MP3 Aja Kim - Modern Babylon
If Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin were hanging out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers in South Africa then this, Aja''s first solo release, would be their love child.
8 MP3 Songs in this album (34:50) !
Related styles: ROCK: Funk Rock, BLUES: Blues-Rock
"What''s your music about? What style is it?" That''s such a hard question to answer and the more I learn about life the more blurred the edges get. Truthfully? I''ve never been a fan of categorizing things - especially music. Doing that makes me think of the zoo - a place I never enjoyed going to. I don''t want to see once free creatures looking dull and listless, trapped in little cages. In my opinion, that''s what happens to music when you put it in the ''box''and I''m so thankful for the opportunities for a musical independence and freedom that wasn''t possible before the internet exploded.
I was born a true "army brat" in Fayetteville, North Carolina at the Womack Army Hospital - an all-American blend of Korean, German and Polish ancestry. My four sisters and I were raised solely by my mom, in Ohio and Philadelphia, after the separation of my parents when I was four. (Yes, he was a deadbeat dad and yes, I have come to terms with being the daughter of an absent father. With the help of a fantastic man and after years of working with myself on it, I was finally able to crystallize it and put it to rest in the song ''Something Missing''.) Early hardship will either make you or break you and I was lucky enough to find a passion and my calling early in life.
As I witnessed my mother''s struggle to overcome the barriers of culture, language and poverty, I began to understand the feeling of being a "stranger in a strange land". These and other experiences are the foundation of my ongoing development as an artist and a human being in this world. ''Woman in Shadow'' is a tribute to my mom and her courage and is dedicated to all those who leave behind everything they''ve known to make a better life for themselves and their loved ones.
People tell me I have a strong voice and I attribute my leather vocal cords (and my lightning fast metabolism!) to my mom. But it also came from the ''use or lose it'' school of thought. I''m a singer - so I SING! I have to do it or I just don''t feel right inside. It was as a foot soldier in the trenches of the music world that I honed my chops and I worked the local L.A. club scene, playing anywhere and everywhere I could - sometimes 6 nights a week - sometimes more! My personal best record is 18 consecutive nights in a row performing four 1 hour shows a night when on tour (in the desert!) with former Tower of Power guitarist, Bruce Conte. Bruce kept waiting for my voice to blow out, but it never did. I love Bruce - we have a friendship and a professional relationship that continues on to this day. He is one bad ass guitar player - not to mention as funky as they come.
My first big break as a songwriter was when I was invited to audition for a Japan only CD release with Clarence Clemons, the sax player from Bruce Springsteen''s E Street Band. Was it a coincidence or fate that I was chosen out of 600 hopefuls worldwide to record with a Philly icon that even my 80 year old Aunt Catherine recognized as someone famous? Aja and The Big Man: ''Get It On'' was the result of that collaboration and we are both really proud of the work we did. Clarence was a wonderful mentor and so gracious to me. Thanks to him I got to hear Rain, You Can''t Hurt Me and Woman Of the World (co-written with the best bassist and musician I know, Lynn Woolever) professionally recorded and mastered. He led me through the whole publicity/interview process (including the excellent advice to never ask "What is this?" when encountering mysterious food in Japan). I learned so much from that experience and I will always be so grateful to him. A Big Man, indeed.
I began studying martial arts ( Ohshima Shotokan) on April Fool''s Day 2001 and have trained regularly since I began. I achieved the black belt in 2006 and now I also help teach beginner''s and kids while working on my own practice, which in truth, has only begun. I love the art of karate. It''s so elegant and like life, like music - a never ending journey of discovery. It also keeps me in pretty good shape and it definitely played a strong role during my time as Bruce ‘Lee’ Chickinson in the world’s only female tribute to Iron Maiden – The Iron Maidens. I really loved that project. It gave me a the chance to travel the world and meet the most amazing music fans I''ve ever had the honor to perform for. Maiden and metal fans are EVERYWHERE and in the most unexpected places. For me, the opportunity to sing music that is so beloved and meaningful to the people who come to hear it - and who did come out to hear it in droves - was a sorely needed reminder to me of the power that music has to connect people and it reaffirmed my belief - in this wonderful but very disconnected age of the computer - that it is possible to touch people''s hearts, one note at a time. So thank you Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson, Adrian Smith, Nicko McBrain, Dave Murray and Janick Gers for such incredible songs. Maiden''s music inspired me to rise like a phoenix and get back on my own musical path again. What a gift.
