Hi Arizona, thanks for chatting today! Let’s start off with your latest single “Worth the Fight,” tell us a little about this song.
My new track “Worth the Fight” is a song dedicated to National Suicide Prevention Month and features the legendary Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of RunDMC. I have done a lot of versatile work as an artist, but to write a pop-country song with the King of Rock on it, is an entirely new level of everything I know. I have been both humbled and incredibly grateful.
My good friend and previous advisor Brimstone introduced me to Darryl last year. D and I instantly bonded over our value and passion for mental health advocacy. After learning we both share a past of struggling with suicide ideation, it became almost obvious that this is what we needed to write an anthem for- suicide prevention. I decided in this moment that the song would be the perfect bonus track to my recent concept album “The Process”; an album about going through life-changing trauma and entering the trauma recovery process (dropped April 9th of this past year)!
To write this track, I got together with the co-producer of my recent album, L*A*W (notorious for his work with Amy Winehouse and George Clinton). Him and I wrote “Worth the Fight” by pulling direct lines and quotes from my old journal entries, art works, and therapy assignments related to the subject. Less than a week after writing the track, L*A*W, Matthew Slider, and myself, all went into production together. We recorded the track at AudioWorkstations on Long Island with Slider functioning as both a co-producer and tracking/mixing engineer.
I write music for me, but I produce the music I write for others. My hope is to encourage those struggling with suicidal ideation (or any other mental health challenge) to identify with hope and aspiration. I hope this specific track helps all listeners hear the significance of pursuing the love, support, and recovery that they are unquestionably worth.
Here is a link to learn more about this track!
What is your writing and production process like?
The writing and production processes often happen at different times but certainly share the same values. The most important thing behind every song is the story and message of the writer.
What is the writer communicating about the story 2. What is the writer(s) communicating to the audience? So, regardless of what part of the process you are in, the integrity of the storyline and message from the writer should always be upheld.
Some things I ask myself throughout these processes are: is each instrument carrying a part of the overall storyline? How can I support the different parts of the storyline/message in the sonics, velocities, or added effects? Is the vocal performance in the studio congruent to the emotion that is trying to be communicated? In all, from the very first words or script of music written on a page, all the way to the mixing process, I work hard to hold the values of the song close to my decision-making. This makes the overall process of writing and producing both exciting, challenging, and cathartic.
As a very visual person, I personally LOVE the metaphor of building puzzles- especially when it comes to writing and production. Writing is putting together (and designing) all the pieces that make up the border. It is also determining what the overall picture theme will be; what colors and shapes you will likely use throughout the creation of the puzzle. The border is the foundation that production will stand on. And sometimes, it may even be changed by the production process if it helps better shape the message/narrative
I do think it’s important that everyone who is helping create a project all knows what the border consists of so they can help follow that theme! This is something me and my team go over in preproduction so we can all be working towards filling in the same space (and get a feel for each person’s ideas of what to do with it! I love both processes and getting to be in the studio every day with different personalities, artists, and writers. It is a beautiful and cathartic process from begging to end.
Was there a moment of clarity in your life when you realized you wanted to pursue music seriously?
In the summer of 2019, two weeks after winning the Your Big Break Competition in NY, I was emergency hospitalized for suicide. At the hospital, I was diagnosed with a trauma disorder called Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was transferred to a hospital that specialized in trauma and dissociative disorders halfway across the country. I found myself writing a lot about the process of going from trauma into trauma recovery. Later on after leaving the hospital, I selected 10 songs I had written about this to record. These are the 10 songs you can now hear on my album “The Process”.
While trauma recovery and CPTSD recovery is an ongoing (and sometimes lifelong) process, writing has, to this day, given me a way to process and live with it all. It’s given me a way to separate the past from the present.
When I returned back to graduate school that semester, I realized that my entire life had only ever been trauma and survival. (Even if I never “coded” it that way when it was happening). So, I decided to live the most fulfilling life I could- that means doing what I love most regardless of whether I think I’m am good enough or deserving of it. I decided to focus on music full-time and give myself the space to nurture my music career. And while there were many things I did in my music career before that moment, that was the first time I realized this is was I am meant to do and I AM worth doing it. The only way I have ever known how to make sense of what I have been through is to keep helping other people through it. Because it does get better and every single person suffering deserves to learn that.
Who inspired you in your music sound?
I think my music has a unique sound- which I think is a result of having such a diverse love for so many artists and genres. My inspiration ranges from 50s music (especially Frank Sinatra) to Taylor Swift and Alanis Morissette! My most recent album “The Process” has sound inspirations from Taylor Swift, Alanis Morissette, Sarah McLachlan, and Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts. I am also greatly inspired by Lady Gaga, Shania Twain, Kelly Clarkson, Faith Hill, Ariana Grande, and many other amazing pop babes!
Who’s music is inspiring your sound right now?
There are SO many artists that inspire me every day to keep on writing and producing. At this very moment in time, I would say I am very inspired by Taylor Swift’s new albums (including her re-releases) and Christina Aguilera (I have been watching her course on Master Class and I’m in LOVE).
Has the pandemic changed your attitude on performing? Are you excited to do more live performances again?
When the pandemic first started happening, I switched gears quickly from performing weekly to recording my album “The Process”. Being in the studio every day, writing and producing, I realized that is where I belong and love to be. But I also used this time to start dancing again, picking up my other instruments (that I hadn’t played in a long while) like clarinet and trumpet, and began crafting my stage presence through practice and video/viewing feedback. I will say, now that live music is back and I am performing regularly again, I realized how much I have missed it! I am excited about performing more now than ever.
Thanks for answering our questions today Arizona! Where can we find your music online?
Thank you for having me! It has truly been my pleasure! Here are some links but you can find me on almost any social media and music streaming platform!
End of Interview