Sound Off: ARI
Jun 26, 2020
Following the success of her latest release “Oh Well”, 21-year-old singer-songwriter ARI once again shines with “Cold War”, the second single off of her forthcoming EP IDIOTGRL, releasing in July.
Representing a dichotomy between her two worlds, “Cold War” tackles ARI’s paranoia as she struggles to blend her personal and musical identity. A Toronto native, ARI (real name Arianna Hicks), finds herself torn between her life back home versus the new challenges that face her as an artist in the States. As insecurities intensify, ARI goes inward, expressing herself through lyrics and melodies that give her strength over her thoughts.
ARI explains: “I tend to keep my worlds separate. I have amazing people that I grew up with in Toronto, as well as a second family in LA that I’ve found through my music journey. I’ve always been scared that these worlds, while coexistent, wouldn’t mix. I have a small circle of friends to begin with, so the thought that the people I love may not get along is a fear of mine. This song is about those worlds colliding and my paranoia of them not being able to exist as one.”
While that moment comes, we had the chance to talk to ARI about the album’s creative process and the inspiration behind her latest song “Cold War”. Inspired by some of Ari’s personal concerns, the song has a very touching lyrics and an extremely fun and well-produced video clip – We were so influenced by the music video that we already bought blue paint to dye our hair!
Check out the full interview with this amazing artist and come to suffer from anxiety waiting for “IDIOTGIRL” with us!
1. Congrats on the release of your new single “Cold War”! What was the inspiration behind the song?
“Cold War” in its simplest form is about the paranoia of my worlds colliding. I didn’t have many friends in high school, so once I went out to LA and started making friends, it was the happiest I had ever been. But because I had created this life in LA with a new set of friends, it almost seemed like I was living in two different worlds when I came back home to Toronto. I became terrified that if I mixed these parts of me, it just wouldn’t work and I would lose everything. This song is about that ugly fear of the people I love not being able to blend, as well as the worry that I had become two different people in order to cope with that insecurity.
2. You released your debut single “Nothin but a Monster” earlier this year. Did you expect it to be as successful as it was?
As much as I’d love to be able to say I was extremely confident that my first single would do amazing, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a nervous wreck. Hearing that I was going to be on a billboard in Times Square for my first ever song release was absolutely insane – I couldn’t actually believe it was going to happen. It was one of those things where I kept expecting to wake up and find out it wasn’t real. I’m so thankful for how it all played out and the amount of support I’ve received from everyone. Most importantly though, I was lucky to have so many people that genuinely believed in me and that is so hard to come by. I couldn’t have done it without those people.
3. How long have you been writing IDIOTGRL and is there a message you want to send with it?
I started writing IDIOTGRL back in January around my birthday! I was finally back in LA and went to visit my producer CAMBO in his studio to catch up. We decided to record our conversation just in case anything cool came up. That’s how most of the concepts from IDIOTGRL came to be – from me mumbling and ranting and just having a casual conversation about what was going on in my world and how I was feeling.
4. What is your favorite line from the EP?
“And you’re so paper-thin, your snakeskin in see-through”
5. When did you fall in love with music?
I’ve been in love with music for as long as I can remember. I know that sounds cliché, but I quite literally can’t remember a time where music wasn’t my world. My mom told me recently I used to put on concerts for the family, and given the fact that you couldn’t get me to shut up or stop singing, it makes sense.
6. What are some collaborations that you hope to have in the future?
There are a ton of collaborations that I’d love to make happen. There are three in particular that, to be honest, I’d be beside myself if I got the opportunity to work with. Halsey, black bear, Khalid.
7. As a Toronto native, what effects do you think the city has had on your sound?
I think that growing up in Toronto immersed me in a lot of different genres and sounds, which translates to my music taste to this day. I listen to pretty much everything; I enjoy music for the music. I never really paid attention to the specific genre or artist.
8. Describe your sound in 3 words?
Ethereal. Experimental. Timeless.
9. Where is the first place you want to travel to after lockdown?
One place both my manager and I had been planning to visit before COVID hit was New Orleans. Not going to lie, we binge-watched The Vampire Diaries and The Originals and I’m absolutely DYING to go. It’s such a beautiful place and is so rich in history, which is something I really look forward to learning about while there.
10. Do you think it’s easier to be vulnerable in your music vs in person?
I think it’s definitely easier to get things out when you’re writing a song versus having a conversation. I always try to be overly honest, which I feel like people sometimes confuse with vulnerability, but they are vastly different. Vulnerability is something I’ve always struggled with and has been an easy way to get hurt in my past. But it’s been amazing opening up that part me of me again through music.
11. As a self-claimed Halloween Fanatic, do you already have your costume for this year planned out?
YOU BEST BELIEVE I DO! I always go as a vampire or witch for at least one of the costumes as there’s usually a couple of different parties. I’m always something supernatural and/or dead. I just think Halloween costumes should be spooky or dark, you know? Or maybe that’s just me? Either way, I’m already way too excited for it.
12. What is something you wish you got asked more in interviews?
I wish I got asked more about my other passions and talents. The things I grew up loving and how they shaped me. It would also be dope to share my “obsessions” with the world aka Halloween, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and superheroes.
13. If you weren’t making music right now, what would you be doing?
If I had continued on the path of going to university to study a profession, I had my eye set on pursuing law or psychology. I still want to continue learning about both.
14. What is your go-to karaoke song?
I wouldn’t know, no one has ever invited me to karaoke! I’d very much like for that to change though.
15. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still eating cake for breakfast (if my metabolism permits).
16. Can you tell us a secret?
Yes I can ;)
17. Can you tell us about any other upcoming projects?
In addition to my debut EP IDIOTGRL coming out late July, I can tell you that I do have plans to cook up something Halloween-themed in regards to music this October.
- Photographer Nicole Davis