A Powerful Voice Telegraphing the Joys
and Struggles of Love and Becoming an Adult.
Seamless Blend of Pop, Alt Folk & Rock
What ties all of Ajay Friese's creative endeavors together is his innate curiosity. Nowhere is that more evident than on Friese's latest single, 'YOUR EYES', a song that displays the Seattle-born, Victoria BC-based singer/songwriter's knack for distilling his personal experiences into musical journeys, characterized by his unfailingly honest vocal delivery and hooks aplenty.
Written early on in quarantine and recorded and self-produced by the 23-year-old actor/recording-artist and his friend: 'It's a reminder of the power and value of examining the way your loved ones see you. Even when you feel self-doubt and loathing, in that examination you can find the support and belief you need to carry on,' Friese explains.
That demo caught the attention of Ken Lewis, who's worked with A-list artists including BTS, Kanye West, Taylor Swift, Eminem, and many others and has worked on over 100 Gold and Platinum-certified records and 73 Billboard #1 hits over time.
Although best known for recurring roles on Netflix series Lost In Space, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, and Riverdale, and for his lead role in the critically acclaimed 2019 film, 'Riot Girls', the curiosity that drives Friese has always led him to cast a wide net in terms of his creative pursuits and passions. In addition to music and acting, he has a background in competitive dance, is an accomplished astrophotographer, and as a young teen attended summer camps around the world with CISV, an organization that connects and educates youth from different cultures as a means to build a more peaceful future.
To a large extent, it's the literal journeys Friese has taken over time that inspire his lyrics and enable listeners to see their own lives reflected in his songs.
Whether it's acting or songwriting, or simply indulging his curiosity in a myriad of other ways, Friese is determined to apply what he learns along the way to every creative task he takes on. That approach is abundantly clear on all three of his recent singles, 'Jasper', 'Higher Stakes', and 'YOUR EYES'. 'We're in an era where a lot of people are listening to different genres of music in the same sitting. At least I am from Broadway soundtracks to rap to singer/songwriters to rock. Sometimes I'll explore an artist's whole discography, read everything I can about them, and basically get obsessed with them for a bit.'
While Friese's pop sensibilities come across on each track, his music, like Friese himself, defies easy categorization. 'That doesn't come from a place of trying to make them different. It comes from not feeling the need to make them sound the same. As a person, I've never stuck to one aesthetic, so each song sounds different because I'm making music for me, not for a particular genre or audience.'
The result is a seamless blend of pop, alt. folk, and rock, fueled by Friese's powerful voice and his preoccupation with telegraphing the joys and struggles of love and self-discovery with an open mind and heart; somehow emphasizing what unites us rather than how we differ, and doing this with a refreshingly authentic voice that is equal parts emotionally raw and thoughtfully crafted.
"A lot of my songs have an element of compassion and empathy, even if they're vengeful sounding, or about someone who's hurt me. That's just how I look at the world. It's difficult for me to judge other people because I imagine if I was born as them and lived their exact life, I might do the exact same thing."
It's a sentiment that's both unifying and reassuring, and one he drills down deeply into on 'Higher Stakes', an urgent-sounding tune driven by a chill-inducing piano and drum track, a song about 'Being in a place where you feel unequipped to love and feeling frustrated with another person for not understanding that.'
Even when examining the exasperating limbo between loss and love, however, Ajay Friese never loses sight of his core belief in the value of putting himself in another person's position. "It all goes back to empathy. We're so quick when we don't agree with someone or how they act to disregard that person or think they don't matter at all. But everyone matters."