Singer-songwriter Nicole Ariana has had a hugely successful year. Aside from the release of her EP, STRAND and being nominated for Electronic Recording of the Year at this year’s ECMAs, she’s had her music featured on OVO Sound Radio, an Apple Music radio show by Drake’s label OVO Sound. We had the pleasure of chatting with Nicole about the creative process behind her audio-visual EP, and what’s coming next for her.
INTERVIEW WITH ECMA NOMINEE NICOLE ARIANA
How would you describe your music?
Depends on the song! Sometimes it’s more sultry R&B, sometimes it’s more electronic pop, and it used to be more hip-hop influenced for sure – I would say electronic pop R&B overall.
Can you tell us about your creative process for STRAND?
There’s three acts. Act one is called Infatuation, Act two is called Disillusionment, and Act three is called Longing. The concept behind it is the arc of a relationship starting and ending and there are videos for all three songs. It’s kind of a sad project.
What were the challenges with making a three-act audio-visual project?
You want to be cohesive with something that small – you want it to make sense. I had the two songs from Eric (Dingus), and I wanted to find a third song that would fit and tie it up nicely. It was tricky for a while, thinking about how I was going to put this small project together but I knew I wanted to release the songs very much. One night after I had written the song which ended up being Act three: Longing (Still), I realized the three songs all summarized a concept of love beginning and ending. I decided to incorporate the idea of “acts” and definitions to explain each song or phase of the relationship and that was that. The visuals were fun to make and each have their own unique vibe but also fit well alongside each other – that was a bit tough to do with little to no budget, but my friends/collaborators Jeff Miller and Ian Kean did a great job helping me bring them to life.
We are thrilled to premiere the brand new video for Act Three: Longing. Watch it below!
You worked with Eric Dingus (Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late) on this record.
Yeah! Two of the songs were produced by him. I’ve been featured on OVO Sound Radio three times with Eric which was really awesome. Long before STRAND, I actually met him through Twitter. I used to write for Hip Hop Canada, and I came across one of his projects. I reached out to him to collaborate on an EP, and he invited me down to Texas and I slept in his living room for two months. He sent me a bunch of his instrumentals and I would vibe out and record ideas over them and then we would record. Those songs ended up being Act one and two, as well as “Houston” with Dowrong, “I’m Yours” with Bishop Light, and the songs on OVO Radio and his other mixes. It was a really special time in Austin with Eric and all of the Dream Sequence Records family. I can’t wait to go back soon.
For STRAND, I also worked with Drew the Architect, who’s part of a collective called Team Sesh. I found one of his tracks on SoundCloud and couldn’t help but write to it. I sent it to him and he was feeling it so he sent me the wav and it became Act three!
Is there going to be a second part to this project?
I don’t think so. The story kind of ended in Act three. But I’m sure Eric and I will release more music at some point. The current project I’m working on is a bit less ethereal and vocally manipulated. I love the sound that we were able to create with STRAND, but it was very much born of our collaboration and styles combining. My current project I’m working on is more structured, dark Alt pop-RnB. (Coming soon!)
Does this album come from personal experience for you?
For sure, it was inspired by something that I went through. It’s good that it’s behind me now, but it definitely helped in the creation of this and shaped a part of who I am now.
How does it feel to be nominated for an ECMA?
It feels awesome! It’s crazy. I’ve been aware of the ECMAs since I was a little kid. I actually sang at the awards show one year with my school choir. This feels like a huge accomplishment. I’ve seen so many people I admire go this route, and I hope this means bigger and better things.
Do you connect with a lot of electronic artists here?
Yeah! I definitely try to collaborate and work with people who are in the same genre. On the east coast, there’s a lot of pop, folk and rock. ECMA and Music Nova Scotia has been really stepping it up with hip hop and electronic artists the past few years, we’re getting much more representation and opportunity.
You’re going to be a part of the ECMA Breakout Mentorship program. What are you looking forward to most with that?
I’m really excited to be a part of it, it feels great to be recognized this way. I get to share the stage with such a diverse group of people genre-wise.
What do you have coming up this year?
A new single with a video called “Bad For Me”. That will be coming out in the next couple of months and followed by lots more new music and content. I really hope people like it!
MORE FROM NICOLE ARIANA
Soundcloud: Nicole Ariana Music
Facebook: Nicole Ariana Music