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State of Sound: *aya

Jen Ellis

On their latest EP, time & metaphors, Milwaukee-based artist *aya pulled no punches. As the Palestinian singer/songwriter explained to Radio Milwaukee's Salam Fatayer in this episode of State of Sound, "I use music as my outlet, so I just try to be as raw and honest as I can in those songs."

Appropriately, *aya didn't hesitate when Fatayer, who also hails from Palestine, asked whether the events happening in their homeland affected how they see themselves and their musical path going forward. In their answer, *aya was up front, unapologetic and inspiring — adjectives you could just as easily apply to their performance.

The 21-year-old cut an assured presence on stage, letting their jazz-leaning vocals act as the through line for a set that was at times dreamy, vulnerable and even a little dark. You can listen to the full episode using the player at the top of the page, find time & metaphors on your streaming service of choice, and follow *aya on Instagram for updates on appearances and future projects.

Set list

  1. "apartment"
  4. "unknown"