Aya Safiya is a Boston and San Francisco Bay Area based vocalist, violinist and violin teacher who specializes in American Pop and traditional Greek and Balkan music. She performs solo and with larger groups. Book her if you are looking for a Greek band, Balkan band, and/or Wedding band.
featured on: ASIAN POP WEEKLY, ATWOOD MAGAZINE, DOPECAUSEWESAID, EAST BAY EXPRESS, SF WEEKLY
With a hauntingly beautiful voice, Aya Safiya captivates her listener and puts them in a spell. She has both a smokiness that elicits a nostalgia of old world folk and blues and a refreshing sweetness that pays homage to today’s pop. Although Aya's original music may be considered indie-pop or electro-folk, catchy and familiar, it also has an intriguing uniqueness that reflects her multicultural background. As a Japanese-American raised in Berkeley, California, Aya Safiya’s musical influences include iconic American and British singer-songwriters such as Gillian Welch, Hozier, and Lauryn Hill, JPop stars including Misora Hibari and Shiina Ringo, and genres ranging from bluegrass and rock to pop and Bay-slap. Also hidden in her songwriting and singing style is her life-long love of Greek and Balkan folk music, which she has studied through voice and violin with master instructors in the United States and the Balkans. In addition to her activity as a singer-songwriter and pop artist, Aya can be found performing her interpretation of traditional songs from the Mediterranean, the Rromani diaspora, and island cultures. Many languages are present in her music, including English, Japanese, Greek, and more. Aya was introduced to music early through her musical family and was given the violin at age 6. She continued to study traditional Greek violin intensively, but she always recognized her voice as the instrument she deeply connected with. After years of grappling with negative criticisms about her vocal potential, she finally accepted her calling and started performing as a vocalist at age 15. She has gone on to perform at national and international festivals, and at renowned venues such as The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, The Great American Music Hall in SF, the Grand Prospect Hall in NYC, and the House of Blues in Boston, the city where she is currently based. Through her music, Aya hopes to inspire the acceptance of emotions, and the value of self-expression, art, and beauty.
'Wakare-Uta' marks an exciting new chapter that she's finally ready to embark on; presenting an experimental J-pop piece that incorporates the artist's own set of immiscible and diverse musical and creative influences.” —Jocelle (Asian Pop Weekly)
Aya “Safiya’s sound is engaging and catchy, yet it defies standard categorization…Despite coming of age in a seemingly fully-saturated market, the artist has…crafted a standout sonic persona.” —Mitch Mosk (Atwood Magazine)
“In her new EP, it's not too difficult to pick out…[her influences]: the eerie melodies of Feist, the powerful choruses of Hozier, the deft lyricism of Lauryn Hill, the folksy harmonies of Gillian Welch.” —Madeline Wells (East Bay Express)
“Listen closely…and you’ll notice Aya Safiya’s numerous singing styles, which range from soft and breathy, to deep and smokey, to high-pitched and saccharine.” —Jessie Schiewe (SF Weekly)