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Rising Stars: Meet Ariyel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ariyel.

Hi Ariyel, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up in the desert, Arizona and New Mexico, with a jazz bassist for a dad and a music teacher for a mom. I was swimming in music from the get go. I spent a lot of my early years listening to my mom’s old 80s music in the back of the car and singing Britney karaoke into my closet mirror. I didn’t really start performing in front of others until we moved away to the Pacific Northwest. There I got steeped in all of that rainy weather which really helped with the depressing vibe of my songwriting once I started. I finally started writing some cheesy songs when I was 11 years old and I really fell in love. From then on, I took a lot of inspiration from Taylor Swift, Coldplay and Sufjan Stevens and put a lot of energy into lyric writing. I was one of those kids with a Tumblr poetry blog in high school, and I took myself very seriously. I went straight from high school to Berklee College of Music as a Songwriting student, where I released my first few singles under Ariyel, my artist name. Just recently, I dropped out due to the whole pandemic thing, and now I am living in LA trying to finish up my new EP.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I’m someone who has always struggled with self-esteem issues and depression; yeah, I understand that’s not too shocking after sharing that Sufjan Stevens is my inspiration. But as much as these issues have inspired my music, they can make the day to day really hard, and that’s a lot of what I write about. It’s crazy to be doing the thing that I love the most and being so lucky, but still having issues getting out of bed in the morning, or doing anything at all really. Being a writer and being an artist takes a lot of work and emotional energy that is sometimes hard to find. It’s an extremely competitive industry as well, which makes it easy to be down on yourself about pretty much anything if you come at it the wrong way. At the end of the day however, I find a way to make it work, and I try not to beat myself up about it too much. I know I am doing the best that I can do.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I’m a singer-songwriter. I love writing about being depressed and confused, grey areas in life, stuff that can be difficult to get through. When I find that emotional tension, it is fun and healing for me to try to lean in and make an art piece through it. I want to create things that can be helpful for people going through something similar, and I want to help them feel understood. Those are the best compliments I have received, people telling me that my music made them feel understood. That is what I am proudest of. I grew up with Britney and 80s pop so I am a lover of pop music. As much as I love the folk and storytelling aspect of writing, I like to have the music I write feel fresh and electronic to some extent and use modern production aspects. Things that feel cool and new and make me excited to listen to it as well. I want to write music you can groove to but also cry to if you want.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
Networking always feels like some magic word, but I think of it as just showing my best self in the relationships I already have and the places that I go. If you have the hard work and talent behind you and you stay prepared, you will be ready to show whoever is around the potential you have. That means put 100 into every show, and every recording, even if you don’t feel like it is important. Connections always come from other connections you already have, so I always try to show my best self, emotionally and socially as well as musically, so people will be excited to work with me if they see connections that would benefit them as well. Sometimes it feels daunting, but it’s just being kind, prepared, and ready to work when the opportunity presents itself.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

All credits go to Rachel Rodgers Photography, except for the one of me as a child, that picture was taken by “Ariyel’s Mom”

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