Posted On 17 Dec 2018
An artist who embraces an audio-visual approach to creativity, Ariana and the Rose writes, sings and performs a coming of age story. Her honest synth driven songs have accumulated over 4.2 million streams, her vivid experiential music videos have been viewed over 3 million times and she has toured extensively in both the US and the UK, bringing a unique brand of performance that transcends the traditional boundaries of a concert. Ariana and the Rose began releasing a series of singles and videos in October 2018 and will run through Spring 2019.
Check out Ariana and The Rose’s single, “Lonely Star” here:
And check out her newest single “Night Owl” here:
Learn more about Ariana and the Rose in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you now? Is there music playing in the background?
I am literally sitting on a plane from London to New York as I answer these. I have headphones in and Sade is currently playing.
Now that we are at the end of the year, how do you think 2018 has treated you and your career? What has been one goal that you have had this year and how close are you to reaching it? Or did you already reach it?
It’s so crazy that the year is almost over, I feel like 2018 flew by! It was definitely a year of ups and downs. I think a lot of people are feeling the strain of the political climate. It’s definitely been a challenge to keep a positive attitude in the midst of so many scary things going on. But it’s also been amazing to see this sense of rising community, people coming together to fight for what they believe in.
From a more personal perspective I feel so fortunate to have been able to see some ideas I’ve had in my head come to fruition. I created an immersive event at the end of last year called Light + Space which combines performance art, a concert and a party. My goal this year was to build our community in New York and expand the show to LA, which we just did in November. I’m ending the year in a place where I feel its important to take a step back and say, ok where do you want to go next? What does the next phase look like?
Growing up, how important was music to you? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
I always wanted to be a performer. I started as a dancer and then segued into musical theater, so for me it was always about the love of being on stage and feeling the energy in the room. Music was very private for me for a really long time. It was something I did alone in my bedroom, writing songs and playing piano. I started to write songs with other people and over time realized that it was something I wanted to pursue in a larger way. It didn’t feel like some big decision at the time, it happened organically and felt like what I was just supposed to be doing. Getting to be on stage, performing my own music is always a rush and my favorite part of the whole process.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest surprise is just how it all comes together. Nothing ever goes the way you think it will. It’s funny that that would be surprising since it’s something you hear all of the time but it’s always different when you live it for yourself. You never can imagine how one things leads to the next or how something that seems meaningless at a certain time comes back to bloom into some amazing opportunity. I try to keep a good sense of humor about all of it because nothing is permanent and you move past the highs as fast as you move through the lows. I think that goes for all careers, not just music. You have to try to laugh at it all; otherwise you’d go nuts!
How do you think you and your music have been influenced by your hometown and where you live today?
I was born and raised in New York, which has had a huge impact on my music and my overall attitude in general. When people meet me they always say “oh, you’re such a New Yorker.” I’m pretty straight to the point, tell it like it is, so I try to be true to that in my lyrics as well. I currently live in Brooklyn but I moved to London for a few years, which had a huge influence on me as well. Sonically, the London live music scene opened up my ears to so many kinds of genres and artists, it was so inspiring. I really found my sound as an artist while living there. I’d like to think my music is a marriage of my love of the two cities.
Let’s talk about your newest music that you’ve released. What inspired “Lonely Star” and “Night Owl”? How do the compare to your previous songs?
Every time I went into the studio there was always something on the news that had just happened that just felt so bleak. So I’d walk in and feel like I wanted to make an antidote to that. I wanted to write music that was going to bring people together and inspire their creativity. Lonely Star definitely grew out of the live shows I had been doing at the time. We had been throwing these immersive galactic themed parties in Brooklyn, which were so filled with love and felt so inclusive, I wanted to capture that in a song. Night Owl is about coming back to yourself. I love the lyric “You’re alone but you’re not lonely anymore.” It’s that moment when you can go out and have an amazing night and feel empowered by going home alone and living on your own terms. All of the new music I’ve been releasing and will be releasing comes from that place. I think everyone needs a bit of inspiration these days, to just keep us all going and I hope my music can be a spark for someone.
How did you first come up with the concept for “light and space”? What has surprised you about executing these elaborate shows?
I was living in London at the time and would go out to parties where my friends would all get up and play music, which created a house band kind of vibe. I noticed that people were dancing all night long and were way more engaged on the dance floor with a live band playing rather than a DJ. At the same time, I would go back to New York to visit family and friends and every time I went home I’d see a friend of mine in an immersive theater show, which breaks down the walls of keeping a show on a stage and puts it through an entire space, creating a 360 degree experience. I was playing traditional gigs and feeling stagnant, which is when all of these things happening at once came together to give me the idea for the event. I wanted to make a concert experience that truly transported the audience to another world and that concept was the beginning of light + space.
Creating the show is one of the scariest things I’ve done. You put all of this time, energy and love into it with faith that if you make something interesting and authentic that people will show up. I’ve gotten a crash course is aspects of night life, promotion, direction, the list goes on that I didn’t really imagine ever tackling but has been so rewarding. I’m always surprised when people come up to me after the show and say “I feel so free” or “ I haven’t had a night like this in so long, thank you.” Those moments mean more to me than anything.
