Edward Cai, better known in the music industry as IONIKA, is a music producer, rapper, songwriter, mixing & mastering engineer and DJ from Watchung, New Jersey. He began producing music in his early pre-teen years, influenced by the styles of Skrillex, Monstercat, and Dabin, releasing his first EP in late 2014 titled The Meltdown, a bass-heavy, synth-driven collection of his early works. After attending a summer music program at NYU, his influences switched to more entrepreneurial producers such as Flume, Ta-ku and Dr.Dre. In 2016, he released his first debut album -- Reality. The 12-track album featured a more mature, experimental, melody-driven sound than his early EDM sounds.
In 2019, Ionika released his sophomore album, titled MONSTER. He is now starting to rap as well as expand into more hip-hop/pop driven genres while running his own record label called Generation Wavy. He is currently working on pushing out four new singles along with a junior album by 2021.
The name Ionika was chosen from a dubstep sound pack he had six years ago.
“It doesn’t even have a significant meaning to it, which is why I think it started to grow on me. I don’t want to be boxed in, or have my name represent a certain genre, you know? I want to experiment, make music of all kinds, and have music that everyone can enjoy.”
Brought up in a “comfortable, but strict household”, Ionika would focus on grades, school, and extracurriculars in hopes that he’d get into a good college.
“My parents would always remind me that my studies were important and to always put in consistent effort on everything I do. They would discipline and teach me valuable lessons that, at the time, didn’t mean anything to me, but looking back now, made me the person I am today and those lessons help me grow even more. So I’m thankful for all that tough love, haha.”
He first discovered his passion for music when he started to play piano.”
“You know, ever since I was a kid, I would go down in the basement to my dad’s computer, watch those really low quality YouTube videos and learn how to play songs I liked on the piano. And then, fast forward to middle school, I learn about EDM, and that people can make music on a laptop! I thought that was crazy, and I liked it. There was something about taking a bunch of sounds, arranging it together, and creating a cohesive, thematic record from those elements that really sparked a passion inside me.”
His song “Perfect” was written about a girl that he really liked and wanted to spend time with.
“I wrote a track detailing how amazing she is and what we’re gonna do when she comes over. I also wanted to write a Jay Park styled R&B song, and this was the perfect (no pun intended) track to really get down those smooth melodies that Jay Park fans are familiar with.”
As an artist, he says he is not looking to be a superstar, or make it big as an artist, per say”, he simply hopes to get exposure. He also tries to use music to give back to the community.
“I try to give back to the community through my music. Especially the Asian-American community. It’s become more and more apparent recently that we are a group that most would call the ‘model minority’, but I want to change that. More often than not, a lot of the artists I work with started out scared to enter music because they would be viewed as “disappointments” to their parents. But why care about what they think? If creating, doing art, making things is what makes you happy, then just do it. I want to inspire the next generation of Asian-Americans to do what they love, are passionate about, and to just be creative and succeed in doing so!”
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