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Artist Spotlight

Exclusive Interview With Ara aka Arasound, An American Singer, Songwriter and Producer From Philadelphia

Ara’s journey as a solo vocal artist, songwriter, and producer. She started at a very young age. An interesting quote from a family member, “Ara was singing before she could talk. She used to take her tape recorder everywhere, even slept with it.” She became obsessed with sound, singing, and recording, writing her first song at the age of 10 and performing publicly as a teenager. As a teen, she also acquired her first multitrack recorder and from that point, there was no turning back. She began to lay down tracks and develop her sonic visions. “I realized I could create a world or an experience for the listener. Music became a transporter or time machine.  Ara graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Music and a B.S. in Electronic Media from Kutztown University.  Later she began performing in her hometown which led to her touring nationally via the collegiate circuit.

Time spent living abroad gave her a refreshing new perspective on life, music, and writing. This sojourn increased her appetite to create something that embodied the feeling, heart, and soul of the Mediterranean and the ancient world. Now, based out of Hollywood, she continues performing, writing, and collaborating with notable DJs and Producers adding her voice and musical insight to some amazing new EDM tracks. She developed a passion for mixing and spinning over the years and is now performing every weekend in Los Angeles. (DJing or Singing)

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Establishing herself as a powerhouse performer with a strong following and clear vision, she continues to blaze the trail of an independent female artist with an unyielding dedication to her craft. Perpetually challenging herself artistically to create innovative “sound experiences” for the listener to enjoy. Wrapped in a foundation of spirituality, talent, heart, the power of her voice and music inspire audiences and bring joy to listeners everywhere. This artist’s journey has just begun.

Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

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Ara – I had always loved music and singing. In high school, I was singing every day in my room and a friend invited me to perform at the end-of-year concert for our High School.

I accepted thinking we would be performing as a duo since I had never performed publicly before. The song we were doing was “Can’t Live If Living is Without You” by Mariah Carey. By a strange twist of fate, my friend was unable to do the show and there I was doing a Mariah Carey Solo in front of the entire school. It was a life-defining moment.

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I gave it my all even though my knees were shaking, but something extraordinary happened. I did what I loved doing most in the world and the audience was moved as much as I was. We were in that moment together as one and it was the greatest feeling ever had in my life. For weeks, I had students and teachers coming up to me saying how much the performance and my voice touched them or triggered them emotionally. I knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

 

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Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

Ara – In college, I had the chance to compose and perform a song for the daughters of Oliver Brown, the man who took his case to the Supreme Court, Brown v Board of Education, the landmark case which led to the desegregation of schools. It was such an immense honor. The song was called “Warrior” it was about humankind’s ancient connection to the sacred and magical and how we are in a war to preserve it. They appreciated the song so much that they wanted to put the lyrics on a memorial stone in Topeka Kansas commemorating their father’s victory.

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Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

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Ara –  It wasn’t funny at the time, but I was doing a showcase in Atlanta for one of the collegiate conventions. I had a small mixer on top of my keyboard for my performance in front of about 800 students. Right before I was going on, the act that was up before me bumped into my keyboard and the mixer fell to the floor. When it was my time to start my segment, we had no connection for vocals or keyboard. Luckily, the sound guys rushed in and fixed the issue, but the momentum was pretty much flat after that intro. I learned to always use electrical tape to secure every piece of equipment on stage. Also, to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches anyway. They don’t say the show must go on for nothing lol.

 

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What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Ara – Right now I’m excited about some new original songs that I’ve been writing. I have been so deep in performance for so long, but Co-vid made me stop and take a look at how I haven’t been creating like I want to. I’m also doing some vocals for a Philadelphia-based DJ/Producer Jeff Rush, an English Remix of a Russian Trance Hit. I’d also like to collaborate on another track with Swiss Based Producer Steve Sanders with whom I worked a few years ago and our track was signed to an EDM label in Thailand.

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Finally, I just launched my Patreon which is a website that artists can join and provide perks for their biggest supporters, not just musicians, but painters, illustrators everything.

I’m super excited because I’ll have more interaction with my fan base that I’ve built over the years and the community is mutually beneficial.

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Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

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Ara – I’ve really come in contact with some fascinating, interesting, crazy characters over the years. Both celebrity and unknown. Probably one of the most impactful meetings I had was at the beginning of my career. I was working as an audio engineer at a small production company in Allentown PA. I’m originally from Wyomissing, PA which is about an hour north of Philadelphia. One of the projects I was working on was editing a radio promo for a wrestling school in the area owned by Afa Anoa’i who was part of the “Wild Samoans” in the WWF. So one day, Afa’s Nephew, Dwayne Johnson who graduated from Liberty High School in Allentown,  flew in to do a promo and we were filming him. His presence was awesome, you could feel this immense, dynamic energy when he walked into the room. I took a photo with him and stepped on his shoe because I get clumsy when nervous lol. He was very gracious and kind about it. Seeing how someone could come from our area and reach the levels of success he did, but also how down to earth he was to fly in and support his family left a huge impact on me ever since.

