Experimentation is the name of the game for East London-based experimental musician Ariahindream. In her dark and sensuous approach to downtempo electronica, she creates an ethereal otherworldly escape that is dramatic, beautiful, and mysterious.
I had the pleasure of interviewing her and she opened up about her current song, “Selene” as well as her music as a whole. Ariah’s beautiful new song “Selene” her first official release in four years, blends soul-searching trip-hop with elements of jazz, soul, and alternative rock.
Selene, Goddess of the Moon, fell in love with Endymion, a human shepherd in Greek mythology, and the song was named for her.
To keep Endymion from ageing or dying, Selene begged Zeus to give him everlasting slumber so that she may continue to adore him in an immortal form eternally.
It took Ariah’s modest East London home studio to record, produce, and perform Selene, which incorporates drum contributions by Lee Avant (known for producing Grammy-winning artist FKA Twigs).
Ariahindream is a gorgeous and outstanding vocalist, so keep reading to find out more about her.
What is your real and official showbiz name?
My name’s Ornella Hardie. I sing, write, and produce under my moniker Ariahindream. Ariah for short!
How long have you been making music and what attracted you to it?
Hmmm, probably around 15 years now. I wrote secretly for a really long time, mainly stories and poems. Over time they turned into lyrics and eventually, into music. But for a really long time, I was kinda afraid of music.
I think I had this weird idea of what it meant to be a musician, what that should look like, and it got in my way for a really long time. I hated music theory and always got super bored and fidgety whenever I tried to learn traditional instruments. I’ve always written and created by ear, which seems to come most naturally to me.
I think the turning point came when I started learning music production at college. It felt like a revelation to me. Suddenly, I had the ability to record my improvised ideas as they came into my mind and build my songs based on my main instrument- my voice.
I could write melodies and structures by ear, and then programme them as bass, drums, and synth parts. I could record random sounds and samples, anything that I wanted, and turn them into virtual instruments. I was completely in love and absolutely obsessed!
What was your first project and the people you worked with and which year?
My first project was the inDream EP (2016). I wrote it while I was studying music at uni, producing most of it alone in my home studio in East London. There were also collabs and bits and pieces included from jam sessions with some of my old college friends.
It was mixed and mastered by my friend Lee Avant, an incredible musician and sound engineer who works closely with artists like FKA twigs. I’ve never released inDream though. I’ve always felt it was way too vulnerable a record to put out.
Who or what inspires you or motivates you? And why?
I’m really inspired by film music and soundtracks. A lot of my songwriting has been sparked by a random TV show or movie… I’ll hear something and start humming something in response. Record it on my phone so I don’t lose the idea.
Then develop it into music with my production software. Also, mythology. The entire inDream EP was heavily influenced by what I was reading on Celtic mythology at the time. Not necessarily in terms of sound, but definitely from a conceptual perspective.
In terms of why I find this inspiring… I’ve always been a daydreamer. I love zoning out into fantastical stories and escaping into other worlds. I love letting my imagination run wild. I find that when I do, I feel most inspired.
In terms of other artists I enjoy, I love bands like Portishead, Cocteau Twins, Thievery Corporation, and Zero 7. Björk’s Homogenic is one of my favourite albums of all time, along with The Dreaming by Kate Bush. I could name so many…
What are your friend’s and parents’ thoughts on your career in music?
I have a really small family, really just my dad and my little sister. They’re both really supportive, which is of course a great feeling.
I’ll never forget the day I released my first single Forever, and my sister told me my Dad had been going around his workplace showing all his colleagues his daughter was on Spotify. My heart!
What are some of the challenges you face in your career path?
The hardest thing I think is keeping the wheels turning. It can be a really difficult and lonely road at times, especially in the early stages of getting your work out there. I’ve learned to be my own cheerleader in that sense.
One of my friends once told me, “Remember, you gotta be able to rely on you. It’s Ariah, with Ariah, for Ariah. You can’t ever lose sight of that”. It’s so simple, but it really stuck with me. So in moments when it gets super challenging, I try to remember this and keep pushing forward.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
I absolutely love what the prevalence of the internet has done for the music business. For the arts in general, really. It’s never been easier to reach and connect directly with the people who are meant for your music. No middle-men, no compromising creativity, just you and me connecting, from my heart to yours.
I’m also really excited by the rise of crypto and in particular, NFTs. I think it’s wonderful that artists, particularly independent ones, can make a living from the art they work so hard to create while simultaneously empowering their followers to earn from the success of the music. I haven’t got into the NFT space as of yet, but I definitely look forward to doing so soon. What an incredible time to be alive!
Do you have any advice for aspiring songwriters?
Please don’t stop! Keep going. Through the tough moments. Through the days when you’re tired and working hard and feeling like it’s not progressing as quickly as you’d like it to. Through the moments you feel completely alone.
The future is bright, and as long as you don’t give up, you are more than capable of making it happen. Keep refining your craft, putting your positive energy into the world, and your time will come. And you’ll be so proud of yourself when it does!
What is your current project about?
My latest project is Selene. It’s my first single release in 4+ years, and it’s out now! Selene was written in response to a myth I came across surrounding the Grecian Moon Goddess of the same name, and her relationship with a mortal Shepard, Endymion.
She fell in love with him but felt their love was doomed as she was immortal and he was not. Selene asked Zeus to grant Endymion eternal sleep so that he would never grow old or die, and so that she could love Endymion forever in a somewhat immortal form.
I wrote the single with this underlying thought in mind. I wanted it to feel like a sort of cosmic-film ballad… a light, angelic, otherworldly energy speaking to love, juxtaposed against the prominent crash of drums and noise samples speaking to an inner conflict and tension.
What does this song mean to you?
I was kinda fascinated by the myth’s underlying sadness and felt deeply inspired by it. My gut reaction was exploring how- sometimes in relationships- there is an expectation to change or downplay aspects of who you are in order to be accepted by a beloved.
With this in mind, I wanted Selene to feel like a sort of cosmic-film ballad… a light, angelic, otherworldly energy speaking to love, juxtaposed against the prominent crash of drums and noise samples speaking to an inner conflict and tension.
What are your hobbies?
When I’m not producing, I’m pretty obsessed with all things personal development. I love meditating, working out, going to hot yoga classes, and reading books on the power of the mind, that sort of thing. I’m very interested in the concept of self-mastery.
When I’m not geeking out on all things philosophical, I also love watching boxing lol. People find that kinda weird because my music and the overall sound are usually quite relaxing, soothing, and peaceful. I especially enjoy watching fights from the ’70s. Mohammed Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman, their individual fights and of course, their legendary fights against each other.
What do you do aside from this profession?
Aside from music, I work in branding and marketing. I have an online course teaching first-time digital entrepreneurs how to build a brand online. I also consult on social media strategy and content creation for digital marketing companies.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
I appreciate you so much. Thank you for continuing to support and share my music. This is very much a grassroots movement, and I couldn’t do any of this without you!