Asha Elia: Britain's new MOBO-nominated gospel hitmaker

Thursday 8th June 2023

Chris Mountford spoke to London-based R&B gospel singer ASHA ELIA

Asha Elia
Asha Elia

She IS THE BRIGHT NEW NAME ON THE British gospel scene. Asha Elia seemed to emerge from nowhere to land a big radio hit with "Nights Like This" (which has now received well over a million streams), won a StepFWD award and this year was nominated for a MOBO. I spoke to this quietly spoken soul sister about her music and motivation.

Chris: Some of our listeners may be familiar with one of your songs in particular, which we played not so long ago called "Nights Like This", which we'll perhaps talk about in a moment. But for those who aren't familiar, give us a bit of introduction and tell us about yourself.

Asha: I make mostly R&B, Afrobeat type music. I was born in Bristol and I live in London now. And I write songs with the Holy Spirit.

Chris: I was reading on Spotify that you say you make music with God, for people.

Asha: Yeah, exactly.

Chris: What do you mean by that?

Asha: Whenever I sit down and song write, before I write anything I'm always asking God, "Ok, what do you want to talk about in this song and why?" Then I'll just start writing. One of the things that means the most to me is when I get messages like 'this song helped me through this' or 'this song meant so much to me.'

Chris: Your first single, which I think was released in 2018, was called "Serve". Tell me about the song.

Asha: I hadn't had any experience of song writing or singing before. I just wanted to make Christian music that was a bit softer like soft R&B cos I hadn't heard much of that. My friend helped me, produced it for me; we sat down and recorded it together. I wasn't really expecting anything to come of it but when I released it loads of people loved it. That's when I decided, ok let's continue making music.

Chris: Is it true it was recorded in a friend's bedroom?

Asha: Yes, in my uni accommodation; he just had a small set up.

Chris: So that was like a first step into whether making music was something for you?

Asha: Yeah, definitely, cos at the time I was studying accounting. I didn't think that I would end up being a music artist at all. It's still wild to me.

Chris: Presumably there was some form of background musically before then. Were you singing or performing elsewhere?

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