story

Deeper into 'aya legacy'

​Born in Osaka, Japan and raised between her hometown and Singapore, Aya’s life has always revolved around music and art. Introduced to the classical piano at a young age, her curiosity in other interments led her to hone her rhythm as a percussionist in a brass band during her formative years, before reverting to her first instrument – this time in her rightful place as a student of Jazz piano and improvisation at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. A thirst for adventure left unquenched and the allure of tapping into the metropolis that the world regarded as the epicentre of Jazz saw Aya remain in New York City following her graduation, albeit performing and finding success in the vibrant and experimental underground music scene. A decade into her life in the big apple, Aya accepted an invitation to be the resident pianist of legendary Jazz @ Southbridge back in Singapore and the rest is history.

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Musically Aya is known to be a soulful and hard-swinging jazz pianist, having performed with many world-class musicians in NYC, South East Asia and Japan. Throughout the years, she has been mentored by great jazz pianists such as Aaron Goldberg, Yuki Arimasa, and legendary pianist/educator Sophia Rosoff who Aya claims that her one lesson changed her technical skill completely. While strongly influenced by Bebop era and straight ahead jazz, her constant quests bursting out of structural improvisations or public perception of jazz have aligned her with countless multi-disciplinary collaborations with artists of diverse backgrounds to create new chemistry, never letting go her deep jazz background.  Besides her passion for jazz, her infatuations for punk rock, funk & soul, Brazilian music and underground scene of Japan and NYC have led to the formulation of her truly innovative style. Her expressions are unique and quirky yet somehow elegant - which makes her performances strongly engaging and unforgettable. She has been invited to many international music festivals over the years such as Singapore International Jazz Festival (2016), Neon Lights (2018), Singapore International Festival of Arts (2018), Thailand International Jazz Conference (2019, scheduled to appear 2020). In addition to performing she has written, arranged and directed music for large programs; William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (LASALLE College of The Arts, Singapore 2015), and Jazz appreciation concert for primary school children of Singapore School Is Out! Discover Jazz (Esplanade, Singapore 2019) 

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Enlightening the Next Generation 

Apart from performing prolifically worldwide including her home country Japan for the past two decades, she has also been integral to the scene as an educator and a strong advocate for jazz and the community. She has been an adjunct lecturer of LASALLE College of The Arts (Singapore) since 2008, having mentored many students through principle studies, ensembles and music entrepreneurship courses. Apart from music skills, she shares her knowledge and philosophy of life that is survival as a female non mainstream artist/practitioner living overseas. Outside of school, she facilitates her signature participatory improvisation workshops 'Jungle Jam', jazz listening appreciations and often found as one of the judging and discussion panels in the field of music, arts and the community.  

Globally Celebrated Jazz Advocate

Aya has an impressive side as an entrepreneur with significant experiences in arts management & leadership. She has incorporated Bon Goût Music in 2012, a multi faceted company offering music event/international tour programming and consultations both for independent artists and corporate clients. In 2016 she founded a non-profit We Love Jazz (Singapore) Limited. (‘WLJ SG’), aiming to unify and strengthen the foundation of the jazz and related music community of Singapore through grassroots outreach, education and resource support as well as interactive community events. Through her work with WLJ SG, early 2019, Aya has received a personal invite by Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz to  present her organisation as guest-panelist at International Jazz Day Global Host Celebration 2020 held in Melbourne, Australia. Sekine’s effort was celebrated at the All-Star Global Concert by the UNESCO Goodwill ambassador Herbie Hancock for being ‘Heart and Soul’ of International Jazz Day.