Asha Jefferies Reclaims Herself On New Single “Cruise Control”

By Justice Petersen

If there are two things to know about Asha Jefferies, it’s that she has an undying love for Taylor Swift and an insatiable curiosity for Chicago deep-dish pizza. The Brisbane-based artist also dropped her recent single, “Cruise Control”, on September 22. (Make that three things.)

Jefferies has encapsulated the catharsis that comes with trusting your body and soul in her alt-pop anthem, and the track has a similar sound and feel to driving steady on your own along a deserted city highway. As she repeats a healing mantra, “I trust my body / I trust my body / I trust my body” over and over towards the end of the song, Jefferies encourages listeners to have faith in how their body reacts to the people and environments that surround them. Along with its release, the Australian artist has also announced her signing to Nettwerk Music Group.

Following the single’s release, Jefferies says that the reception and having the song out in the world has been really good so far. Despite the fears that come with releasing a vulnerable track, Jefferies still loves how the song catches a particular moment in time – even if the emotions felt during the songwriting process happen to change.

“I’ve done a lot of growing since I first wrote it and then recorded it, so it’s always a scary feeling not knowing whether things that happened to you a year and a half ago are still going to feel relevant when you release it in the future,” Jefferies says. “Your perception of the song changes when you write it and you’re in [the] space of it. It’s almost as if when you release it into the world, that’s when you start to perceive it as other people would.”

Regarding her recent signing to Nettwerk Music Group, Jefferies says that joining the Vancouver-based company is an opportunity that comes with a large amount of support and encouragement.

“[It’s also] a push to expand outside of Australia, because I feel like I’ve only ever toured in Australia, and I’m really excited to branch out and expand on more people to hear my music,” she says.

Jefferies says that “Cruise Control” was written during a time when the singer felt very empowered to make choices that felt right for her. After feeling unsure about who she chose to surround her, the single is inspired by how it feels to understand yourself and who you want to invest in.

“I think the song is me coming to this point in time where I’m like, ‘Oh, no, I know who I am and I know who I want to have around me.’ So it was a very empowering and cool moment to have and to write about,” Jefferies says. “Especially…coming out of a long-term relationship and just not being sure about what you want.”

“Cruise Control”, an alt-pop track with hints of melancholy and folk influences, invokes many emotions in the listener, including peace, sadness, and bittersweet healing. Jefferies describes the single as self-reflective, and her change in headspace as she wrote the song is evident. While she admits to writing songs in the past that came from a place of grieving or anger, this was a song that stemmed from pride.

“I always loved writing sad music, but it was really good to write uplifting and celebratory emotions as well,” Jefferies says.

The single was accompanied by a music video inspired by the 2009 film “500 Days of Summer”. Jefferies says she wanted to balance a celebratory song with a music video inspired by a heartbreaking scene from the movie. By combining these two aspects, Jefferies hoped to create a balance that was a beautiful representation of the messages the song was trying to convey.

The song’s main message is to encourage listeners to trust their body’s reactions to what is around them or the decisions that they make. If it doesn’t feel right, that’s because it isn’t right, according to Jefferies.

“Anchoring into your body is really important and there can be so many mental thoughts and patterns and beliefs that go on about how you need to act and why you should be around certain people,” she says. “But I think at the end of the day your body really does keep the score and…your body knows what’s up and I think the more I connect to my body the more I write about it.”

Asha Jefferies has also just released a newer single, “Baby Don’t Fight It”, on November 3. This single is a definitive breakup song, as it explores the emotions one faces post-breakup. Jefferies inspires listeners to accept these feelings, rather than run away from them. She compares the breakup song to a sad happy birthday card, delivered to somebody whose birthday you’ve missed.

Jefferies’ music, much like Taylor Swift’s, is iconic for the way she poetically captures these oddly specific moments that everyone seems to be able to relate to. Her future works will continue to emulate these situations, it will just become more raw in terms of production.

“I think “The Pinnacle” (2021) was very production-based…after I released the EP, I got obsessed with playing piano and I started writing all my songs on piano and I started writing them all by myself and was going through a really big change in my life,” she says. “Everything became about these really real songs and genuine feelings of wanting to timestamp what was happening to me. So the songs are pretty raw and we also recorded them in a raw way as well, all recorded live with my band in the studio…So there’s more of me in the upcoming songs.”

By recording songs in such an organic way, Asha Jefferies can never forget what a song was truly written about in the first place. This recording process is fitting for the music she creates, which is honest and cathartic as it supports listeners in their self-discovery. By beautifully capturing somber human experiences, Asha Jefferies reminds listeners that they have the power to reclaim their body and their lives.

“Why I make music and why I share with people is because I want to share myself [with] the world and also connect and relate to other people through that,” she says. “So that’s what I hope to do.”

Check out more great interviews here!