"Premiering a new vid today, meet the south London soul singer slicing feminism and politics into jazz melodies"
Poppy Ajudha is running late for a production session. “Sorry, I’m so bad at multitasking,” she says breathlessly over the rabble of a train station squawks before resuming our conversation about how she got into music. “I always wanted to sing and I always did sing, and I wrote songs from a really young age, but then I guess puberty hit and I started feeling quite insecure about myself.”
In truth, Ajudha isn’t bad at multitasking at all; for the duration of our 30-minute call the 22-year-old musician is as present as if she were sitting opposite me. “You kind of take on everyone’s doubt,” she continues. “It took me a really long while to realise that if you don’t believe in yourself then who the fuck is going to? I realised that all those things were put in place to stop me from doing what I want to do.”
For the last five years Ajudha’s soul-infused sound has put her at the forefront of south London’s burgeoning jazz scene. “I think people are looking for something more,” she wonders aloud. “Anything that’s influenced by jazz can offer that because it tends to be hybrid, it tends to be really creative — it takes you on a journey.”
Dealing primarily with issues surrounding race and gender, Ajudha’s music is very much an extension of the material that she studied at university. “Spilling Into You” — her collaboration with Kojey Radical — looks at love from “a feminist perspective”, while “Tepid Soul”, her most recent release, reveals her experiences as a mixed race woman. “Am I the right shade for you?” Ajudha asks on the track, examining the fetishisation she’s encountered.
“It’s hard to say that my music is political because I think everything is political,” she reasons. “I don’t think you can live outside of politics.” However, that’s not to say that Ajudha is writing anti-establishment protest anthems, rather, she tackles those issues so to create a dialogue around them. “I want other people to be able to take things from it,” she adds.
Having dropped her first EP in February, Ajudha is set to embark on a tour with fellow producer and songwriter, Tom Misch. “I’m just excited to set the scene for myself,” she says before we hang up, “and I think my EP will really do that.”
Now dropping EP highlight “She Is The Sum”, we’ve got an exclusive look at the visuals to this certified sizzler. “Making this video felt like a bold and scary move,” she explains, “Dancing, acting and kissing for the first time on screen, but in its making I have been allowed to step into myself, accept and understand myself in new and beautiful ways. The end goal is just what I had wanted but I think I’ve learnt most from the journey I took to get there.”
An exciting look at what’s to come, we can’t wait to see what she does next.
Follow Poppy on Instagram: @poppyajudha