Can you describe what a previous “light and space” event was like? How long does it take to prepare and orchestrate one of these galactic music parties?
The night is a combination of theater, performance art, and a concert all wrapped in a galactic themed party. We encourage people to come dressed up and we also provide a glitter bar and different activations at the event to help people strip off their every day lives. Audience members are free to go wherever they want in the space, the whole thing presents like a party but there are performers, dancers and musical performances that pop up throughout the night, in all different parts of the space. The whole thing culminates in a concert led by my band, Ariana and the Rose followed by a guest DJ. It’s amazing to see the whole crowd dancing and staying on the dance floor until the lights come on.
The preparation for the show varies depending on how many changes we’re making. We’ve gotten it down to a really good system. I spent a year creating the show with an amazing team and now we’re constantly refining and building to expand the experience and make it more exciting for the audience.
How did your LA one compare to the NY events?
It was so much fun!! I was genuinely really nervous to bring the show to LA. We’ve never done an event there before and I had no idea how the audience would react but it was packed and everyone came completely dressed up and were so into it, it was an amazing energy in the room. The whole experience of doing this show has been an experiment in what people want in their live experiences, whether that’s concerts, parties or theater. It’s amazing to see that the crowds in New York and LA both receive the same themes of freedom and inclusivity from the show, which means we’re doing our jobs right.
In the roughly 12 months that you have been putting these on, how do you think that they have grown developed?
The shows are so different now from when we started. The format is the same but the attention to detail and creative within the show has become so much more refined as we’ve done them. My team always says to me “stop changing things every time we do a show!” but I can’t help but want to make every one just that much better. We learn something from every show we do which makes me want to apply it to the next one. More than anything, we learn from the audience. Did something land the way we thought? Are they receiving the themes and ebb and flow of the event the way we thought they would? The audience doesn’t bullshit, if they’re not into it you’ll know and if they love it, you’ll know that too.
When do you hope to release more new music and a new album of new songs?
I am releasing new music at the beginning of 2019! I’ll be releasing a single every other month for the next 6 months or so, which I’m so excited about. I’m really proud of this new music and can’t wait to share it.
Since the beginning of music, people have turned to it for support and as an escape from their realities. How do you want your music received and appreciated?
Everybody’s relationship to music is so personal, I’m just happy with people having my music in their lives, experiencing it whatever way means the most to them. I’d like to think of it as a catharsis rather than an escape. I try to make music that helps people move through whatever they’re going through and feel stronger rather than run away from it.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
Social media is such an important part of building any business now, whether you’re in a creative field or not. Continuing to make interesting content that feels special and relevant to the people who follow me is definitely the challenge. I don’t want to be an artist that has a page filled with photos of me in cute outfits. I love a good outfit pic, don’t get me wrong and I find a ton of style inspiration from people on apps like Instagram but I’d like my social pages to be a place for people to get inspiration for their creativity on the whole. I try and make things I love and be open about that in the hopes that it will inspire someone to do whatever fills them up creatively as well. Instagram has definitely been the best platform for me to connect with people. I am a very visual artist and my project seems to translate through photos and videos in the best way. I love DMing with people who follow me and chatting with them in the comments, it’s the next best thing to getting to chat with people after a show.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Robyn is my go to, icon, music/style inspiration. Everything she does is flawless and filled with this amazing balance of vulnerability and cool at the same time. I love artists who are their own creative directors, people like Christine and the Queens, Solange and FKA Twigs. You know they are in control of their sound and images and have such unique perspectives. I strive to be a clear and compelling with what I have to say as those women.
If you were going to be stranded on a deserted island forever, what musical item would you take with you and why?
I’d probably take a piano. It’s my kind of therapy. If I’m feeling a bit off or having a rough day, I can sit at the piano and just play something and come out the other side feeling better. I imagine if I were on a deserted island forever, I’d need a lot of that!
If your music was going to be featured on any TV show that is currently on right now, which would you love it to be on? Or if you prefer, what is a movie that you love that you wish your music was featured in?
I remember when Grey’s Anatomy first came out and how it defined musical careers for artists. I would freak out to have one of my songs on that show. Just as a personal accomplishment. Someone being saved or running in slow-mo to one of my songs would be A-MAZING.
I’d also love to write an original song for a film, that is a true dream of mine.
Do you have any tour dates you would like to tell our readers about? How will you be spending your winter?
I have some tour dates being confirmed but nothing to announce just yet but will be shouting about them as soon as I can! I’ll be spending winter releasing this new music and working on spring plans for Light + Space and festivals, we have some pretty exciting collaborations coming up which I can’t wait to share.
At the end of the day, what do you hope your fans take away from your music? I’d like to know more about how you want your music to be timeless?
Being timeless is a tough goal, I just want my music to resonate with people now, I think that’s how you become timeless. You create art that speaks so directly to what people are going through in that exact moment that it creates a place in their heart forever. I want the people who listen to my music to feel like I’m singing for them and to them, because I am.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Just that I’m so appreciative of anyone who takes the time to listen to a song or come to a show and that we’ll be creating a lot more worlds for people to immersive themselves in in 2019!