By Kimberly Leder
For junior arts administration major, Ariana Albarella, music was as normal to her upbringing as learning how to walk. But instead of idolizing a boy band or pop sensation from the 90s, the New Jersey native found her inspiration in Bruce Springsteen.
“I’ve been singing my entire life,” Albarella said. “I grew up surrounded by music and admiring so many musicians, with my parents playing a major role in exposing me to various artists and music genres.
“Bruce Springsteen has inspired me endlessly. I’m truly fascinated by his lyricism and musicianship. I was 9 when I saw him perform for the first time. It was also my first concert. I think that was when something clicked in my mind and I realized that I really wanted to be on the stage.”
Albarella entered Rider a solo artist, having to leave her girl-band roots behind her after graduation.
“I was in an all-girl rock band called Once Every Thursday where I sang and played guitar,” she said. “We had to split up because we were all going to college in various states, but it was one of the coolest musical experiences I’ve had. I really like the collaboration that comes with being in a band.”
But that never kept her from finding friends to perform with on campus.
“I have also performed at a few Arts Management Association Coffeehouses on campus with my close friend and Rider alumna, Kristen Rodgers,” Albarella said. “She and I have this amazing ability to just sit together with a guitar or piano and instantly come up with arrangements and harmonies for original songs and covers. It means so much to me to not only have her as a friend, but as a creative partner as well. There’s something so incredible about being able to create with your best friend.”
Playing mainly guitar and piano, Albarella can soon add mandolin to her repertoire of instruments to use in her music, which includes covers as well as her own songs.
“I cover anything and everything,” she said. “When it comes to music, I’m totally open-minded both in what I cover and what I listen to. I’m a huge fan of Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran, and Katy Perry, just to name a few, so I tend to gravitate towards their work.
“One of my favorite things to do when I cover a song is to make it my own. It’s important to me to add my own creative spark to a song while keeping the artist’s original intent.”
When it comes to her own music, everything seems to come organically and in various ways, she says.
“I hate to confine it to a specific process because it usually doesn’t happen the same way every time,” Albarella added. “I find most things to be melodic and try to capitalize on that as much as possible. I try to take what I’m feeling and connect it to the music in my head and that’s usually when lyrics show up. I have a habit of randomly coming up with lyrics or melodies at the most inopportune times and I use the voice memo app on my phone pretty often because of this.”
Regardless, it’s the universality of music itself that Albarella favors the most.
“It is so hard to pick my favorite thing about music,” she said. “No matter who you are or where you come from, music can be used to communicate and connect. Sometimes a song can depict emotions and say what you have been struggling to put into words better than you ever could and I find that so incredibly fascinating.”
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