ARI is a singer/songwriter based in LA and Toronto, with a sound that channels stress or pain into art and beauty.
Photography by Bradford Hunter Wray and Corey Mandel.
Art design by Kurt Firla.
We interviewed the talented ARI and discovered more about her daily process and inspirations.
Where is home?
I’m bicoastal. I’ve been going back and forth from Toronto (where I was born) and Los Angeles for the past 2 years.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Honestly, every day is a bit different because I make my own schedule. I have one life in Toronto and another in LA. In LA I’m doing writing sessions all week, hair and makeup jobs, and playing shows. In Toronto I work as a mortgage agent as well so I can pay the bills. It enables me to travel back and forth to LA so I can focus my energy on music. I also play cover shows in TO and do hair and makeup for photo sessions. Right now my days are like this: wake up at 9 or 10 am, eat and emails, Uber to a session, make magic all day with talented people, come home to do some more work, then rinse and repeat 😉
Has music always been your career plan?
No, actually. As a kid, I wanted to be an Olympic figure skater who skated to her own music! Haha, I had high hopes. I was in a pop group from age 13-17. We toured and did some cool things for a young group, but it wasn’t my style of music. I saw a lot of the ugliness in the music industry at that time, and it gave me a sour taste about going into music as a career. After we broke up, I took a break for a few years. It wasn’t until University that I started taking music seriously.
I was a Psychology major (because I needed to know why people are crazy lol) and ended up in the music building. I went from wanting to be a sports psychologist to marketing, then my heart led me back to music again. Now I am here for good and am never turning back!
The Fox Magazine is all about inspiration, what/who inspires you the most?
Honestly, I find inspiration in almost everything: the stories I hear, the news, issues I go through, or problems friends have – anything real inspires me. Writing songs is like storytelling. The most inspiring stories for me are ones that involve struggle and resilience. Artists like Sia really inspire me because she is a fantastic songwriter AND an amazing artist. Her career is one that I constantly reference and aspire to have. Artists like Grimes really inspire me too because she does it all writes her music, sings, produces it, plays instruments, and directs her music videos. I love when artists are completely immersed in their work because it oozes authenticity that I can actually connect to, which I think it missing from a lot of pop music these days.
How much has your style changed since you started doing music?
Name a few artists would you love to do a song with and why?
SIA SIA SIA. The end. We all know why.
What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Hmmmmm….I peed my pants in class in 4th grade and put an apple juice box next to the puddle on the floor so the juice could take the blame. I had to wear my jacket around my waist the entire day because I was too embarrassed to tell anyone!! I actually have TONS of embarrassing stories. So many that my best friend uses my stories when asked to hear an embarrassing story of hers.
What’s your best advice for aspiring musicians?
Write from your heart and be yourself. No one else can be you and that is a beautiful thing. Don’t be afraid for people to see your weaknesses – flaws make us human and most artists, and people, are not perfect. Embrace what makes you unique and channel it into your music. People will connect to it! Also, be patient! Nothing happens overnight. A lot of artists get jaded and feel like their banging their head against a wall… Remember that most successful people put years and loads of energy into their art before they get any recognition.
If your first single isn’t a hit, don’t sweat it, just keeping making more music and work with people that inspire you. I don’t have the answers, but I just try to be as honest as possible with my music and create new material non-stop.
She has recently started learning a bit of production and while a lot of her sound comes from a dark place, but also makes sure to write some lighthearted tunes because balance is key.
Follow her journey!