Interview with HA VAy - “I Wanna Cut My Hair”
Ha Vay is a musical project exploring the identity of an Asian, bi-racial young woman navigating trough her early 20s. Songs are made in collaboration with her close friend and audio engineer, Elliott, in the SF Bay Area.
In her own words:
The new single, called “I Wanna Cut My Hair”, is a psychedelic dance pop/dark pop track with a punk spirit, created as an attempt to set myself free from the crushing expectations of womanhood which have defined my life. The lyrics address the standards of beauty and feminine mystique I’ve tailored myself to, the dissatisfaction churning beneath the surface of my performative femininity, and my desire to break free and live without a care. Beautiful, long hair has long been a hallmark of feminine beauty, a burden many women labor over, and through this anthemic pop tune I aim to release myself from this symbolic burden.
1.What are the essential qualities that make a good musician?
Ha Vay : I think this can be a really subjective thing, but for me, I really appreciate musicians who explore through music. Musicians who are open to creativity and openness, to being human and vulnerable, to collaborating and listening. I connect with musicians who are interested in innovating and learning all the time.
2.What was the best concert you’ve seen and why?
Ha Vay : I've seen so many great shows, but two immediately come to mind. I remember the first time I saw Kitten, the singer was jumping off the walls, climbed onto someone's shoulders, kissed people in the audience and I was in awe. At another show, Benjamin Francis Leftwich jumped off the stage for his last song and sat on the floor with the audience sitting around him, singing along. The connecting thread between these shows was the performers' connection with the audience. That definitely made an impression on me and I'm always looking for ways to do the same. 3. Describe the worst performance you have seen. What would you change about it?
Ha Vay : Hmm, I'm not sure! In general I would say that it's important to be true to yourself and your vision when you perform. If you're creating an onstage persona that feels uncomfortable or untrue to yourself in order to project a certain image, it's pretty clear. I'll prefer an honestly nervous performance over a really clearly contrived one.
4.What made you want to become a musician?
Ha Vay : Music has always been a big part of my life, so I almost feel like it was inevitable, rather than a conscious decision. My dad is a musician and that was definitely a big influence.
5.What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?
Ha Vay : Growing up, my primary avenue of expressing myself was through music. Until more recently I rarely knew how to express my feelings to anyone verbally, but I've always been able to communicate through music. When I perform the songs that mean the most to me, I experience such a great catharsis and joy and elation.
6.Describe your favorite and least favorite part about being a musician.
Ha Vay : I love when I'm able to connect with people through music. Whether that's sharing passion and energy and vulnerability through performance, collaboration and creativity with other musicians/artists, or hearing about how listeners have connected with something I've made, this is definitely my favorite part about being a musician. It brings me so much joy to share music with others, especially since music can reach people on a deep and emotional level. My least favorite part is the politics, pretentiousness, and gatekeeping in musician communities. I really value accessibility and am not looking to judge anyone based on their level of music education, the gear they own, their music taste, or anything like that. I'm much more interested in the passion and creativity and openness we can all bring each other.
7.Have you ever participated in any music competitions? Did you win any prizes?
Ha Vay : I haven't participated in any music competitions, but when I was 12 my English teacher submitted a memoir essay I wrote to a big writing competition without me knowing. One day some men dressed up in suits showed up to my classroom to give me an award and a cash prize. I felt a bit taken aback and immediately donated the money to a wildlife charity. But as it turned out, writing has ended up becoming a big part of my life and what I do in music, too!
8.What would you do if you made a mistake during a performance?
Ha Vay : I make mistakes all the time! It's a really natural part of performing and it doesn't phase me too much anymore. Sometimes I'll just move on without making any notice of it, but often I'll laugh through it or even make a joke of it. Especially if I forget the lyrics singing a cover song - sometimes I'll literally just sing "and I forgot the words to this part". To me, being really human onstage is important and making mistakes is a part of that.
we are very thankful for HA VAy to e part of our project.
don't forget to follow her on social.