Creator of #SubstancePop music genre est. 2016
AZRA, aka Clara Hyunju Lee is a South Korea-born, Bay Area-raised, Los Angeles-based independent Korean-American artist, creator of the substance pop genre, performer, singer-songwriter, hip hop dancer, model, published author, and motivational storyteller. A creative powerhouse and lover of unconventional wisdom, AZRA’s mission is to inspire people to be their authentic selves and empower others to live out their dreams unapologetically and boldly. Through bewitching music and memorable live performances, she creates an experience toward a whole new state of mind — what she calls the “6th Dimension” — in which she deeply connects with her fans.
After being diagnosed with glaucoma at age 19 and losing eyesight temporarily on her right eye, AZRA was forced to see beyond what meets the eye and to begin a lifelong quest of substance and meaning in life. “I was basically unpeeling the layers of external influences off of the onion I've built so thick from the inside. It wasn't easy, and I realized the only way to see substance and get deep is to learn to accept and listen to my inner voice, and my heart.”
In 2017, AZRA coined, established and shared her own music genre called ‘substance pop’ with the release of her first EP. The term originated after AZRA vowed that her music and any artistic expression she shares with the world will have substance, depth, and purpose behind them to lift others up along their life's journey, following her health scare when diagnosed with glaucoma. Substance pop is influenced by a mixture of 2010's pop music and contemporary pop and grunge rock/metal, and includes empowering pop belting and catchy melodies fused with mission-driven lyrics focused on self-empowerment, authenticity and personal development.
She released her first EP in 2017 Freedom which gained national acclaim and released 9 singles since then. Her first single “Dimension” (2019) reached #1 on the Digital Radio Airplay Independent Chart, while her single “Dangerous” (2020) charted #1 on the Independent Digital Radio Airplay charts.
Soon after, AZRA was selected as a '20 and '21 GRAMMY NEXT Artist by the Recording Academy as one of the future leaders in music. She was one of just three artists chosen for the program and the first Korean American to be offered the opportunity which included mentorship by Grammy-nominated, multi-Platinum writer-producer Marcus ‘MarcLo’ Lomax who's a member of writing and production group The Monsters & Strangerz.
Hollywood Life declared, “AZRA’s music boasts messages that are as powerful as the hooks, and she aims to make tracks that move your body while uplifting your spirit.” While alternative music blog Music Is My Radar praises that AZRA “truly has a gift for penning impeccable pop belters.” Additionally, she has garnered acclaim from LA Weekly, VoyageLA, BillboardSounds, TWIST Magazine, PopDust, All Access, The WiMN, Celeb Secrets, GirlHQ, Rawfemme, and Women's Republic, to name a few. Read her latest interview with Honey Pop here.
Born Clara Lee in South Korea, AZRA discovered her love for the arts at the age of four. Her family moved to San Jose, California, when she was nine years old and she learned English through “obsessively” singing, playing, and listening to music. At ten, she had already composed her first classical pop piece on piano and violin. She grew up listening to K-pop and American pop, which heavily influenced her music and helped her become fluent in both English and Korean. Along with her friends, AZRA would sing songs in Korean, learn all the dances by K-pop artists and even created TV shows and cover albums out of them from her garage. Showing her entertainment prowess since she was a toddler, she would volunteer, audition and sign up to perform every opportunity she had.
AZRA then began expressing her passion for performing through involvement in musical theater, church choirs, and went on to dance for a prominent hip hop dance company at Boston University as well as being part of a New York-based girl group.
After her glaucoma diagnosis, AZRA was inspired to write an inspirational self-help book about fostering relationships and encouraging self-reflection and self-love in others, called The Cupcake Theory. Becoming an author allowed her to speak at meet-and-greet events for teens, young adults and women on self-confidence and healthy relationships. While in college, AZRA also started her own brand of business consulting and coaching CLÚ INC, which later led to a corporate management position at Accenture, one of the Big 4 consulting companies, Accenture. After juggling two careers, AZRA decided to leave this very lucrative corporate world earning six figures consulting for executives and high visibility clients from Fortune 50 companies in the world and instead pursued her artistic dreams, tackling the music world as an artist.
Aside from being a successful businesswoman and accomplished author, this multifaceted artist also began modeling shortly after graduating college, discovered by a fashion photographer in Boston. This led her to become the winner of America’s Next Top Model for the CW28 New England Division. She went on to sign with agencies in Boston, New York City, and Los Angeles, where she walked the runways for designers during fashion week shows and appeared in print ads and commercials.
Realizing, however, that music had always been in her DNA, she reinvented herself once more to pursue her professional music career, no holds barred. AZRA launched her own record label under the CLÚ umbrella, CLÚ Records, intent on creating music on her own terms. She has opened for Plain White T's on the High School Nation Tour and has toured for Pride Festivals all over the country with the release of her first EP Freedom in 2017. Her magnetic stage presence and infectious energy undoubtedly captivate audiences wherever she performs.
Citing Freddie Mercury, Whitney Houston, Cher, Madonna, Metallica, Paramore, Alanis Morissette, BoA, Cherry Filter, P!nk, Britney Spears, Max Martin, and Michael Jackson as her influences, she has collaborated with some of the best names in the industry.
Audacious, spirited and limitless, AZRA is based in Los Angeles, where she writes, creates, and collaborates with the mission to inspire others to “Follow your passion. Create your own show. The world is your stage, for anything you can imagine is possible.”
With her mission driven lifestyle, brand and music, AZRA is an icon in the making.