Aya Higuma, known as Aya, has been called a ‘sensation”, and her live apprearances ‘inspirational” and ‘magical” (Whereitzat Magazine)
“Wafu’ is a term meaning ‘to the Japanese taste’, and she refers to her music as ‘New York stle Japanese Wafu Reggae’.This term is meant to communicate the sense of unity and bringing people together that Aya hopes to achieve with her music.”Reggae is music of marginalizedpeople,but it’s complentely inclusive.I want to see people of all different types dancing,connecting, and forgetting all their problems’, she says.
For Aya, this sense of inclusiveness means that her own culture can be embraced by this type of music. She brings a number of Japanese elements to the reggae genre, to produce a unique and exciting fusion.
Taking her cue from Jazz greatest Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, she began her career by learning Western classical vocal technique, performing as an operatic mezzo-soprano while still in Japan. With her intention being to have a career as a Jazz and R&B singer,she came to the United Stated a number of times to expand her knowledge of those styles, finally setting in New York in 2002. Music magazine publisher Clive Williams suggested she try her hand at reggae, an idea she had never previously considered. But before long, she fell in love with the hypnotic rhythms and the truths the music espoused.
Her bid debut occurred when she opened for reggae royalty LUCIANO in 2005. Since then, she has topped the bill at International Music Festival in Central Park in 2007,sung on the riddim (instrumental) track ‘There for you”, produced by the legendary team of Sly and Robbie, and taken part in the Irie Jamboree, one of the East Coast’s biggest outdoor reggae event,performing in front of 15,000 peole. She made such an impression when she played at the Jamaican Consulate that she was offered an invitation to act as an “Ambossador of Goodwill” between Japan and Jamaica.
She has recorded two albums,’ New York to Asia’ ‘Geisha Gal’ and is working hard and passionately on her third.