AJA reached a point where enough was enough. “I wanted to remove toxic people and situations,” she says. With her bubbly and brash new song “Red Button,” she lays the cards out on the table: You get the hang up, you get the ‘Hell no’ / You get to leave the drama message on my cell phone, she sings.
Co-written with Jimmy McGorman and Rob Vallier, “Red Button” packs a marching band rhythm with a sugar-coated gooeyness. “The chemistry was amazing,” the rising star tells American Songwriter. “We had so much fun writing this record, and I think everyone can relate to wanting to hit the ‘Red Button’ at some point in their lives.
“I want people to feel empowered. Walking away from something that is bad for you is hard. I consider myself confident,” she continues. “I think it is important to stand up for yourself and be strong. Confidence is something to celebrate and constantly work on. Anything leading to self growth is a good thing.”
You’ll be lucky, boy, if you get a word from me / Straight to the back of the line, you ain’t my VIP, she spits on the bridge, taking a musical cue from Kesha. You’ll be getting my feedback in the slow-mo / And I’ll be letting yo’ ass in if I say so.
“Red Button,” accompanied with an equally-commanding video, doused in bright red, was recorded at Nobel Studio in Toronto. “It was a strange process because of Covid,” AJA reflects. She first met her collaborators over Zoom and “wrote the song in a few hours. Jimmy had already had the concept on a production end, so it all came together pretty quick. I love that [it] doesn’t sound like any other song out. It gives off a strong, energetic vibe.”
To-date, the Toronto native has released a string of singles, including “Nerve” and “Who’s Gonna Love You?,” to set the stage for what looks to be a promising pop career. When it comes to “Red Button,” the 16-year-old’s influences are quite obvious: Ariana Grande, Beyonce, and Rihanna. “I love their confidence. They are strong women,” she says.
What’s most evident in her work so far is her willingness to draw upon “conflict in my life” for her songwriting. AJA is fearless in confront the rough edges of her life and funneling her sorrow, anger, and ultimately strength into her songwriting. “I guess you could say [my best writing comes] from personal and emotional experiences.”