Akasha Maples was born to create! Born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey at a very young age she knew what exactly what she wanted to do…
Offthemag: Hello Akasha, welcome to Official The Magazine. Tell us a little about yourself?
Akasha: Hey! Thanks so much for having me! I’m a DJ, art enthusiast, and music video director. Born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. Refined by Philadelphia. The oldest of 3 by 16 years, I don’t have favorite colors only favorite hues. I like long walks on the beach, vegan delights, brown women, and tufted furniture.
OTM: Who is THEakasha the artist?
Akasha: THEakasha “the artist” is what I mean by “refined by Philadelphia”. I was born an artist. Both of my parents bought me up listening to every genre of music under the sun. My mother was a painter and fashion illustrator so I was painting and drawing since infancy. I was in violin lessons at 6, started illustrating at 9, and started singing opera at 13, but I didn’t truly begin to find direction in my talents and become ‘THEakasha’ until I moved to Philadelphia in college. Philly opened me up to new angles in arts, music, and culture that I had never seen from that perspective before.
OTM: When did you start DJing and what or who were some of your early influences?
Akasha: I started DJing about 3 years ago in 2015 in my mentor at the time’s garage studio (shoutout to DJ Leanwitit for teaching me everything I know). I was learning for a whole year before I actually played for anyone, I was the social media girl in a DJ collective of guys called ‘Stuntloco’. We threw really fun underground parties and my first gig actually came through one of the Stuntloco DJs at the time, Astro 8000. My earliest DJ influence is Vashtie Kola, I wanted to be just like her the I was in high school and she was the first person to make me seriously consider DJing as more than a hobby. Once I actually got into the different Philly scenes, turntablists like DJ Matt Law, DJ Sylo, DJ Leanwitit, and Mr. Sonny James really inspired me to get into the craft and be studious about it. Musically, overall, my earliest early influences include Billie Holiday, Bjork, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, System of a Down, Sarah Vaughan, Aaliyah, and Mos Def to name a few.
OTM: With all of your creative hats, what do you like doing the most?
Akasha: I love, love, love spinning for people but editing visuals on Final Cut is definitely top 2. I love blending auditory and visual aesthetics to make something new and beautiful. I love the technical aspect, I love how I feel when I finish a visual. Since I was young, I’ve always tried to bridge the gap between the audible and the visual.
OTM: Could you break down your playlist, tee time for us? And what goes into the choice of music when you pick for your playlist?
Akasha: Well, firstly, it’s not a playlist. DJ’s don’t make playlists. But my mix series, tee time, is what I like to describe as ‘a blend of music for lovers in all stages’. My first love’s name was tee, and I started making these mixes for her before we split. Each mix is named after an herbal tea that I like (hence the homophones used to play on words) and each vibe of each mix is made to enjoy with the respective tea title. I always think about the vibe that I’m aiming for when choosing songs for each mix, and then the song lyrics are secondary. I try to choose music that was relevant to our experience as lovers but also music relevant to love in general, at any stage. I want people to feel love and make love to these bodies of work when they press play.
OTM: What’s next for Akasha creatively?
Akasha: More traveling to new places to meet and spin with new DJ’s! I want to meet more music nerds and art enthusiasts like myself and create more good memories. More building with my Crenius tribe, it’s already been such a journey but we’re just starting up. We’re going on a kick-ass multi-city girl power tour this Summer so stay tuned for that! I’m also looking to start chipping away on this visual album I’ve been brewing, maybe towards the end of this year.
OTM: If you could give any advice to any up and coming creatives what would it be?
Akasha: Trust your intuition. Even when all the odds seem to be against you, even when nobody else has the (right) answers for you, always remember that the truth, YOUR truth, for YOUR journey, is unwaveringly inside yourself. And if you can’t hear your intuition or your higher self-guiding you with that truth, you need to declutter, disconnect from the noise, stop sedating yourself, whatever you need to do to hear that truth because it won’t yell for you. You have to make way to listen for it.
OTM: What’s one word to describe you?
OTM: Are there any events or projects that we can look forward to?
With tee time wrapping up in March, you can expect a new mix from me weekly on Gryndfestradio.com
. Every Wednesday from 6-7p. Our ‘Trapped in Venus’ girl power micro-tour kicks off in June. Oh! And find me at SXSW, A3C, and Art Basel again this year! Festivals are always groovy.
OTM: Where could the viewers reach you and check out your work?
For everything THEakasha, visit http://THEakasha.us
. Not only are all of my socials linked to my site, I update my own site and receive all the submission forms myself. Hola at me likeee!