Photography and interview by Christopher Brown
We sat down with Toronto based singer-songwriter ARI to talk about her new EP, growing as an artist and what her fans can expect next from her.
Congrats on the release of Kiss Me, Kill Me! Can you tell us what inspired you to create a Halloween-themed EP?
I wanted to create something that was a bit darker than my previous releases. After writing and recording my song “Murderer”, I loosely suggested that it would be cool to release it around Halloween. It’s my absolute favourite holiday and I go all out every year, so I figured what better way to celebrate than with my very own Halloween EP.
Speaking of “Murderer”, the lyrics describe the death of a love at the hands of your ex. How do you tap into your more personal emotions and experiences when writing music?
In this specific case, the story behind “Murderer” was very much prominently on my mind at the time of writing it. The song was my saving grace – it genuinely helped me work through all of those messy, heartbroken feelings I had been struggling with. Tapping into those raw emotions can be scary and liberating at the same time. I think it’s important to share that honesty with the world. As an artist, that’s something I always strive to do. It’s crazy how much music can change you; not only writing it, but just listening can positively affect your whole outlook on things. I’ll always be grateful to “Murderer” for that.
The EP also features a rendition of the iconic song “I Put A Spell On You”. Why did you decide to cover that song in particular?
I’ve been a Halloween fanatic for ages, so when we came up with the idea to have one of the three songs be a rendition of a Halloween classic, I jumped at the chance. I had a couple of songs on my life of covers that I thought about doing. “I Put A Spell On You” and “This Is Halloween” were pretty much tied for first place. However, when it came down to it, “I Put A Spell On You” held a stronger place in my heart. I was lucky enough to get the rights to do an official cover. I can only hope I do my childhood favourite Halloween song justice.
“The more time that passes, the more I grow into who I really want ARI to be.”
Earlier this year, you released your debut EP IDIOT GRL. How would you say you’ve grown as an artist in between both projects?
Although not much time has passed between the two, things in the music world happen at lightning speed. I can definitely say that I’ve become a lot more confident in my writing abilities, which is something I’m really proud of. The more time that passes, the more I grow into who I really want ARI to be. What messages I want to convey; what I want people to take away from my music. As a fairly new artist, I’m going to be doing a lot of growing. I’m just excited to see what time brings.
You’re a Toronto native, but you travel back and forth to LA often – what do you love most about each city?
Toronto is where I grew up and where my family is. It’s the place that has shaped me into who I am, for better or worse. LA, on the other hand, has held both amazing progress and harsh lessons for me when I decided to pursue music as a career. I’m grateful for both cities, because without either I wouldn’t be here today making the music that I love. Toronto will always be home, and LA is where I see myself really growing into myself, both as an artist and a human.
What can fans expect next from you?
I can definitely say that I plan on releasing an album in the next two years. I would also love to start touring as soon as the world opens up again. But for now, I’ll leave you with a stay tuned!
Listen to the EP here
Styling done by www.instagram.com/lisanhoang