We recently caught up with San Francisco singer and songwriter Ariel B, who just released her new single ‘Mystery’. We spoke to her about her musical influences growing up as well as some of her favorite moments, to date. Here is what she had to say:
Hi Ariel, first of all, congrats on the new single, ‘Mystery’ it’s an amazing song and your vocals sound fantastic. Tell us about the process, writing and how it all came about?
Thank you so much. I am so grateful that ‘Mystery’ has been received so well. It is hard putting your heart out there for the world to hear. It’s hard to let true emotions ring out and I’m happy I have been able to do that. The writing process started with Narada (Michael Walden) sending me a simple motif while I was at work and I just wrote what I was feeling from there. Literally I wrote “What a pause, silence can mean everything” in that moment. I find that to be a powerful lyric because you can find solace and truth in silence. This is often what happens when a relationship is on its last leg.
The communication is done and from there it leaves you wondering what happened. These concepts are all what made the song ‘Mystery’. I have experienced this in relationships and often found myself confused especially when the feelings haven’t gone away. I wanted to make sure I created a relatable topic among individuals who have experienced this -that’s the great thing about the human condition right? We can all relate and on many levels, heartbreak is one of them. The song came very naturally and Narada helped to fill in more of the rhythmic pattern since I still write in a very poem stanza kinda way.
Give us an introduction into your background in music and when you first started:
I started singing when I was about 5 years old. I would sing to TLC and Aaliyah because my sisters were big fans and I naturally just gravitated towards them. Also, my mom would play a lot of old school artists such as Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross, Janet Jackson and Prince to name a few. From there, I was in choir throughout elementary school -however I did not take it seriously until I was in Middle School. My choir teacher Mr.Settles, had a profound affect on why I wanted to pursue music. He played a lot of old soul artists, particularly from Motown.
He also aided me in auditioning for the San Francisco School Of The Arts High School. At school of the arts, I was classically trained, specializing in Italian, French,German, and English art songs. My choir director, Mr.Wedge helped me to shape the voice you hear today. I still to this day, lean on him for his vocal expertise. I decided to pursue R&B/Pop because that’s what is truly in my heart. It resonates with me the most.
Who were some of your influences growing up?
Growing up some of my influences were TLC, Aaliyah, Michael and Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, Patti Labelle, Luther Vandross and Stevie Wonder to name a few. I just love old school music so much -the vocals, musicality and lyrical content has greatly influenced me.
What has been one of your biggest highlights so far and why?
One of my biggest highlights so far was definitely working with Narada Michael Walden. It is is something I always hoped for, since I used to read the liner notes in Whitney’s albums. Whitney Houston has been my biggest influence by far, since day one. To be able to create magic with the same person who created magic with her, is a dream come true.
Are you working on any other songs at the moment and do you have an album coming out?
I am currently gearing up to release singles for the next couple months and then put together an EP. When the time comes for an album, I am so ready.
How are you coping with the lock down during the Covid-19 pandemic? I know you are in the bay area and you guys were one of the first cities to practice that:
It has definitely been a real change. I am a social person and enjoy being out and about in my beautiful city, San Francisco. However I’m grateful I get to focus on my craft and spend time with my family up north. I think this is a watershed moment for the country to be truly empathetic of others and to also enjoy the time we have while we are here. We always hear tomorrow is not promised, but I think now, people realize what it means. I encourage people that have to stay home to enjoy the time with our loved ones. I am very grateful to live in an area that was one of the early pioneers to put the well being of community above anything else.
What do you like to do in your down time and how do you stay inspired and positive?
I love to write and take walks. Sometimes I just need to get thoughts and emotions out. It’s a great thing to release stress. I also love taking walks because being in fresh air and in nature is very soothing. I particularly like walking by water. I also love to just listen to my favorite songs and sing along. I love communicating with my great friends that keep me motivated.
What is your best piece of advice to aspiring singers and performers?
My best piece of advice is to be confident and keep people around you who instill that in you, as well. You are entering a business that is very judgmental -however, if you stay grounded in who you are and keep solid people around, it will help you to navigate. Also, be knowledgeable in all aspects of the business, wherever you can. Don’t just focus on the career aspect and music -learn about songwriting, royalties etc. The more you know, the more no one can take advantage of you. Lastly, TAKE CARE OF YOUR INSTRUMENT. You only get one and you should always want to protect it at all costs.
Thanks for your time Ariel and all the best with your music!
Thank you Amber!
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