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“Azalea” is the musical duo of Benjamin and Mia Hackett, they are an Australian-Canadian couple that write, produce, and perform original music together. Before they met, Benjamin and Mia both worked on their own solo music projects, but for some reason, it always felt to them that a key ingredient was lacking in their art. Having fatefully met in 2004, the duo worked on their first songwriting project together, and the magic they created from their chemistry was undeniably great. It was then that they discovered that the secret ingredient lacking in their pieces, was each other. 16 years down the line and the duo has now released 5 studio albums, 1 live album, were named semifinalists at the 2018 International songwriting competition, and have previously been nominated at the 2018 International Acoustic Music Awards. Show Notes Joining us on the show today is the dynamic music duo of Benjamin and Mia, otherwise known as Azalea. Having been performing on cruise ships for the past one and a half years, we start the show off with the duo narrating their dramatic cruise ship experience courtesy of the COVID-19 pandemic. From being stuck at the dock for 12 days in a ship with no passengers to hopping from ship to ship until they finally booked their own plane ticket back home. Benjamin and Mia have had a challenging first-hand experience with the effect of the current global pandemic. Now with a day left until their 14-day social quarantine is over, the couple can’t wait to go outside and do some grocery shopping! As they’re a fairly introverted couple, when not on stage or creating new music, Benjamin and Mia are very close friends and enjoy being with their pets and their comfy home in Canada. Stay tuned as the lovely duo gives us a tour of what it’s like to be performers in a cruise ship. Despite their introverted nature, Benjamin and Mia enjoy socializing with their fans before and after their performances. This, they claim, is a great way to have an intimate connection with your audience and get their personal thoughts and opinions on how they feel about your music and performance. They’ve enjoyed every single cruise trip and performance as this has enabled them to meet different people, cultures, and lifestyles worldwide. Something that would have otherwise been impossible to afford without their gigs. The Cruise ship contracts have also proven invaluable in terms of steady, reliable work and ample free time to work on their music writing project’s on the side. And even with the current global crisis still heating up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this lovely couple has chosen to see the positive side of it, and thank God for the ample time that they now have to tackle their art and life projects that they’ve been postponing for a while. I hope you all enjoy the show and feel empowered by the message of hope and creativity that Azalea shares with all on the show today. Quotes It grows you, in such a big way, I can’t even remember the person I was before I started the journey. – Mia on her experience performing in cruise ships. It’s a very intimate relationship between you and the people you’re performing for in a cruise ship. Consorting and getting to know them at a personal level, and what they love about your show. It’s like free market research. Socializing with your audience is a great way to know what people connect within your songs and performances. This helps in improving your performance and music in general. We’ve seen so many different cultures, lifestyles and ways of life. This has made us realize how we’re all so different, but still essentially the same. It’s practically a great way to make the world smaller and make it feel like home. We take different approaches in terms of the tools and environment in order to experiment with how the general audience feels and how emotions would change when producing our songs. There’s a lot of challenges to it, but it’s generally a good experience. We’re basking in the fact that we now have time to tackle the creative endeavors that we’ve always wanted to pursue – Benjamin on using the current COVID-19 social quarantine measure to their advantage. We still have milestones that we need to hit. And we feel that we’ll get there eventually. We just have to keep writing, keep playing and keep being our genuine selves. We hope to create art that’s meaningful to us. Because if it means something to you, then it’s going to mean something to everyone else – Benjamin on their future art and music projects. If you work too much, you kind of lose your touch with creativity. Creativity comes from play. Timestamps Azalea’s experience and joy performing cruise ship gigs (7:08) Listen to ‘Your Lullaby’ by Azalea (10:02) How they met and the undeniable chemistry that kept them together (14:25) Benjamin and Mia’s previous gigs before they started performing on cruise ships. (17:45) Listen to ‘Dusty Motel’ (21:03) Azalea’s process of creating and producing different songs. (25:21) How they’ve been affected by the virus (29:44) Listen to “The Masquerade” (32:55) House Concerts and Lives streaming, Azalea’s plans for the near future (41:20) Benjamin gives us a view of the story behind the song ‘Butterflies and Alchemists’ (43:03) Listen to ‘Butterflies and Alchemists’ (44:44) How they got their band name ‘Azalea’ (51:24) Benjamin and Mia’s message to you (56:34) Connect with Azalea Website: www.azaleamusic.net Facebook: @AzaleaMusic.net Twitter: @AzaleaMusic Instagram: @azaleamusic YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/AzaleaTV/featured Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/1dDVpHA12UrdADS32m3weI Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/ke/artist/azalea/1311120597 As always, thanks a lot for being a part of the dHarmic evolution podcast, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and connect with us on social media. 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