So even though I never win money in Vegas, I really feel I''m very fortunate. I came to L.A. knowing nobody and nothing just because I had a dream to live in California and somehow find a way to have music be my life. I waited tables and went to music school - studying theory and voice and dance. I sang in the choir (no surprise that - I''d been singing in choirs since I was seven years old). But unlike the more somber Catholic Mass this choir sang Bach AND Jester Hairston spirituals. Amen!
In my life, I''ve been fortunate to have been exposed to an astonishingly wide variety of music and artists. It''s given my ear the ability to switch musical gears on a dime and I''ve done a lot of radio and television commercials, even a TV theme song along the way and had a couple of my songs placed in films, as well. Living in L.A. (and having an extremely hard head with a stubborn streak as wide as the Pacific, courtesy once again of my dear mother!) has provided me with opportunities to work with an incredibly diverse group of world class musicians and artists. In addition to Clarence Clemons and Bruce Conte, I''ve recorded and/or performed on stage with Motorhead, Carlos Guitarlos (Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs), Marco Mendoza (Soul Sirkus, Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy) drummer Joey Heredia (Tribal Tech), Burleigh Drummond of Ambrosia (who is playing on 5 of the 8 songs on Modern Babylon), Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) and Argentinan rock band, Wilma Palma. My original band has opened for the patriarch of percussion, Pete Escovedo, among others.
I know this was supposed to be a bio but somehow an autobiography developed instead, so thanks for staying with me this far. My goal is to reach out and touch you somehow with a song and I hope you find something that speaks to you in my work. If I can do that, it is well worth it.
For those who like to know who played on what here''s the 411:
Aja Kim: Vocals
Lynn Woolever: Bass/Additional Backing Vocals/Keyboards/Percussion
Gustavo Garcia: Guitars
Burleigh Drummond: Drums - Modern Babylon, Something Missing, Woman in Shadow, Living In London, Learning To Move
Carl Lott, Jr.: Drums - Justify It, Downhill
Scott Jackson:Drums - The Wrong Man
Glenn Baren:Additional Guitars
If you''re wondering what is happening right now, I''m currently focusing on writing new material for my 2nd as yet untitled CD, as well as writing songs with Motorhead guitarist, Phil Campbell. He''s amazing - a brilliant musician and these songs have magic fairy dust on them! I can''t wait for the world to hear them. In the meantime, this recent review of Modern Babylon is another hopeful sign to me that the walls between styles of music are growing thinner all the time. (Hammerworld Magazine is the Hungarian version of Metal Hammer Magazine, with a circulation of about 20,000 readers).
"Hammerworld Review By Gyorgy Danev
Rating: 9 out of 10
Aja Kim is a Korean-American singer, who’s the frontgirl of the all- female Iron Maiden tribute band, The Iron Maidens, who also has a black belt in Shotokan.
Aja’s first solo album is as far away from the classic British metal as possible. It’s the kind of funky rock music which I normally don’t like, but I really like this, which means that Aja and this fellow, the bassist Lynn Woolever, write excellent songs. All of the 8 songs contain memorable tunes and pleasing instrumental sections. Either the songs are about peaceful moments or are happy, cheerful rockers.
My favourite track – besides the floating title song – is Woman in Shadow, which has beautiful fretless basslines in it. I must put forward Lynn Woolever’s amazing playing – with this performance he immediately became one of my favourite bassists. As the music is funky, the rhythm section is dominant. Although Lynn’s Tony Franklin and Flea-like playing rules the songs -the guitar is only of secondary importance - of course, the main figure is still Aja who has a beautiful voice and a great sense of melody.
The strong, natural sound is really good, although they can''t have had loads of bags full of money, but from this we can see that the important thing in this job is the good ear, not money. It’s a shame that they don’t distribute this album as it deserves to be, because the Chili fans would surely love this stuff, if they could get their hands on it…"
In closing, I''d like to leave you with this final thought. Always remember that it''s important to look to the past in order to understand the present and to be able to see the future. After all, how can you know where you''re going if you don''t know where you''ve been? I sense a need and a hunger out there for more than what''s being doled out to us and that excites me and gives me hope. Music is incredibly deep and vast and I refuse to accept or conform to the idea that it must fit neatly into a little https://www.tradebit.comt mentality has nothing to do with reality. Don''t get me wrong, fast food music can be fun but it''s ultimately unsatisfying. I want my music to be soul food, to be meaningful to people. I''m following, in my own small way, in the footsteps of giants - the great artists I admire, whose works have been the fuel for the fire that lights the road I''m on and have given me the inspiration to continue forging onward, always onward. All are welcome to join me on this journey.