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Q&A: We chat to R&B talent, ARIG

Interview by Molly McKew //  Ahead of the release of her debut EP Attrition, we chat to talented vocalist ARIG about the story behind her groovin’ new single ‘Mama Said’, the creative process, and her solid advice for young musicians – “be misunderstood.”

Interview by Molly McKew

Hi ARIG! Loving the your new track Mama Said [click to listen!] – very groovin tune with some sumptuous vocals! Can you tell us what its about?

First off, thank you very much I really appreciate your kind words!

At the time I wrote this record, I was having a really, really hard time with myself. I was an emotionally dysfunctional person. I was stuck in this cycle handed down to me by the person I loved most. I was drinking a lot, I couldn’t hold down a job, I was in and out of a very unstable and unsupportive relationship with my family and the same with a romantic partner and it caused so much discomfort. I wasn’t happy, I didn’t trust myself which was confusing and painful.

Around this time I naturally started making changes, such as leaving my relationship, which was a full on experience in itself. I started questioning myself and my decisions in life. I became very sad because I could see the mess and turbulence of my childhood spilling over into my adult life. Which lead my to start blaming myself and my mother. Thus Mama Said was born.

And from reading your bio, it seems you had a tumultuous childhood – and your music was a way of finding your way through this – tell us about this writing process.

I’ve always been a writer. I was an only child until I was 9 so, I spent a lot of time in my room spending hours and hours just writing and singing. Thinking back, I feel as though that was what writing was for me, escape.

I realised I always told the truth when I was writing, I could always figure myself out through my writing. I wrote so much as a kid that now, I no longer really need to. Now I truly trust myself in my artistic ability, because all the time I spent in solitude as a child, I just hear a beat and I run with it, letting everything out.

When did you start singing, and who inspired you as a kid?

I was young when I fell in love with singing like 5 or 6. My mother was a very young mum and she loved R’n’B and pop. She would  listen to ‘Boys to Men’, ‘Jagged Edge’, ‘Whitney Houston’, ‘Toni Braxton’, ‘Michael Jackson’. I still remember when Alicia Keys came out, I was like 10 and I loved her. As a child you don’t have much choice, you live your parents life.

So I fell in love with that (RnB Pop) genre of music, but, as I grew up I got to experience and explore different genres and style of music. All the songs, artists and musicians that inspired me the most were those who really let themselves be connected with their emotions and allowed themselves to be uninhibited.

Can you tell us about some of your first experiences performing live? Were you nervous?

I was like 14 and two of my girlfriends and we decided to perform acapella, I’m pretty sure it was a song I wrote too. We got called up and one of my friends absolutely choked. Nada, nothing came out of her mouth, I think she may have stopped breathing as well, hahahaha. So, I sang her part as well. And of course I was nervous. I still do get nervous, all the time but I can work well under pressure, I like it.

There’s been heaps of debate in the past couple of years about what we can do to make the music industry a safer and more positive space for women. Do you find there are particular challenges being a woman, and a person of colour, in the music industry at the moment or are you finding it to be mostly supportive?

This is my honest opinion on the matter. If you do not enjoy the sex or colour that your body inhabits, you will face challenge after challenge. But if you accept yourself wholly and uncompromising, you will be unaware of challenges that may come your way in the music industry and or with life itself.  

I also love being a woman, and a woman of colour, it is a gift and not a target for outside forces to challenge me.

You have probably learnt a lot in the last few years while getting your music out there! What advice would you tell young women looking to get into writing and performing their own music?

  1. Never question yourself. But if you do, answer yourself from your heart.
  2. Be unapologetic.
  3. Don’t be afraid when you have to let go of people while you are on you mission.
  4. Be misunderstood.  
  5. Love your craft, fall in love your lyrics and your mission.

And looking back, what advice would you give your 14 year-old self?

Love yourself more. Love yourself, fiercely. Forgive yourself more often.

What are your plans for the next couple of years?

I’ve got some big plans for my career. But, right now I’m just focusing on releasing my Ep ‘Attrition’, the upcoming launch for “Attrition” as well on Friday, April 27 and just releshing all that comes with it.


Attend the EP launch: Here is the Facebook event, and you can purchase tickets here

Listen to ‘Attrition’ on Soundcloud

Or listen to ARIG on Spotify

[spotifyplaybutton play=”spotify:artist:1RhTEQovIuwNH92e6FpZpj”/]

Molly Mckew

Molly Mckew is a writer and musician from Melbourne. In 2019 she completed a history PhD on the countercultures of the 1960s and 1970s in Melbourne and she has been published in Overland, The Conversation, and Archer magazines.

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