BC based actor and singer-songwriter Ajay Friese, recently released his new single “Your Eyes” on August 19 via all streaming platforms. The track features Ajays unfailingly honest vocal delivery and hooks aplenty in this song about self-empowerment and loving yourself even during your hardest times.
Self-produced by Ajay and his friend Michael Tessier, Ajay wrote the single early on in quarantine to catch the attention of hitmaker Ken Lewis (Katy Perry, BTS, Taylor Swift). After hearing the track for the first time and being blown away by Ajay’s talent, Ken was kind enough to play the song on his livestream show in front of thousands of viewers.
Ajay is best known for his acting career, holding recurring roles in five Netflix Original Series, and making his debut in film as a lead in the critically acclaimed Riot Girls (2019) from the executive producer of Insidious. Some of Ajay’s Netflix roles include playing “Vijay Dhar” as a series regular in all 3 seasons of Lost in Space, playing “Eddie” in five episodes in season 4 of Riverdale, and playing the prince of Wendimoor, Farson Dengdamor in 5 episodes in Season 2 of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
In addition to music and acting, Ajay also has a background in competitive dance, is an accomplished astrophotographer, and as a young teen attended summer camps around the world with CISV, which connects and educates youth from different cultures to build a more peaceful future.
We had the opportunity to chat with Ajay about his new single, transitioning to both acting and music, and what’s next.
Kat: First of all, tell us a bit about yourself!
Ajay: HELLO! My name is Ajay, I am from Canada and I am 23 years old. I write and sing all my own music in the genres of pop, folk, and rock, and I’m also an actor on Netflix’s “Lost In Space”. As a baby I would always be humming songs, and when I was three I learned the violin. As I got older, tunes and lyrics began popping into my head all the time, and so I learned to play the guitar and started to write down and sing my own songs. I also love hiking and exploring the outdoors, and enjoy playing soccer, reading Harry Potter, and watching How I Met Your Mother.
Kat: What do you hope fans take away from your new single “Your Eyes”?
Ajay: Hope and inspiration. “Your Eyes” is about loving yourself, and more specifically it’s about looking into the eyes of someone you love, and being comforted and inspired by their love for you. I wrote it when I was at my lowest, in a destructive mental state of overly criticizing myself, and I found faith in myself through others believing in me. I hope this song can inspire people to love themselves more. I hope people feel self-love WHILE listening. And I hope the song serves as a reminder for us to love and have faith in others, especially when they are struggling.
Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative music process?
Ajay: Signing off on a song, hahaha. I am meticulous about the details of my recordings, and often send the engineers like 10 sets of notes over time… I guess I am a perfectionist with my music…some might say a little obsessive.
Kat: How has the transition from acting to starting your music career been so far?
Ajay: Well it’s really more of a simultaneous thing rather than a transition, and so far it’s been great! I feel incredibly blessed to have my online acting following rallying behind my music. I love getting feedback from the acting fans – they are from all over the world and listen to my music because they like my acting. So they wouldn’t necessarily have found it or listened to that genre, but now I get this great, really diverse feedback. I love it!
Kat: What has been the biggest career highlight for you to date?
Ajay: For acting it would have to be filming Season 3 of Lost In Space on Netflix. We filmed during the pandemic and the episodes have some of my favourite scenes I’ve ever been involved in throughout my acting career. The season will air later this year. Without a doubt, my musical highlight has been recording 10 of my original songs with professional session musicians in New York City. I worked with Alex Nolan (lead guitarist for Cindy Lauper), Chelton Grey (bassist for The Black Eyed Peas), Everett Bradley (touring member of Bon Jovi), and many others. Two of the 10 songs, Jasper and Higher Stakes, have now been released, with the rest coming soon. Getting to direct these musicians, learning from and collaborating with them, and hearing my original songs brought to life in such a beautiful and skilful way… it was absolutely a dream come true.
Kat: What have you learned along the way?
Ajay: Music is a living, dynamic communication of emotion – with perfection and flaws. I’ve learned that sometimes you don’t want every note sung perfectly or played exactly in time. Music has so much more feeling when it has human “error”. When people overly edit their recordings, it takes away the honesty – the rawness that makes us subconsciously connect with the artist. Many songs actually lose an incredibly important (yet often overlooked) beauty through the current trends of overproduction.
Kat: What’s coming up for you for the balance of 2021?
Ajay: LOTS! Going to be releasing quite a bit more music, Lost In Space Season 3 is premiering on Netflix, and I’ll also be continuing my university studies under the time-flexible Leaders in Elite Athletics and Performance program (LEAP) at Quest University in Squamish, BC.