Aya Ishida is a New York-based vocalist and composer. Originally from Japan, Aya moved to NYC in 2013 to pursue a B.F.A. in Jazz Vocal Performance. She developed her sound and style by studying with Steve Wilson and Carolyn Leonhart and graduated from The City College of New York under the Kaye Scholarship with Degree Honors Magna Cum Laude. Her 2018 debut album, Day by Day, was produced by the Grammy award-winning saxophonist Wayne Escoffery. Alongside her original compositions, it also includes her favorite jazz standards with her own arrangements. Soon after her album was released, Aya returned to Tokyo to continue composing and performing jazz for audiences throughout Asia. Aya completed tours in Japan, Taiwan, and Paris and moved back to NYC in 2019. She now actively performs regularly with a diverse group of musicians for music venues and events such as the Japan Parade and AAPI Heritage Month celebration event. Aya also performs Japanese imperial court music, 'Gagaku.' Her dedication to cross-cultural exploration was recognized through a full scholarship for the Columbia University Gagaku Mentor/Protege Program in Tokyo, Japan in 2023. Aya was part of fellows of Bespoken, a music mentorship program for women in classical and jazz in 2021-2023. Aya is also a member of New Amsterdam Record Genre-fluid Composers’ Lab 2024. Her focus is now composing her original songs using vocal effects and a looper pedal.

Her new single “Bright Glimpse of Light” will be released in Spring 2024.


Photography: Christine Cruz