The second you hear Aliah Sheffield’s voice, you won’t want to stop listening.The singer-songwriter combines the genres of soul, blues, and R&B, creating her own soundscape that lies somewhere in between fantasy and reality. Priding herself in her lyrics, it’s no surprise her standout single “Earth Is Ghetto” took its own course and became its own viral sensation on TikTok, clocking in at over one million videos and counting.

Hailing from New Jersey but raised in Georgia, Aliah Sheffield’s music touches on topics we all experience throughout life, including love, betrayal, family, God, capitalism, racism, violence, and simply being sick of people.

Now, Aliah prepares to release her highly-anticipated forthcoming single titled “Boo Boo The Fool,” holding fans over until the release of her EP. The eight-track project is titled These Songs Are For Anyone Sick Of Earth… and the title speaks for itself.

Sheen had the pleasure of chatting with Aliah Sheffield via Zoom, who was enjoying her Wednesday in Los Angeles. Read below as we discuss her background, love for music, going viral, the new EP, studio essentials, and more!

For those who don’t know, how would you describe yourself?

I would describe myself as very introverted, vocal at the same time. Pessimistic optimist. [laughs]

How is it being an introvert and getting all this attention?

It’s been very interesting. It’s been interesting. I’ve met a lot of people. Spoken to a lot of people that are great, some people that aren’t really. But it’s been a learning experience. 

Do you claim New Jersey or Georgia?

I claim both, because my birth certificate will say I was born in North New Jersey. I was raised between there and Savannah, Georgia, so I claim both.

How was that growing up? Just in both areas?

Oh, it was crazy. Because it’s two different worlds and both of them are different on the extreme side. Savannah can be very chaotic sometimes, but also very, very boring. Like, nothing happens all at once. And in New Jersey, it’s just chaos. Constant.

When did you fall in love with music?

I fell in love with music when I was in elementary school. I was playing clarinet in the concert band. Playing clarinet and saxophone all throughout high school, so I fell in love with music pretty young.

Do you have a Top 5 artists right now?

Lauryn Hill, Nina Simone. I’m listening to a lot of SZA, Kendrick Lamar is always there. Donny Hathaway and Aretha Franklin.

How’d it feel to have “Earth Is Ghetto” go viral? Did you think it would take off the way it did?

“Earth Is Ghetto” was very interesting, because it wasn’t something that I thought would take off the way it did. It was honestly just me being sick of everything and just posting it. Because at that time, I was just posting videos anyway. I had started posting videos because I wasn’t able to perform outside, and perform anywhere like I was at my old job. I didn’t expect it to take off, but it was a life-changing experience.

What inspired you to write a song like that?

Just seeing a lot of people talking about how crazy the world was. Literally, I was walking down the street, walking to the corner store, scrolling TikTok and looking at the news and all like “this is ghetto!” It just happened. 

How’d it feel to go viral on TikTok? Are you active on the social media app? 

It feels great to go viral and not so great at the same time, because social media can be exhausting to keep up with. [laughs] But I am active on all social media platforms, as many as I can. So it’s great to see it pick up traction.

What can we expect from your new single “Boo Boo The Fool”? I need to know the story behind the song.

It’s a song based off of life experiences and stuff my mother used to say to me all the time. My mother’s always going “I guess you think I’m Boo Boo The Fool, I’m not one of your little friends and all that.” Just me and turning it into an actual conversation I had with someone and running with it.

What can we expect from the video?

The video will be something new for me because I haven’t done any videos before. So you can expect a new side of me.

What is it you want fans to get from your story?

I want them to get authenticity from me. I want to get me from listening. I want them to be able to listen to a song and feel like they’re listening to me tell them about my day, or feel like they’re listening to me just explain whatever I was going through at that moment. I want them to be able to relate to it themselves, so I just want them to get me through the music.

How did you find your way to Def Jam?

I found my way to get him through my A&R Liv, because he was very, very persistent when I was going viral. Just kept in contact with videos and messengers and emails, all of that for over a year. It just happened and I’m grateful for it.

You tweeted, “I hope I get to live up to my full potential as an artist.” What does that look like?

Living to my full potential as an artist means being able to fully execute the ideas that I have in my head, about/around the songs that I have. World building the songs and being able to perform the songs for people with bands. Living up to my full potential is me going out and being able to perform, being able to put out music the way I want to and seeing it go as far as it can.

Three things you need in the studio at all times?

Coffee, tea, and a piano. And probably a microphone. But definitely a cup of tea, piano, microphone. I need those near me at all times, especially coffee.

Any goals for yourself at this point in your career?

My biggest goal for myself is to keep going. That’s always something that’s hard, is to be consistent. Being consistent is my main goal, to keep pushing forward.

What do you like to do when you’re not doing music?

Go for walks, long walks on the beach. Thinking about music while I’m on those walks or listening to music while I’m on those walks. [laughs] I’ve kind of got a one track mind, so it’s either that or reading.

What can we look forward to next?

You can look forward to the EP, and me working on an album at some point in the future. But immediately next is the EP that’s coming up.

Talk about the meaning behind the EP title, These Songs Are For Anyone Sick Of Earth.

I made that the title because at the time when I was uploading videos, I would say “what this song is about on YouTube.” Or “this song is for anyone who’s feeling blah blah blah.” At the time, I was sick of earth when I was writing a lot of these songs. So I said okay, I’m gonna keep that title from the “Earth is Ghetto” video, and make it go for the whole EP.

What’re you most excited for with the EP dropping?

Finally releasing a body of work after working on it for a while. Releasing music that I’m really proud of, and music that really shows who I am.

Anything else you want to let us know?

I hope you enjoy the music!

Photo Credits: Theda Sandiford