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Oakland-based musician Ashia Karana sat in the sun with her radio on, eating a mango and looking out towards Lake Merritt. She is originally from Atlanta and was led to the Bay by what seemed to be fate. After following a series of signs, she came to study sound healing at the Globe Institute in San Francisco, a school that holds courses about the healing properties of sounds and vibrations and how to utilize them. 

Moving across the country was not easy and Karana dealt with anxiety and depression, but after throwing herself into her art, she has since connected with Oakland’s buzzing music scene and other artists on similar paths.

“Some of us had really similar stories,” Karana said. “All of a sudden, we were just moving to the Bay, and we had never even thought about living here ever before, but all of a sudden, it just became clear that we were supposed to be here.”

The cross-country move was based on a leap of faith, and rebuilding her life from scratch has not been easy, but Karana has gained a greater understanding of her strength and ability to adapt. Despite her confident exterior, Karana says that her journey to true self-acceptance is not complete. Even though she has been an artist and performer since childhood, Karana still works on affirming her own talents daily.

“I am working on learning how to celebrate myself and my journey, my accomplishments,” Karana said. “Positive affirmation, self-talk, how I communicate to myself and just giving myself the space and the time to acknowledge what I’ve been through and how far I’ve come.”

Karana’s newest EP entitled “Don’t Just Say You Love Me,” explores all the ways that life can break your heart and celebrates how love can be let in through the cracks. By implementing specific tools like tuning forks and sound bowls into her melodies, Karana uses her knowledge of sound healing to heal listeners.

Lyrics from the opening track, “The Coin,” read “What’s your peace of mind looking like?/ Always looking for a way to get it/ From the moment you rise/ Hope you realize that abundance is your birthright.”

“Music is part of your diet. You consume it just like your food, just like your water,” Karana said. “It’s rooted in self-care but like radical self-care, though. Not the fluffy stuff.”