 

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Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Ara – Try to keep a steady pace, but know when to pull back to rest and regenerate. I’ve always been a very intense achiever and it got to a point where I wasn’t even enjoying my accomplishments. Just focused on the next. It almost took me to the point of a breakdown so you have to pace yourself. If you don’t have your health, you won’t be making music, performing, or anything so remember health is wealth.

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Can you share with our readers any self-care routines, practices, or treatments that you do to help your body, mind, or heart to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each? 

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Ara – I like to do morning mediations to attain a positive mindset. Your morning mentality sets the stage for the rest of your day. Gratitude is one of the most powerful forces on earth, every morning I either make a list in my mind or in my journal of all the things I’m grateful for. I also try to get to the gym as much as possible. I take lots of supplements & vitamins. I also try to keep Sunday as a day to relax my mind and regenerate.

 

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What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

Ara –

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  1. Don’t compare yourself to others. You’re on a path of your own.
  2. No one knows your full potential except you.
  3. Don’t listen to naysayers, they will try to define you by their own limitations.
  4. Just because it didn’t happen overnight, doesn’t mean it won’t happen, be patient with yourself and your journey.
  5. The people you spend the most time with will reflect who you are and who you will be. Choose wisely.

 

Can you please give us your favorite  “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life? 

Ara – There are a few. I think one of my favorites lately is “ You don’t need to understand my magic. I do”

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I spent a lot of my early life people-pleasing and I think it’s really important, especially for artists to know their own worth and value regardless of the opinions of others. At the end of the day, you have to look in the mirror and be happy with who you see. Inside and out.

 

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None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Ara – My Dad and Mom have been so supportive over the years. My Dad always told me to “do what you love and follow your dream.”  He would always say, ”I just want you to be happy.” Their belief in me was a real strength along the way. I’m grateful every day for them.

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You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

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Ara – I’m actually starting an artist community via Patreon to bring lovers of music, art, and like-minded individuals together to spread unity. I feel if people could unite under noble purposes, instead of greed, the world could be Heaven on Earth. Unfortunately, some of the powers that be are terrified of that happening so they will continue their divide and conquer tactics. Hopefully, someday we’ll be able to see through their manipulations. I’m also passionate about increasing awareness of Domestic Violence, which is an epidemic that is continuously pushed under the rug and unacknowledged by the media and society as a whole. Women are killed every day in this country by their domestic partners and you never even hear about it. It needs to be put under the spotlight.

 

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We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

Ara – I would have to say, Bjork, as an artist she really pushed the limitations of what music and sound can be. Growing up she changed my perspectives of what a “song” is and how the possibilities of the Sonicare realm are endless. She kind of freed me as a writer. I don’t think she ever cared what anyone thought about her or her music, she just had a burning desire to create and manifest those incredibly unique pieces.

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How can our readers follow you online?

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Ara – you can follow Ara on IG – @Arasound

www.Arasound.com

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https://www.patreon.com/Aranation

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Artist Spotlight

Richard Lynch Sticks to Tradition on Biographical “Right Where He Ought to Be”

“Right Where He Ought to Be”, like much of Richard Lynch’s work, is deeply rooted in traditional country music, often celebrating the simplicity of rural life, hard work, and strong family values. “Right Where He Ought to Be” continues this tradition, with its narrative (about Hollywood stuntman, Kim Kahana) focusing on finding contentment and a sense of belonging in one’s life choices and circumstances. The title itself suggests a story of realization and acceptance, reflecting on the journey of an individual who has discovered their place in the world—whether it be through returning to their roots, embracing their current life stage, or finding peace in their personal or professional life.

The song narrates the life of Kim Kahana, who, from a young age, walked across the country alone to make California his home. With only a third-grade education and having survived the Great Depression, he joins the military to fight in Korea, where he is captured and nearly killed. Displaying remarkable courage, he escapes death by faking his death and escaping. After the war, he returns to California, aspiring to work in the film industry. Starting as a stuntman, he eventually becomes a revered figure in Hollywood, teaching others for over 70 years.

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Key messages include the power of belief in oneself, the importance of perseverance, and the idea that it’s never too late to find where you belong.

Richard Lynch stands out in the country music scene for his steadfast dedication to the traditional country sound, characterized by its storytelling, emotional honesty, and connection to rural life and blue-collar experiences. “Right Where He Ought to Be” is a reflection of these core themes, encapsulating the essence of what Lynch’s music represents.

