Piano on a grand scale Aisha goes for the ‘Heartstrings’ with instrumental album
Piano player Aisha Bassett never really considered creating an album of her own, until one day she prayed to God and felt led to craft her own music.
At the time she was a psychology student at McGill University and found she was playing music that emulated her favourite musicians like Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Kirk Franklin and classical pianists Beethoven and Mozart.
But after asking God to help her to make her own songs, she became inspired to play the piano more often.
“I would play to worship and express whatever I was feeling in my heart at that time,” Ms Bassett said. “Sometimes I would just be walking around and think of a few notes and it would evolve into a song so I really feel God answered my prayer in that respect.”
The 26-year-old has recently released a piano instrumental album entitled Heartstrings which will be available for free download on www.soundcloud.com/aisha-nusound.
It includes ten original songs — each one with a different theme and title behind it. One song called ‘Keep Moving’ is meant to encourage people who have experienced a setback or a problem to continue on, keep moving and not let anyone get in their way.
Another song called ‘Crucifixion’ is a reflection of the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross. “The title sounds graphic, but has to do with the hope that comes because he died we can all have eternal life and salvation,” Ms Bassett said.
Her friend suggested she release her songs three years ago, but she had never heard of anyone doing a piano instrumental album before.
“It wasn’t until September that I decided to make the album so in between classes and after class and while on Christmas break I recorded several songs on my Mac computer using a programme called Garage Band.
“The album has everything from slower songs to two that have a percussion beat in the background.”
She decided to call it Heartstrings, which means deepest affections or emotions and said “that is what music is, an expression of to me”.
The young pianist started taking lessons from her godfather Eustace Jones when she was ten years old; a year later she wrote her first “rhythmic and repetitive” song called The Hunter.
But she had to stop taking formal lessons while doing her GCSE’s at Saltus Grammar School when “things started getting really busy”.
“I was turning up to class and hadn’t practised because I didn’t have enough time,” she said.
Around the same time she was delivered another blow when her family were moving house and had to get rid of the upright piano that she used.
Ms Bassett said: “I was heartbroken when we had to give that piano away and I practised every day pretty much so it was sad, like a piece of me was gone. I just started to find out places to play an actual piano like my church or hotels, wherever I could really.”
After she stopped with formal piano instruction Ms Bassett started playing by ear and “just for fun”. At university she joined a group of musicians called Fantasy and would accompany them to volunteer gigs at rest homes and hospitals.
What she loves most about music is that it really moves her spirit and helps her to express herself. “I just like the creative aspect of it and so many different notes and ways to play them to express how you feel.
“I look at it as worship to God and I feel music is a universal language. Songs with lyrics may be limited to people who speak English or Spanish, whereas with instrumental music, it’s universal.”
She had one instance when she was playing her “freestyle worship” in a hotel and it brought one woman in the lobby to tears. The experience showed just how much music can touch people, she said. That is why she has decided to release her album for free.
“I feel like I have gotten the songs freely and I haven’t had to really pay to do it,” she said. “It has just been my own time and I feel that people will benefit from hearing it.
“I hope people feel God’s peace definitely and I hope it leads people to Him because in the end I just feel like I am a vessel I don’t want to take any credit.”
Ms Bassett is currently studying medicine at the University of East Anglia, based in Norwich, UK.
Her songs are available for download at www.soundcloud.com/aisha-nusound or on her Youtube.com page. She is also open to performing live when she is back on the Island and can be reached by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.