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Meet Aria Lanelle

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aria Lanelle.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve been singing since I was four and first heard Whitney Houston sing “I Believe In You And Me’, and writing songs since I was eight, but there’s camcorder footage of me at six months old shimmying in my stroller to whatever was on BET at the time. I’d sing occasionally with my church choir back home in Massachusetts, but after turning a duet into a solo once, I wasn’t quite welcome in the choir stands after that lol. Once I figured out that I was good at both singing and acting, I did musical theater all the way through high school, and I also joined my school choir, did Senior Districts (a classical choir workshop), joined the Boston Children’s Chorus, and kind of finessed my way into becoming an unofficial assistant choir director at my high school. I went to Berklee College of Music on a talent-based scholarship and wound up graduating cum laude.

After graduation, I really got my start when I provided the vocals for Zimmer X Pallace’s “Saturday Love” Remix, which then got picked up by Sony UK and went a little viral on youtube with close to 2 million views, and close to a million streams each on various music platforms. Because of that, a ton of producers from the UK and Paris started contacting me to write and sing on their tracks, so I began to carve out a little niche for myself where I’d basically topline and sing over these fire House songs. Stateside, I was self-releasing a couple of EPs that I had written and produced pretty much all by myself, and I wound up winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest R&B division 1 for my song “Got It Bad”. Listeners often tell me that my music makes them feel the way they feel listening to 90s R&B bangers, especially with the fact that I can sing equally well live, and I’m just like “YES, that’s exactly what I WANT”.

I’m currently working on a new EP that I’m so proud of. It’s full of new energy and new ideas inspired by my actual life experiences, and all tied together with even more fire beats that showcase my growth as a writer and producer. I can’t wait to share it.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road for me. Whether dealing with the death of my grandma, financial struggles leading to me having to work a day job for a while, and just learning more about the business side of the industry–music is never really an easy road, even if you came out the gate having all of these great opportunities. I grew up in a super small (lowkey Puritanical) part of Massachusetts, so as the resident Black girl, I’d just be in my room studying the charts and digging up rare Prince works on Tumblr since there was literally nothing else to do. When I got out of there and jumped into the real world, I definitely experienced a little shock at the fast pace and brutality of the real music industry, so it took me a second to get my bearings and toughen up. So I’d say my biggest challenge has actually been overcoming myself.

Aria Lanelle – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am a triple threat: a singer, songwriter, and producer. I think what makes me unique, especially as a woman, is that I’m equally good at each of those things, and I switch hats depending upon what’s required in the situation. I can deliver a fantastic show with amazing live vocals and energy, but then I can also write a song that rips your heart out. And if I don’t feel like doing either of those things, I will make an infectious beat that gets stuck in your head. Not too many folks are out here doing that, regardless of gender. I’m very proud of those chameleon-like qualities because they put me in my own lane.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career so far has probably been one that’s the least visible. I had just gotten back the full masters of my first EP and was playing them for my grandma, who was towards the end of her battle with cancer. She was listening to the songs and crying because she saw me complete a work from start to finish, and was proud of the work I had done. Later, when I told her I was sad because she wouldn’t get to see me really flourish in my career even though she’d been my ace supporter from the start, she told me “I’ve already seen your success in the Spirit” and we hugged and cried together some more. That moment with my grandma continues to be worth more than any award, clout, or money.

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Image Credit:
Stephanie Larsen, Ajea Nicole, Tamara Soueidan, Katherine Phipps

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