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Comparing “Right Where He Ought to Be” to the rest of Lynch’s discography, several key similarities and distinctions emerge:

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  1. Thematic Continuity: Lynch’s songs frequently explore themes of love, loyalty, hard work, and the importance of roots and heritage. “Right Where He Ought to Be” aligns with these themes, likely offering a narrative that celebrates finding one’s place and peace in life, a recurring motif in his work.
  2. Musical Style: Lynch is known for his commitment to traditional country instrumentation and arrangements, shying away from the pop-influenced sounds that dominate modern country. This song, like much of his work, features classic country instruments such as steel guitar, fiddle, and acoustic guitar, creating a sound that is both nostalgic and timeless.
  3. Authenticity and Personal Connection: One of Lynch’s strengths is his ability to draw from his own life experiences, giving his music an authentic and relatable quality. Whether “Right Where He Ought to Be” is autobiographical or inspired by the stories of others, it maintains this personal touch, connecting with listeners through shared experiences and emotions.
  4. Evolution and Consistency: While maintaining a consistent sound, Lynch also shows evolution in his music, exploring various facets of country life and personal introspection. This song represents a deeper, more reflective side of Lynch, offering insights into his personal philosophy or life journey while still fitting comfortably within his established musical identity.

Overall, “Right Where He Ought to Be” serves as both a continuation of and a unique entry in Richard Lynch’s discography. It showcases his strengths as a traditional country artist while offering listeners a potentially new perspective on finding one’s place in the world. As with all of Lynch’s music, the song  resonates with those who appreciate country music’s ability to tell stories that are deeply human and profoundly relatable.

Other suggestions for similar themes and exploration would include Johnny Cash, for his storytelling in songs like “A Boy Named Sue,” which also explores themes of identity and destiny. and films about Hollywood’s golden era, such as “La La Land,” for its exploration of dreams, success, and the allure of the silver screen.

–Roger Newsome

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Artist Spotlight

Bill Abernathy Shines on Personal Journey of Growth on “More” (Single Review)

Bill Abernathy’s work often delves into themes of personal growth, the passage of time, and the quest for meaning beyond the material world. His storytelling approach gives voice to the universal human experience, using personal anecdotes to touch on larger truths.

The title of his latest single release, “More” suggests a yearning for something beyond the present, perhaps a deeper connection, understanding, or a sense of fulfillment that material possessions or societal achievements cannot provide. Abernathy’s music typically encourages listeners to reflect on their own lives, questioning what truly matters and urging an exploration of one’s values and desires.

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“More” invites listeners on a reflective journey, prompting them to consider what they are seeking more of in their own lives. The song explores themes of love, connection, freedom, or personal fulfillment, all wrapped in Abernathy’s signature folk-infused sound.

The lyrics delve deeply into themes of longing, connection, and the quest for something profound beyond the superficial layers of relationships and self-perception. The repetition of “more than” throughout the song serves as a powerful literary device, emphasizing the singer’s deep yearning for a connection that transcends the ordinary—seeking a love and understanding that goes beyond the physical and the fleeting moments to touch something eternal and true.

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The lyrics explore the internal conflict and vulnerability of opening up to such a profound level of connection. The mention of “facing these feelings I fear to explore” and “exposing my weakness” speaks to the courage it takes to confront one’s own vulnerabilities and the fear of rejection or loss that often accompanies such openness. This vulnerability is juxtaposed with a longing for a connection that is “more than just friends, more than just lovers,” suggesting a desire for a deep, soulful bond that surpasses conventional relationship labels and experiences.

The repeated references to “searching,” “journey,” and “exploring the shadows” illustrate the internal and external quests for meaning, understanding, and connection in life. These themes resonate with the universal human experience of seeking something greater than ourselves, something that gives life depth and meaning beyond the surface level.

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“More” also touches on the idea of loss and healing, with lines like “more than the bridges I burned as I crossed” and “more than the scars disguising my heart,” indicating a history of pain and the struggle to move beyond past hurts towards a more meaningful and fulfilling connection.

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The song’s exploration of these themes invites listeners to reflect on their own lives, relationships, and inner desires. It challenges the notion of what love can be and encourages a deeper, more introspective look at how we connect with others and what we truly seek in those connections.

The emotional depth and lyrical complexity of “More” make it a poignant meditation on love, vulnerability, and the human condition’s eternal search for something greater than ourselves. It’s a call to explore the depths of our hearts and to dare to imagine and strive for a connection that transcends the ordinary.

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In the realm of music, the song “More” is a delightful celebration of the quintessential elements of folk and Americana genres. It’s expertly adorned with the charming notes of an acoustic guitar, the rhythmic beats of drums, and the melodic tones of a piano, all coming together in a harmonious blend. The guitar is gently strummed, creating a soothing hum that is both comforting and inviting.

This musical symphony is further accentuated by the subtle touches of percussive elements that play in the background, providing an enchanting canvas for Abernathy’s vocals to shine. His voice is warm, intimate, and drenched in sincerity, perfectly capturing the essence of the song’s introspective nature.

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“More” is a song that takes you on an emotional journey, evoking feelings of nostalgia and introspection. It’s a reflective piece that prompts a melancholic mood, bringing forth a sense of depth and thoughtfulness. However, despite its somber undertones, there’s an undeniable charm and cheerfulness to it, making it a joy to listen to. It’s a true testament to the beauty of folk and Americana music, a delightful auditory experience that’s sure to leave listeners feeling touched and moved.

-Jason Spezza

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