Today we’d like to introduce you to Anji Kaizen.
Hi Anji , so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Six years ago, I graduated from college and walked out into the “real world” with a degree in Music, and absolutely no idea what my next steps would be… I was known as the blonde girl with a guitar, who wrote songs and sang at the local restaurants and coffee shops on the weekends. I’d also been a frontwoman in multiple bands and projects, and would sing my heart out in basements, bars and basically anywhere I was allowed to perform. The dream for me (in my converse high tops and band t-shirts) was to be signed onto a label as a superstar, and jump headfirst into the music industry to perform, record and release my own songs. But I had no concept of how to do that. And I was tired of other people dictating how I spent my time – I wanted freedom to explore and be creative!
And wow, I’ve tried so many things during that exploration. Being a music producer, a teacher, an artist manager, a record label owner, a wedding DJ, a topline songwriter, a vocal coach, a music director, and more in my pursuit of a full-time career in the music industry. I’m so grateful for all of these experiences, as they truly helped me realize who I wanted to be as an artist, and just how exactly I wanted to make an impact on the world.
Fast forward to now, and I think I’ve done my angsty teen rocker self some justice – I’m a full time performing artist running my own record label, Kaizen Records, and its sister business Kaizen Music Studio. That’s where I teach voice lessons, offer specialized coaching, marketing and other music services to other artists and musicians to help them on their journey.
My artist name and the backbone of Kaizen Records is Anji Kaizen. This is the name that I chose for myself. “Anji” (aw-nee) means a gift given with both hands and that’s what I want my music to be in the world; an inspiration and gift to my community. “Kaizen” (k-eye-zen) is a japanese philosophy meaning “good change” and the two together just sound like a badass anime superhero’s name, so there you go, that’s my artist name. Anji Kaizen, head of Kaizen Records and owner of Kaizen Music Studio. And I’m still working on building up a rad community creating my own space in the world – find me on socials if you want to join in!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Some of the greatest struggles I’ve faced so far have been my own doubts and fears – am I really good enough / smart enough / talented enough? – and also overcoming hurdles like gatekeeping, sexism and elitism in the industry. If you have confidence, determination and you have talent, then no matter who you are, that will take you a lot of places.
But I’d be lying if I said that being a female artist in music has been an easy journey. There’s a constant need to prove myself, to level up, to impress the right people, and work three times harder than all of my male peers for the same amount of recognition. This also applies to LGBTQ+ and other races, skin tones and diverse ethnicities – there’s a lot of gatekeeping that makes it hard to rise to the top if you’re not white, privileged, rich or male in this particular industry.
Hopefully we’ll see this radically change within the next few years. And I am determined to be part of making that change!
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
So proud of the music my band and I are releasing this year! “Monster” comes out this month on October 29th and it’s a very driven, hard rock kind of song. Heartbeat kick drums, blistering guitar solos, thick vocal layers and screams from my friend Cameron Berner… it’s a total breakaway sound from my previous releases.
I started writing this song with a simple concept that we all have our own monsters inside of us – the parts of us that have been hurt, wounded and disappointed, and maybe aren’t so healthy or loving. But we always have a choice of how we’re going to act, and who we’re going to be. Do you want to let your Monster win? Or can you be strong and overcome that?
Writing songs that tell stories with deeper, layered stories is my jam. Yes, my songs are personal to me and my experiences, but also the concept of battling inner “demons” or monsters is a universal theme and one that’s fun to explore. Especially during the spooky season of Halloween.
You can listen to a teaser of the song and pre-order / pre-save it on my website: www.anjikaizen.com
Who else deserves credit in your story?
“Monster” credits / team credits: Shoutout to Aaron Pace at AP Audio for producing and mixing!
Thanks to Nik Marshall for being so amazing at drums, letting us practice at your house and being a great friend.
And huge thanks to Jory Marshall for being so good at guitar (and a great partner who’s always down to record for me 😉
Also shoutout to Ryan Harville, my favorite photographer, for the single’s cover art and all of these amazing photos.
- “Monster” Pre-order: $1.29
- “Monster” merch bundle: $35
- Artist Coaching: $60 / 60 minutes
- Online Singing Lesson: $60 / 60 minutes
- Music Services (Mixing, Marketing, etc): $30 / 30 minute consultation
- Email: booking: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.anjikaizen.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anjikaizen/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anjikaizen
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/anjikaizen
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/anjikaizen