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Meet Arielle Baptiste of Bapari in Frogtown/ Chinatown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Arielle Baptiste.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Arielle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I learned a few instruments growing up, like the recorder, saxophone and took violin for a few months – but nothing ended up sticking. At that point in my life music seemed more like an auxiliary hobby versus a viable interest I could pursue. I was more focused on school and athletics at the time and it wasn’t until college that I realized my genuine passion for music and performance. I went to USC to play soccer and that dominated my attention and perception of what college was supposed to be. I then played soccer for the Haitian National Team the summer after my freshman year and following that season my career came to a close. I tried many things on campus from that point on but nothing felt right until I found the student radio station, KXSC. All of a sudden I had a renewed enthusiasm. I joined staff, got a weekly show and began teaching myself how to DJ and produce. It is ultimately what convinced me to stay at USC for an extra semester to study music industry and take audio production and drumming courses. From that point on I began finding gigs where ever I could – around campus and near the DTLA area, honestly I wasn’t picky because you really couldn’t be – I just wanted the chance to perform.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I think any creative pursuit inherently comes with its ups and downs. When you love doing something that’s valuation can’t be quantified, you end up making a lot of sacrifices. I think most artists can attest to using their personal resources to keep their craft afloat. This can be anywhere from taking gigs despite being underpaid or taking on the cost of performing (preparation, travel, etc.) without expecting compensation. It can also come in the form of sacrificing your time – spending hours on that mix, spending hours in the studio, spending hours on collaborations – with once again no guarantee of success or stability. There are wins of course when a project or performance comes along that feels fair, exciting, and a step in the right direction for your career. These are the things that keep you encouraged and remind you that all that other stuff was for a reason.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Aside from my personal music projects and performing, I also founded a platform called Puffy or Puffy Radio. Puffy exists primarily through monthly residencies on NTS Radio and at General Lee’s Cocktail House in Chinatown. My goal with Puffy has always been to shed the light on underground talent, whether that be in the studio, or through events. Puffy originated as the conglomeration of a few interconnected music projects including Club Envy, Thurst, Ultraviolet, Bodied and more. These events have served communities in and around DTLA, Chinatown, Echo Park, Silverlake, Highland Park, East Hollywood, Eagle Rock, etc.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
It’s hard to say – there have been triumphs that felt like luck and downfalls where the opposite is true. Whether luck was a facet or not, both just seem like inevitable components of the journey.

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Image Credit:
Hobbes Ginsberg, Beatriz Moreno, Deonte Lee

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