When I stumbled upon Aria Lanelle roughly two years ago, she had just released her then EP entitled "My Name Is." That particular body of work gave listeners a pleasurable experience for what they can expect going forward. The singer, songwriter, and producer wear many many hates, but one of them is her ability to be humble about where she is now and where she sees herself down the road. I recently caught up with her to discuss her latest single, Cuffing Season. Read on to see what she had to say!
First off, congrats on your new song "Cuffing Season." I was so excited when I heard it! Discuss the inspiration behind the song and what you want people to feel when they listen to it.
Thank you! You know, I was inspired more by a feeling than anything else when I was writing “Cuffing Season”. Iʼm guilty of being perpetually single because I feel like being with the wrong guy is a waste of my time, and “Cuffing Se/son” is just my commentary on the futility of temporary placeholder relationships. But even though the song lyrically is about all of that, I really just want people to vibe out.
What would you say makes Cuffing Season different from other songs you wrote and produced?
I spent the past couple years collaborating with a lot of UK DJ producers on their tracks overseas and absorbed a lot of lessons from them. They never really limited what I could do on the tracks: theyʼd just ask me to write some lyrics and deliver a sickening vocal, then they would chop up my catchiest vocal moments and let me ride the beat. Iʼm the type to stack a million vocal layers and instruments on a track, but those House dudes are pretty bare bones about production.
Sometimes the biggest bangers have the most simple beats, but that simplicity is full of nuance. So on “Cuffing Season”, I wanted to mix my own production style with the stuff I learned working with those guys and a dab of Pop techniques), and see if I could make a track that people could dance to. Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in trying to be a deep, bouge artists that you forget that people really just wanna look cute and bop for 3 minutes and 14 seconds. If I see some people confidently screaming the lyrics to "Cuffing Season" in their car, at a stop light someday, I'll know I did my job.
If you can have your music featured on any show or movie, what would it be and why?
Hands down, Insecure. At one point the show's phenomenal music supervisor and general music legend Raphael Saadiq was following me on one of my social media accounts, and I just about died because his ears are freaking amazing.
A few years ago, you lost someone incredibly close to you, your grandmother. Do you find it easier to work from a place of vulnerability or do you need time to sort your feelings first? If so, why or why not?
I am compelled to write about something as soon as I feel it. If I wait too long, the intensity of the feeling is lost and the lyrics get too analytical. In that way, my music acts like a personal diary and also a form of therapy for me. I wrong a song called "Jewel" for my grandmother right after she passed, about taking it for granted that should always be around, forgetting to pray for her instead of praying for careers success, and the guilt that comes with that. I never released it, but I might someday.
Aside from being a well-rounded singer, songwriter, and producer, you are very much into God and faith. What new thing does God have you doing in 2018?
Stepping outside of my box, regardless of how people have perceived me in the past, for sure. I am not sure people are really ready lol.
Discuss the impact that God has on your life, both professionally and personally.
I am a big proponent of prayer, as a means of communication, and also a force to center myself. I also see a lot of things in dreams before they actually happen. In that way, I feel like God keeps me consistently grounded and prepared for whatever life has to through my ways. It's a very humbling thing.
Are there new avenues you are hoping to explore, if so, how do you plan on getting there?
Well, Iʼm finally stepping out as a producer for other people. I have been singing since 4 and writing songs since I was about 8, but I started producing much later, like towards the end of high school/beginning of college. So Iʼve always been a little insecure about producing for others. But I've really been honing my craft as a producer and now I'm working with a couple of outside artists.
When you are not busy crafting your next song, what do you like to do for fun?
I love watching movies and going to the museum. Art is hugely inspiring to me, so I'm most at peace when surrounded by various forms of art.
If you weren't making, writing, and producing music, what would you want to do instead?
I would either be a video director or own my own marketing firm. They're kind of the same thing lowkey.
Lastly, what's one Bible verse that gets you through and how do you /apply it to your everyday life?
Philippians 4:13. Every time I feel afraid, I think about that verse and as my mom would say, "Do it afraid." I always feel like if I'm not at least a teeny bit afraid, then I'm not aiming high enough. I can't grow if I'm too comfortable.
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