Five Questions With Aaron Kowal

Winnipeg, MB-based Aaron Kowal has unveiled his new single, “Phobia”, a captivating electro-queer-pop track that taps into the anxieties of the age.

“I first had the idea for Phobia back in 2019. I knew I wanted to write a song that addressed anxiety, particularly the social anxiety I’ve experienced throughout my life. I wanted to make it personal, but still keep it dancy, edgy and bit cheeky. Musically, the sounds of this track are meant to evoke a sense of alarm & panic, while lyrically, the “phobia” in question is a metaphorical fear of commitment. Phobia is the first in a string of singles slated for release in 2021 that address this central theme of fear and/or uncertainty in relationships. But I wanted to release this song now because it’s content reaches well beyond my own anxieties and those of my generation, and connects with the widespread isolation, insecurity and vulnerability that people are facing today as a result of this pandemic. As the lyrics go: “you can try to love me but I’ll be just out of reach…I got a phobia of your love.” 

Check out “Phobia” below, and find out more about Aaron via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi there friends! I’m Aaron Kowal, a pop artist born and raised in Winnipeg, MB. I fell in love with pop music early in my youth, and since then, my aspirations to sing, dance and create have grown immensely. I’ve always been kind of an introvert with extroverted inclinations, and it was just a few years ago that I made the decision to pursue this passion to the fullest extent. I’ve been recording since 2018, and I’m very excited to be sharing new music throughout 2021.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

My music lives within the realm of contemporary pop. I’ve been highly influenced by electro-pop and dance-pop of the ’90s and ’00s, and I’d consider my sound to be a novel contribution to the modern pop scene. I enjoy experimenting with genres and I especially love incorporating odd and unique instrumentation and melodies into the framework. It’s important to me that music and lyrics tell the same story, and I prefer using sounds and visuals that excite emotions over telling a story outright. As someone who is more left-brained, I tend to write in a fairly technical and methodical way, generally starting with a captivating word or theme and then constructing the song piece by piece around that central idea, building my story into it.

Do you have any upcoming shows? For someone who has yet to see you live, how would you explain your live performance?

My focus with every performance is creating a memorable experience. I believe that a pop show should be big & bold – high energy, with lots of moving parts. A spectacle. My ultimate goal is to keep people entertained from start to finish, and with that aim, I always try to marry dance music with fashion, dancers, video, set design, and other visual elements. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put a pretty big dent in any performance plans as of late. My fingers are crossed that this industry opens back up again soon (and safe) and that I can hit the stage again in 2021.

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

Looking back at my catalog, each song holds a different significance for me, and it would be difficult to point to just one as the best example of my sound. With that said, I have a whole new collection coming out this year that represents the new era of Aaron Kowal. I’m very proud of the music we’ve been creating over the past year and it really is deeper and more personal than ever before. For this reason (and many others), I would recommend giving my new song “Phobia” a listen – it’s an edgy yet cheeky dance track that speaks to my anxieties and those of my generation.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/artists?

One of my favourite Canadian artists has always been Emily Haines – I absolutely love Metric. They have such a unique electronic sound paired with insightful lyrics and I’ve returned to their albums many times over the years. As a pop artist myself, my eyes and ears are always on the charts, and there’s no doubt that Shawn Mendes is one of the great Canadian talents of this generation. More locally, I recently discovered a pop artist from Winnipeg called Boniface. They have an incredibly nostalgic sound that has really resonated with me, and their self-titled album was at the top of my playlist this past year.

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