soul happy?
Nothing makes my soul happier than animals, music, food and connection!
Who are your 3 favourite artists at the moment?
I just came across Jasmine Sullivan, her harmonies and melodies are outrageous!
Justin Bieber and Teyana Taylor have been on repeat lately too.
Where can we expect to see AACACIA heading musically in the future?
I want to take it as far as I can. I’m really fixed on building a piercing experience for people that follow me. My catalogue is becoming really diverse, although still contrasting one another which i think will develop a lot in the years to come.
Your Instagram bio reveals you’re a magician. What’s your best party trick?
Ha! Great question. I can lick my elbow which is meant to be impossible, so people always freak when I whip that trick out. I can also twist my arm to a 360-degree twist. So yep, I’m pretty magical haha.
Whilst we’re on the topic of Insta. I couldn’t help but notice your incredibly lush post of eggs benedict in the Domain Wintergardens. I see by your caption this was lunch. Not brunch nor breakfast. Lunch. So now I’m rather curious about your food taste. What’s your go-to dinner?
You’re right actually, I’m always pulling up for eggs benedict at weird times! But the dinner front is pretty simple. Asian fusion or salads.