RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AMERICAN ARTIST ARO
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Music has always been a big part of my life. I’m someone who instinctively numbs myself when life is overwhelming and music is consistently the thing that moves me back into my feeling self, my intuitive self, my authentic self. So I guess the decision to pursue music was a gradual realization that this is where I like myself the most.
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
My IRL name is Meg, I’m a new music artist and long-time creative. Growing up my family moved around a lot, but more recently I’m from Pennsylvania and I currently live in Los Angeles, California. I’m an Aquarius sun, Gemini rising, and Virgo moon. As a kid I played the flute, clarinet and piano, as an adult I play the guitar. I’m also a visual artist, mostly playing with acrylic paints. I started making music a year ago, not really thinking that I’d actually pursue a career as an artist, but the more time I dedicated towards my art the more I realized that this is something I need to see through. Some people say that if you find the thing you really love then you’ll never work a day in your life, and I’ve been on a relentless search for the thing that feeds me as much as I feed it. Music has become that thing for me.
What was life like for you before music?
Before I started making music I was a serial careerist. I’ve had A LOT of jobs. I was looking for the kind of personal fulfillment that I get from making music but I didn’t know what I was looking for. Everywhere I went I felt boxed in.
I also didn’t feel comfortable taking up as much space before I started making music. I think this process has really brought me out of my shell and allowed me to get to know myself better in the process.
What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?
I don’t know that there was one song in particular. But Halsey’s music, particularly her less popular music, was probably the most influential for me in deciding to start creating music for myself.
What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?
That you have to be your biggest fan before you can ever expect anyone else to be your fan. Most people won’t show support for someone until they see other people supporting them. So until that happens you’ve gotta believe in your work relentlessly. If you’re waiting for permission or validation to come from some external source before you fully step into who you are as an artist, you’re probably going to be waiting a long time.
If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?
I’m crossing my fingers for a label that’s a good fit for my sound and who won’t shelf me!
Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….
I used to be really anxious about being misunderstood or taken out of context and having my character called into question. I wouldn’t say that anxiety is completely gone, but my own trust in myself and my values has gotten stronger, so that feeling of anxiety doesn’t rule my behavior any longer.
Cancel culture has a lot of connotations associated with it and has turned into a buzz word in the last few years. I think it’s an attempt to control things that feel within reach for people. Here in the U.S. we have a government that largely doesn’t care to meet the needs of its people. Our democracy isn’t thriving. And when institutionally people feel powerless they’re going to try to get their needs met by attempting to control the culture. While that makes a lot of sense to me, I largely find cancel culture to be unethical. It’s often carried out in harmful ways against individuals, trying to cut people off from their communities and support systems, when the real problem is often systemic.
I could go on about this topic because I think there’s a ton of nuance here that often isn’t discussed. But to wrap it up: I’ve learned that trying to control other peoples’ perception of me is exhausting, fruitless work. Everyone operates through our own lens of reality, and other peoples’ lenses are actually none of my business.
Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories? If not why not?
I’m an Aquarius, I love a conspiracy theory. That being said, once you find yourself too deep in a lot of conspiracies there’s always a fringe group that’s weirdly anti-semetic/racist/misogynistic etc. I like to stop short of those people lol. I would say the “conspiracies” I subscribe to are that most of our industries and government systems (in the U.S.) are deeply corrupt. Capitalism is an unnecessary scam. Our medical industry is only interested in keeping us healthy enough to work. Organized religion (namely Christianity) is mostly about enforcing gender norms and controlling poor people. And I think there’s a non-zero chance that if you go deep enough into the ocean you’ll end up in outer space.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.
I have a hard time gauging what people might be surprised about. But some fun facts are that I’m neurodivergent, I’m queer, I used to run my own business as a personal trainer and fitness coach, I’m pretty socially awkward in person, and I consult my tarot deck before making any major decisions in my life.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I think my lyrics are really a defining part of what makes my art so special. Very often I’m writing from the perspectives of these dark parts of myself that don’t have another outlet to express themselves. And when I’m indulging them I’m not looking to put a positive spin on them or tie them neatly into a bow, I really try to just let them exist as they are and write from that place. That realness, to me, is art. I’m in it for the poetry.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
I’m releasing my debut single, called Let Me Go. It’s one of the first songs I ever wrote and I honestly never thought anyone would ever hear it so I think that’s part of what makes this release so special. The song tells the story of heartbreak from the perspective of a routine saboteur (me). In the song I’m really romanticizing all of my avoidant tendencies in relationships. The song is kind of sad and wistful, but there’s also this element of twisted pleasure in all of the chaos that this part of me likes to cause in relationships.
What was the recording process like?
Oh god the recording process was so hard for this first song because I was a complete beginner. Everything from finding a producer to work with, to learning Logic Pro, to figuring out what kind of recording equipment I needed, it was all really overwhelming for me. And then when it came time to record I was so nervous every time that recording button would turn on. It took me a few weeks to get a take that I liked for the song. But my producer was really supportive and helped me out along the way. I learned a lot from this first track.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
For me the lyrics come really easily when I’m in a creative flow, the hardest part for me has been defining and getting really comfortable with my own sound. Not just how the melody is going to go, but what is the energy behind my sound? How am I delivering this? What is my own artistic vision, so that it doesn’t sound like I’m performing someone else’s song? And while this has been the most challenging aspect of writing, it’s also been my most exciting and biggest growth point.
Would you change anything now that it’s finished?
Oh, this is such a hard question for me. I don’t think that any piece of art is ever truly finished. There are endless possibilities of iterations that could happen on a piece. And as a recovering perfectionist, I’m someone who always wants to explore all of those options. But there has to come a point where you let intuition take over to let you know when something *feels* finished. I’ve listened to this song so many times now, and can point out all the things that the me now, several months later, could do better. But I’m confident that I did my best work that I knew how to do, at the time that I did it.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I’m just so excited and grateful to all my supporters out there, as a brand-new artist it really means the world to have people interested in my work. Because I spent the past year writing I have a lot in the pipeline, and I’m excited for listeners to get to hear my growth. The first few songs I’m releasing are pieces that I wrote when I was just getting comfortable with writing, and I can see so clearly how I’ve progressed with the stuff that I’m currently writing. So stay tuned, I’ve got a lot to share.