MUSIC REVIEWS FOR THE WEEK OF 2016.02.07
A review of YOU WANNA DANCE, by Aissa Torres
Jilli- Aissa, Aissa, Aissa. You have amazed me and there are so many things that I want to talk about with you so first let me start by saying thank you for lending me the time to speak with you today and to get to know you. I actually came across your music while listening to another artist, TNT Tha Nasty Tone, and I fell in love with You Wanna Dance. Then I started listening to the rest of your music and I am just wondering what in the world is going on because this needs to be on the radio like now! Tell me, how did you get involved with making music, like how did it all start, and how did you get to where you are now?
Aissa– Wow! Thank you for your compliments! I would say that music was always a part of my life since I was very little. I remember stories told to me since I was two years old about singing on top of snow piles in New York, where I grew up. I was always involved in musical theater and just loved to sing out loud, so loud sometimes, that my neighbors would say they didn’t get tickets to my concert! I wrote short stories and poetry all the time, but when I wrote my first song when I was 13 for my 8th grade graduation, even though it was never sung or presented, I just loved how I was able to structure the song and create a melody in my head. A few years later, when I was about 16, I was in my first rap cypher, not exactly knowing what I was going to say or how it was going to come out, but when it was my turn, it’s like I just exploded and all of these lyrics just poured out of my mouth. That feeling was incredible. I felt so alive. So then I tried my hand at making more Hip-Hop songs and creating hooks. I was 22 when my friend, Rashian, gave me some recording software for my computer. I recorded my first song called “Skeletons”, which I never did anything with, but the point is I was hooked!! Recording music was like my drug. When I moved down to Florida in 2006, it wasn’t until 2009 that I met Frank Starchak of Deltona Records. This man single-handedly changed my life. I remember that I wrote my first R&B song called “Pushed Up Against the Wall” and I wanted to record the song with the intention of selling it to a singer. I had decided to be a songwriter at this point, and not a performer. When I made the appointment and stepped into the studio for the first time, it was nothing short of magic. Frank had asked me what I wanted to do and I explained to him that I didn’t think I could sing very well, but that I had a song I wanted to record so I could sell it. He looked at me puzzled but said, ok, let’s just get you in the booth and see what you got. When I put the headphones on, and that music penetrated my ears, and I started to sing, I can’t even properly explain the feelings I had, I mean, it was almost euphoric. He stopped me right in the middle and I thought oh no, I must sound terrible. But instead, he said, Aissa, you are not having anyone else sing your song. You sound beautiful singing your song and it will not come out the same if anyone else sings it. I always told him that he saved me that day because he pressed a magic button of self-confidence in me that I still have til this day. Since then, I have created 4 albums with him, 3 singles, and honestly, I cannot imagine recording with anyone else. He has helped to cultivate my sound, has provided vocal coaching, and encouragement, above all.
Jilli-Thank you so much for all that. I know it was a loaded question! Ok, so you obviously make dance songs, but I did hear a few songs that you slowed it down, some romantic ballads. Then I heard some rap songs too and I am confused! But in a good way. It seems like you make all kinds of music. Explain to me a little bit about your influences and how you would categorize your music, or IS there a category for your music??
Aissa– Haha! Is there a category!? That’s something my manager struggles with daily! My influences come from all over, I love classic rock, I love old-school Hip-Hop, and I love freestyle and disco music. I love soul music like James Brown and Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Donna Summer. I’m very big on the 80’s and early 90’s sounds. I would describe myself as a Lisa Lisa meets Missy Elliot meets Taylor Dayne with a little bit of Pat Benatar. I love to make music that reflects my mood, which is generally happy and free. Songs that make me want to dance and do something active. Then I like to slow it down sometimes and speak on things close to my heart, like love, and just throw people off because they never know what to expect from me, especially when I rap! Music is emotions, its feelings, and I write and sing whatever I feel. It’s my diary.
Jilli– Wow. I love that. “It’s my diary”. Very cool way of putting it. How did you come to collaborate with Sarah Starchak and JT on Sube el Radio? That song has great delivery and great production. I have no idea what JT said in his part, but he reminds me of Pitbull! And Sarah sounded great too. It seems you have collaborated on a few tracks together.
Aissa– Well, Sarah is Frank Starchak’s daughter. We ended up hitting it off one day and I had no idea that she was interested in music as well and that she was a writer and singer and rapper! I wrote the first song we did called “Piece of Pie” and man, I would give anything to have recorded that studio session. We just fed off of each other so well and the song came out so great. She wrote her own verse and we just were so in synch. Sarah and I also did a song called “Cry Inside“, which is such a deep, R&B Hip-Hop track about how we both feel about music. JT and I had recorded “I Wish It Didn’t Have To Be Like This” just a few weeks earlier, so I decided to come up with an idea for all of us to be featured on one track. My producer, Ephdan, sent me the track for the song Sube el Radio, and I immediately called them to come over my house. I played the song in my car and started rapping the hook and they loved it. My idea was to create a secret message in the song, and Sarah followed suit. Until this day, no one has discovered what the secret message is. I am waiting for the day when someone tells me they discovered it!
