A New York City native, Ariana of Ariana and the Rose has been exposed to all sorts of diverse culture. These cultures contributed to the fiber of her being and her work as an artist. Now extending past music, Ariana is curating an immersive event in Brooklyn at iconic House of Yes next Thursday. Ariana told me she grew up listening to 50s Do Wop music. She says, "I know every word to songs like Wake Up Little Susie and Unchained Melody. We would sing them in the car all the time." As she grew up Ariana began to develop a taste of her own. "The first thing I ever purchased for myself was a Robyn tape for the song "Show Me Love." She's my musical obsession to this day," she says. Other musical obsessions include Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp, and M83. She says, "I just fell in love with the sounds of synths. I love how rich they sound. Those artists and that kind of 80s infused sound influenced me as an artist and are also what I love as a listener."
Ariana agrees that, "the attitude of the city shaped who [she is.]" She considers the diversity and different cultures present in New York City are a gift. She is drawn to New York's energy, "I always liken the city to an energizer battery, it always fills me back up. The fiber of who I am as an artist is definitely that I'm a New Yorker. I say it exactly how I feel it, when I'm feeling it, for better or for worse." This event seems to be a testament to that, bringing in all of her visual inspirations and music into one event in such a New York venue.
Watch the trailer here:
Ariana has always been a performer. "Oh, I was in those dance classes loving life from when I was 3!" she expressed. She says that dancing made her feel free and that she was in love with it. That love translated to the freeing feeling of being on stage. She says, "Sometimes it's just fun to put the mic on the stand and dance." Though Ariana did perform a little bit recreationally before her career began, she says, "I segued into working professionally pretty young but that core feeling has never changed." It's definitely evident in Ariana's performance that she's taken by her passion to perform. She started writing music around age 14 or 15, but didn't pursue it professionally till after college. She said that she was writing for other people when she felt the urge to start writing for herself. She took matters into her own hands by putting a band together and performing around New York.
Ariana was a drama major at NYC and studied immersive and devised theater there. Immersive theatre has gained popularity since the successful attraction "Sleep No More" opened years ago. " I fell in love with the way that kind of work resonated with an audience," Ariana says of immersive theater. Though she transitioned to music full time, Ariana still enjoyed attending immersive theater shows and soon later found the way she could make her two worlds meet. "The aesthetic of the event, this futuristic, galactic disco, is based off of my own artistry and music project but is a much larger world for an audience to step inside of," she says hinting at what the sensational evening might contain. Ariana thinks that this sort of 360 degree experience is what audiences are crazing commenting on how quickly people process information these days. "Creating live entertainment that fully allows people to let go of their every day lives is getting harder and harder," she says, "360 experiences are a way for people to put down their phones and really lose themselves in another world. It a new way to open up an audience and change how they interact with live performances." In my opinion, this makes theater more accessible to someone who may not be entirely comfortable with traditional theater-going.
Ariana is on fire, curating epic events, and getting her music heard all over the world and is currently unsigned. Her independent success is stunning, so I had to know her secret. "[I] really believe in building a foundation for yourself as much as you can." She says it's as simple as creating things that you love and finding the people who believe in what you created. It takes time, but it will happen. The first step of her process is creating the music and the performance, "always feels like the last piece of the puzzle to me." She says, "I make music and a show to ultimately give it away, sharing it all with an audience is the reason for making everything for me. Feeling their energy and seeing how the songs move a room is so much fun and also so informative as an artist."
At the heart of it, light + space is about creating a space for people to feel transported from whatever is going on in their lives, whether that's for a moment or hours. The show is equal parts immersive theater, a live concert and a party, all set in a galactic disco with cosmic characters. It's going to be such a fun night and filled with a ton of glitter.What's next for you?
I'm so excited to be apart of Cyndi Lauper's Home for the Holidays Christmas show at the Beacon Theater on Dec 9th. The line up is amazing and all the ticket proceeds go to her True Colors Fund. And then next year I've got some new music coming out and we're planning on more light + space's, it's a really exciting time.
Anie Delgado is a contributor to Popdust and is an actress and musician based in NYC. Follow her on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter and check out her music on Spotify.
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