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Artist Aja Kahti on the Joy of Creative Control

Singer. Songwriter. Visual Artist. Creative Consultant. Vocal Coach. Producer. Undiscovered Talent.

These are just a few of the words that Aja Kahti uses to describe herself across platforms. She is passionate about driving her own potential and defining her own path, happily claiming “Anything that has to do with music, that’s where I’m going. I don’t think there was ever a time that I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be doing music. It’s just always been a part of who I am.”

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Aja’s feelings are raw, authentic, and relatable. Like many artists and creators, she finds so much of her purpose and individuality within her ability to create. She sees these opportunities as her chance to be true to herself, to express her thoughts purely. Her control over her creative process empowers Aja to create anything and everything, without being bound by the expectations of others.

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The flip-side of artistic freedom and control is making decisions. Artists face an insane amount of choices, with one of the most basic ones being where they create their art. Aja looked at her own travels and experiences, considered the environment she wanted to create in, and arrived at Atlanta.

“I chose to come to Atlanta to pursue my creative aspirations because one, I’m black and it just felt like a safe space for me to grow. I had visited on tour when I was really young and got to sing here for the first time. I just fell in love with the way people absorb culture and creativity here. It made me feel like this was a place where I could learn from those around me.”

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But Aja isn’t just about being comfortable while she goes after her creative dreams; she’s also innovative, and going off the beaten path has already proven valuable. When she entered the A3C Studio Takeover contest, part of the A3C - Festival and Conference, Aja didn’t let her comfort zone dictate her entry. Where the majority of musical artists submitted musical entries, Aja opted to write an essay instead. Her creativity and passion set her apart, making her the winner of the A3C recording session. Creative risks like that are often what lead artists to new opportunities, new communities, and new collaborations.

“Anytime I get an opportunity to do anything creative is a chance to be true, to be pure, to feel as if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life.”

Aja recognizes the value of having control over her creations because it gives her the freedom to create with people, not contracts, as her focus. To keep her content pure, she creates without sponsors, corporations, or anyone else who may be more worried about followers or sales over an authentic creative piece.

The goal is the same across her singing, songwriting, and coaching: use her creative freedom to make something that will be meaningful, empowering, and inspiring to others.

“When I’m in the studio and I create something that I know is going to resonate with people I feel blessed because when I listen to music I feel so connected to the artist and they heal me. So, to be able to do that for someone else, it lights a fire that I feel like I’m burning for others that may be cold.”

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That sentiment might sound romantic...and it really is. But it’s also a realistic concept when an artist has ownership over how, where, and why they develop their content. Aja doesn’t see herself as only a singer--she is happy to contribute across the spectrum of musical creation, finding joy in multiple aspects of the process. As an independent creator, Aja is able to participate in so many activities that stretch her skills and allow her to influence and inspire others.

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The happiness and authenticity that Aja finds in her work rings true for so many creators, as she recognizes that each day requires dedication and drive to keep ownership of her creative life.

“The journey is hard, you know? The passion is always there, the purpose is there, but you have to make that choice every day as a creative, as an entrepreneur, as just a person who wants to live a free life. Every day I’m making that decision.”

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