Tommi Aura, an artist with a modeling background, is known for collaborating with prominent names like Haus Labs by Lady Gaga and Vogue. Their music seamlessly blends experimental pop with electronic and dance elements, creating a captivating fusion of fashion and music.
Today, we have the privilege of bringing you an interview with Tommi, not only about their career and ethos at large but also about their newest, sweetest, and most exciting single release yet!
In “I’m Not A Boy,” Tommi Aura challenges traditional gender norms and celebrates gender fluidity. The lyrics address the societal expectations placed on individuals based on their gender and defy these stereotypes by asserting the singer’s identity as simply “cool” without conforming to traditional gender categories. The song promotes self-acceptance and challenges listeners to rethink their assumptions about gender and identity. It’s an important contribution to the representation of gender diversity in music, promoting inclusivity and understanding.
What inspired you to merge fashion with your music, and how does it influence your creative process?
I grew up in the fashion industry, starting my modeling career very young. Being raised within the industry heavily informed my outlook on style, visuals, and telling stories through clothing and design. Every day I try to embody a walking mood board and that has definitely influenced my music. Music is another form of communication and storytelling. For me, the visual aspect of my artistry is one of the most important, so combining my knowledge of fashion and music has formed who I am as an artist today.
How has your experience in modeling influenced your approach to creating music and visual storytelling?
As a model, it is your job to bring the designer’s vision to life. So thinking of that concept when it comes to my music, it’s really the conversation of how can I communicate my message not only through my lyrics but also with how I look and present. Each project is an opportunity for me to connect with fans and listeners through the visual aspect of storytelling. What colors, pieces of clothing, types of lighting, backdrops, and sets am I using that match the vibe of the song, and I feel can accurately represent my message? These are the things that I think of when I create my music projects today.
“I’m Not A Boy” is a captivating song with a very “timely” subject. How would you present it to an audience that may not immediately get what it’s about or its importance?
I’m Not A Boy on the surface may come as a song about gender neutrality and freedom of expression. That was definitely some of the drive for the lyrics within the song, as that’s my personal experience. I recently had a show where some of the crowd was not queer and I described this song to them as a message of self-empowerment. If you don’t have the words to describe how amazing you are, how much of a baddie you are, and how you can’t really put a label on yourself, this is the perfect song to use. It’s the best song for getting ready to help build that confidence that we all have within. ‘I’m Not A Boy’ was made for the purpose of making whoever listens to it feel like their absolute best, carefree, iconic self.
How has your identity and support for the LGBTQ+ community shaped the direction of your music and performances, particularly in light of your recent appearance at Boston Pride?
Playing Boston Pride was not only an honor because it’s my home state, but I also got to represent my androgynous community. I am openly androgynous and proud and I feel that pop music is really in need of a more femme-presenting androgynous pop star. You think of greats like Prince or The Boy George, but they are more masc presenting. It’s important to share my experiences within my music to not only help people similar to me feel less alone, but it’s also helpful for people to hear a queer point of view. Ally-ship is not just about listening to a song of a queer artist, it’s also about hearing and understanding their perspectives and challenges that come with being queer today.
In what ways do you infuse themes of diversity and inclusivity into your art and music, as exemplified in the “I’m Not A Boy” music video, which showcases otherworldly characters and a message of acceptance?
For the music video, it was really important in the casting to not only include Queer talent but also all different races and body types. Inclusivity is really important especially because I am thinner, I am white and I am a model as well. These things naturally give me privilege, so as much as I can when it’s my platform and my art, I want to showcase all different types of humans. The dancers or friends of mine in the visual I feel really represent this and also showcase that you can embody otherworldly, iconic energy no matter who you are.
What can fans expect from your first EP, “Audacity,” and how does it reflect your journey as an artist?
Audacity is a message of taking your power back and individualism. I left an abusive relationship and was really broken. So not only did I want to evolve as a better artist with a better sound, but I also wanted to heal and let that go. The production on the record is very pop-driven with elements of electronic, Y2K, and 90s RnB. The lyricism is that of empowerment, freedom, and self-expression. Audacity is a journey from being broken, confronting that, and evolving into your best self. This is a journey I’m still on, but I feel that I really evolved and am on the other side having finished this project. I can’t wait for people to hear it this spring!
Aside from the EP, what else have you got coming up?
I recently dropped my official website and merch which I’m very excited about. That’s available now for purchase. There are some exciting festivals and a potential summer tour in the works. I also started working on my new project and that’s been really fun and fulfilling. Without giving the direction away, I will give one hint. The Fame Monster.