Jilli– A secret message?? I am going to have to try to figure that one out! So can you tell me who some of your biggest influences in music are? OK, so I did some sleuth work and saw that you love Taylor Dayne and Missy Elliot?? That is a really wide spectrum. Can you explain?
Aissa– Ha! Taylor Dayne and Missy Elliot, two artists I already mentioned before. Well, the truth is, my favorite song from Taylor Dayne is called “Send Me a Lover”. That’s a song that just takes me through every emotion from every note that she sung. It would be like a dream come true to meet her or even share the stage with her. She is also from Long Island, where I am from. And Missy Elliot, she is just so versatile, she raps, she sings, she dances, her ideas are so creative and forward thinking, and she doesn’t care or play into any negativity or small minded people. There are many artists and icons that I look up to in this industry, but they stay on top of the list for me.
Jilli– I love that. Artists like Missy definitely have many elements that make them exciting artists to see. Ok, so every artist has a dream artist that they would love to perform with. Who would that be for you and why? (I’m thinking I may already know the answer to this one!)
Aissa– It would be a dream come true to perform with Missy Elliot. For reasons as stated above, I believe that her ideas are just so incredible and I feel that I would learn so much from her and honestly, I think we would really vibe well together.
Jilli– Absolutely. I will hope for that to come true for you one day. Well, I saw your video for You Wanna Dance. Great video! BUTTT, I HAVE TO SAY, it seems that you lost a ton of weight from that video until now that I have seen in your most recent photos. How did you do that?? You look great, by the way, and I really want to know your secrets! So spill!
Aissa– OMG! Haha! Yes, people have been asking me from all over how I am doing it. Well, to be honest, the secret really was a change in my way of thinking. I woke up one day, March 17th, 2015, and I had decided that I had enough and even spoke it out loud. I realized that I was not being fair to myself. So I made a change in the way I thought about food and about everything. The results were that I lost 72 pounds in just about 9 months. I still feel I have a little bit more to go, even though many argue with me on that, but for myself, I set a goal and it will be reached one day at a time. I wrote about my journey on my website. It’s called “Breaking The Ice” if you want to learn more about it.
Jilli– What are some of your goals for working in this industry and what other interests do you have?
Aissa– I would love to be on TV! I do a weekly show with TNT Tha Nasty Tone where we do Freestyles and also kind of document our lives and journey in this business. It’s a lot of fun and every week that we do it, I just see us on TV and perhaps even movies. I love to cook as well and love to host parties. So we’ll see what the future holds for me in that respect.
Jilli– Why didn’t anyone tell me about these videos?? I checked them out post interview and I am in love with you guys! You’re both so hilarious and have such a great vibe. I am posting a link to your channel, AissaTone, because I think everyone should see this so they can get to know you both more. I love the collaborations between you and TNT Tha Nasty Tone for You Wanna Dance and Secret. I also saw a video you posted on your Facebook for a song called “Hit em with da Funk”. You guys have a great chemistry together. Will fans get to see more collaborations from you two? Are there any plans to make an album together?
Aissa– Thank you so much. Yes, we do have more songs in the works. Many have asked us if we plan on doing a whole album together. We have talked about it at length and we both want to do it, but right now, we are focusing on our own individual career paths and then we will sit down and create a game plan for a joint collaboration.
Jilli– That sounds like a good plan. Definitely know that your fans are anxiously waiting!! Where else can people hear your song, buy it, and when will you be on tour or are you already on tour? What are the plans for Aissa Torres?
Aissa– Well, my music is available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, just about anywhere you can purchase music online. We are planning on doing shows and having a huge CD release party in the summer time so stay tuned!
Jilli-One last thing, your song, “On My Mind”, is a rocker-ish kind of love song. I heard it and watched you perform it, also on your Facebook. Ok, so I am kind of stalking you, I’m sorry! LOL! But that song was so beautiful. How do you just switch back and forth between all different genres? You sung it so passionately. I didn’t see that on your music sites. Is that a new song and if so, will it be on your album?
Aissa– That song! Yes it is a new song; the music was composed by Michael Winter, an incredible composer from Austria. He and I have done three songs together including Hit em With Da Funk and Nothing to Prove. All of these songs will be on my new album. I cannot wait to release it and share it with the world!
Jilli– Thank you so much for your time and for answering the questions! I look forward to featuring you on my site and letting people know about your music.
RATING: ***** (5 Jilli’s) RADIO READY and IF NOT ON RADIO, WHY THE HELL NOT?
For more information on Aissa, catch up with her on Social Media:
Buy You Wanna Dance here.
Watch the video here: