Describing Ariana and the Rose as a force to be reckoned with would be a total understatement.
The musical project of Ariana DiLorenzo has been churning out seriously good, visually arresting, decadent pop for the past couple of years, inviting her listeners to immerse themselves further into her own multicolour, shimmering haven with each striking release.
Her headlining ‘Light + Space’ parties boast more than enough glitter and intoxicated dancing to put Sink The Pink to shame as she continues to triumph as one of the genre’s latest-and-greatest with each artful-pop release.
Straight off the back of touring with Welsh siren BETSY, DiLorenzo runs us through how her parties came to be, the method behind the musical magic and the importance of her ever-growing LGBTQ+ fan following.
We’re also thrilled to premiere the latest in Ariana and the Rose’s The Manhattan Rehearsals series, showcasing gleaming single Love You Lately in a whole new, technicolour light. Watch/completely obsess over the clip below:
Having spent equal amounts of your time between New York and London, how much of a sense of hometown pride for these two places is there in your music? Is being proud of where you’re from something important to you?
I think my New York pride is something that really bonds my whole team together, actually. I’ve been in London the past couple of years now and I think that leaving New York really cemented what I wanted to make musically. London opened my eyes artistically through the sheer amount of talent over here which has influenced my lyrics and live shows. Now I realise how much of a New Yorker I am so now I really love that I get to take that pride and spirit with me wherever I go or work as opposed to being planted in one place. New York is my home, London is my home away from home.
Your live headline shows often take on the form of a ‘Light + Space’ party which you curate and host. Where did that idea stem from?
I went to University to study theatre so I really immersed myself in the downtown theatre scene. Loads of my friends are in that world as dancers and performers and set designers so I’m constantly going to see their work and performances. I love performing with theatre companies and I really think that helped me understand how to break down the wall between the performer and the audience. This was something I’d never seen incorporated into music so I knew I had to do something like that with my own work. My friends were the ones who said, “It’s gotta be a party! You love partying and you love glitter!” as we used to attend lady drag parties together which had similar vibes to Sink The Pink. So that’s where Light + Space comes from, a very natural fit for me and the band.
Would it be correct to suggest music hasn’t always been the ultimate pursuit for you then?
Totally. I used to play music on the side and then started writing for other people in Brooklyn. That’s when I thought, “I can really do this” so I put the band together so I could be in control. I could make music that I could put out in the world as opposed to waiting for someone else to put it out there. I’ve been a performer from the get-go though so writing music now seems like diary entries I was making that I can now put into effect.
So aside from theatre and music, are there any other visual or performance areas that you’ve yet to explore that you’d like to?
I’m always looking for things that are different to what I’m doing. Currently, I’m really interested in light installations and the stage set-ups for people like Solange who are pulling all these crazy ideas from different cultures and New Orleans art. I think I’m really interested and inspired by cities so for a while I was definitely taking on a London aesthetic before realising my roots are in New York so I had to meet in the middle. The visuals always come from what the music sounds like so I’ll never be able to tell what will accompany a song visually until the track is completed.
Talk me through your songwriting process and how each Ariana and the Rose track comes about…
It’s usually the melody first which I come up with in the shower… All of the songs I love were definitely written that way. Actually, thinking about it, How Does That Make You Feel started out in the shower! I do a lot of co-writing with other artists which I really enjoy doing but all of my own work usually starts as a solo process before being taken to other people. Survival Of The Fittest began as just an array of strange sounds that my drummer just put a groove over which we built around, that turned out to be a really fun one to make. Most of the time its melody then lyrics then I take it to the studio.
Do you find songwriting a cathartic experience?
It really depends, actually. Sometimes you’ll have days where you go in and you’re so tired that it feels like work. However, I’m not the kind of person who thinks, “Oh I have no inspiration so I cannot write anything” as that’s just not an option. A writer can’t think like that, a journalist can’t think like that so I can’t either. Some of my favourite songs, like Dirty Dancing, started out on days where I felt like shit or wasn’t in the mood to do anything. That chorus feels very effortless to me which may be down to not feeling one hundred percent that day and that being the result. Other times, I’ll be really stressed out and hours later it will all come together and it feels like a full idea once I’ve got through that mindset. I actually have the memory of a goldfish which is a joke when in writing sessions as everyone will be on voice memos and I’ll be trying to hide mine as I thought they all sounded great but then I remember they just sound like dying cats… [laughs] So yeah, to be able to access moments for songwriting that I didn’t think I could at the time is something I’ve learnt to do.
Searching your socials reveals quite a number of LGBTQ+ teen fans, all praising the hell out of you. Has this demographic of fan base been the same since the beginning or is this something you’re noticing more of?
I know right! Oh my gosh, since day one the LGBTQ+ community has been so supportive of my project. I’ve played a lot of Pride events in the States which was such an unbelievable experience having never done anything like that before. The outpouring of positive energy from everyone as those shows was insane, totally different to just playing a gig at 7 pm on a Monday. I grew up in New York City in the theatre and arts community so to be able to perform back meant the world to me. Being an ally is one thing, being able to give back and celebrate alongside and be an advocate is on a whole other level.
If you could give the person you were at the start of your career a piece of advice, what would it be?
Jesus… Have that extra glass of wine when offered… [laughs] Probably just relax a bit more and to not be so uptight about everything. I’ve gotten to do a lot of amazing stuff in my career that I wouldn’t have dreamt of at the start so just enjoy it and not be such a worry. You’re going to be able to make people dance and move and have a better night than they would have had on their couch with a shit takeaway. I have such an appreciation for that now. Oh, and listen to Goldfrapp earlier. That will change your whole life and make everything seem a lot better…
Love You Lately is out now.