ARI Interview: Early Influences, Debut Single, & More

Arianna Hicks has faced a plentiful amount of challenges throughout the course of her life. From adolescence to the current day, it feels like she has always delved into her passions and constantly explored various talents. One thing always remained constant, and that was her love for music.

Already proven to have the ability to draw in audiences with her strong online presence of over 195k fans and counting, ARI looks to move past the stigma of social media influencers with the debut of her first musical single “Nothin but a Monster.” Allowing her audience to see another side of her, ARI uses music as a forum for expressing herself. Her journey as an artist blows away perceptions as she uses her voice to tell honest stories.

To give the transition from model to singer/songwriter a bit more perception, we’ve had the honor of catching up with ARI and chatting all things music.

From what age were you able to connect with music?

“Probably around the age of 4. I use to sing along to Disney movies, tv shows, and record makeshift music videos with my sisters. Its always been a focus on everything in my life and it’s crazy to think but every memory I have, I can probably attach a song to. 

I remember being in 3rd grade and having a crush on this guy. Every night I’d go home and sing Taylor Swift – Teardrops on my Guitar. It’s dramatic but that was the song I could trace back to my first “heartbreak” haha. To figure out who I was and where I fit, music connected me to all of it.”

What did you listen to when you were younger?

“When I was really young, I went through the standard pop stage – anything from Taylor Swift to Enrique Iglesias. My dad was also a huge old school r&b/hip hop fan so I went from pop to Notorious B.I.G and all different realms of 2000’s r&b/hip hop. As I got older I pretty much listen to everything now. My playlists go from The 1975, Halsey, August 08 to Billie Eilish.”

What inspired you to pursue music-making?

“I started singing when I was 4 and to be honest, it’s the only thing I’ve been really passionate about since. Every kid starts singing at some point in their lives naturally. I, of course, have had many concerts in the shower by myself hoping for it to one day turn into a reality. As I got older, I felt that I lacked a sense of purpose. A bit cliche but remembering the excitement I would get as a kid growing up singing in the shower became more appealing to reignite that passion in me.

Fast forward a few years, It’s kinda crazy to think it’s finally here. Music is the only thing I’d ever want to do with my life, something I thought I wouldn’t ever be able to pursue. I’m sure everyone at one point wanted to be a singer or rockstar but that seems to be labeled as a “childish” dream. I’m one of the lucky few finally able to give it a genuine shot.”

Having a background as a model and social media influencer, what challenges did you face and how did music put you past it?

“I wish this wasn’t so easy to answer but the biggest challenge is and was being taken seriously. I think coming from the background of being an influencer, you are always going to run into the preconceived notion of: “does this person actually have talent ?”

I’m constantly in this state of feeling like I have to prove myself at times. I knew going into music would come with a lot of trial and error and starting from the ground up it really has. Whether that be dropping followers, lack of engagement, or that lack of belief from the people who just know me as an influencer. I can’t sit here and say that these challenges are not something I still don’t face or don’t tax me at all but the overall support from my friends has been overwhelming.

We live in a space where we are so used to instant gratification and everything happening so fast that we forget to enjoy the process, and music has really allowed me to step back and try to be grateful that the music is there and in time, those challenges won’t even be a thought.”

What did you want listeners/fans to gain after hitting play on “Nothin but a Monster?”

“The story behind this song definitely hits home to me, but I purposely wrote the song out to be a little ambiguous in meaning so that anyone could connect to it. Which is what I think is the beauty of music, there’s always a way to relate. The meaning for me carries this dark reoccurring situation of feeling trapped in one’s own thoughts. The song isn’t meant to necessarily be uplifting, but to shed light on those negative situations and emotions people shy away from. I want people to feel and know they aren’t alone.”  

Do you have any advice for those who also feel trapped by their own environment?

“Growing up in Toronto, something about being in the city always made me feel trapped. I never felt like I fit in anywhere, and I lost a real sense of belonging. I found myself feeling secluded at all times and that carried with me even to this day. I’m not going to lie, I’m still figuring out how to combat those feelings especially when I’m home but as cheesy as it sounds it does get better. I found having a strong support system of people and finding even just one person to push me out of my comfort zone has really made huge strides. Sometimes getting yourself in the routine of doing the smallest things differently in every day life can help push you out of that trapped feeling. Progress even in the smallest forms is still progress.”

What can fans expect going forward?

“One thing I want to get across all of my music and I as an artist is raw honesty. I’ve been focusing lately on my second single and EP to follow up in the next couple of months. With that, I’ve been adamant about not shying away from exactly what I these songs to say. Those pesky emotions we try to ignore, whether it’s caring too much about opinions, self-deprecating thoughts, or just sometimes being a little petty. I want to talk about things that are true to me and my story. Even if it’s not painting the prettiest picture of myself. I always want to portray earnest and raw truth which is exactly what you can expect from me.”

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