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Austin’s Own, Ariadne Mila

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Bridge: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us Ariadne! Go ahead and tell our readers who you are!

AM: Thank you so much for having me! I’m Ariadne Mila and I’m an artist based in Austin, TX. I’ve always loved music; I studied classical piano as a kid (and still play!), and I started writing my own songs at 16. I’ve spent the past year releasing music, and I can’t wait to share what else I’ve got cooking 🙂

Bridge: So would you say music has always been your main mode of expression?

AM: Definitely. I express myself best with music and lyrics. I love using music both to express my emotions but also to say things I think are important. I think music can be really powerful that way.

Bridge: What does the songwriting process look like for you?

AM: The songwriting process changes a little bit each time, which is one of the reasons I love songwriting. Of the songs I’ve written, no two songs were written with the exact same process. Sometimes the lyrics come first, sometimes the melody comes first, and sometimes the lyrics and the melody happen at the same time. Sometimes I start with a chorus, sometimes I write the song from start to finish, and sometimes I write the verses first and the chorus last. Sometimes a song takes me 30 minutes to write, and sometimes it takes me months. Each time is a little different. When I sit down to write, I try to set the intention of just seeing what happens that day–seeing where my mind takes me, seeing where the music takes me. Sometimes, you strike gold, and sometimes you don’t. But I think the most important thing is to just set aside time each day to exercise that creative muscle–to write, even if it’s just freewriting your thoughts, or to play, even if you’re just riffing melodies for fun. Because eventually, you’ll find the song in there. I look at songwriting a lot like when sculptors chisel a block of marble to make a sculpture. That sculpture is already in there, it’s in the block of marble–and it’s the sculptor’s job to find it. For me, songwriting is similar. If you have an idea, the song is in there–you just need to chip away until you find it.

Bridge: Let’s go back a little. How has your past, your family or upbringing or education, affected the music you’re making today?

AM: My family was definitely very musical. My dad plays guitar, my uncle plays the piano, my mom sings. My cousins and I all took piano lessons as kids, and I remember visiting my cousins’ house, and my cousins would take turns playing the piano while my mom sang. I remember they’d play “My Heart Will Go On,” from Titanic, and “Music of the Night,” from Phantom of the Opera. And my mom would sing, and sometimes my uncle would join during the parts for Raoul or the Phantom. And those were such fun childhood memories, just being brought together by our love of music. Music was a big part of my upbringing and it was a way my family spent quality time. We always had a karaoke machine at parties. There was always a piano or a guitar (or both!) at relatives’ houses, that we’d inevitably play and turn into a jam session. I think these experiences really showed me how uniting music can be, and how music is such a powerful way to connect us. And I think that’s why music means so much to me–because I saw how much joy it brought my family, and how my best memories always had music in some way. Music was a way my family expressed themselves, and so it became the way that I expressed myself. And seeing all these songs my mom used to sing and my relatives used to sing, it made me want to create my own songs to express my own thoughts and emotions.

Bridge: What do you want people to take away from your music?

AM: I want my music to be something people can vibe to, but also something people can relate to. I really aim to write honest lyrics that capture the good, the bad, and the uncomfortable—the euphoria of romance, the hard-won journey of resilience, the kind of hindsight only gained after distance. I want my music to reflect real life, and all of the messiness that comes with it. And I want my music to help people feel understood, and to feel less alone. We tend to think we’re the only ones who feel a certain way, or who go through certain things–but often, we’re not alone, and we’re much less alone than we think. I want my music to be a reminder of this, and to be a reminder that it’s ok to feel those things and to sit with those emotions. You can make space for emotions that are scary or uncomfortable. And you can find that those emotions pass, just like anything else. 

Bridge: Which artists would you say inspire you the most?

AM: I grew up listening to a lot of different types of music. My family loved Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston. During flights to see my family in New York, on the airplane I’d bring my little case of CDs and my CD player–my go-to’s were N’Sync’s No Strings Attached, Mariah Carey’s Rainbow, and this 3-track CD I got when I saw Nelly Furtado performing (before she released Whoa, Nelly! and Folklore) in South Street Seaport in Manhattan. I remember playing Nelly Furtado’s “…On the Radio” over and over again on my CD player. And as I listened to more music and formed my own tastes, I gravitated towards a lot of really melodic, singer-songwriter sounds–I listened to a lot of Michelle Branch, Avril Lavigne, Stacie Oricco, Vanessa Carlton, Pink, Alanis Morisette, and Gavin DeGraw. Chariot, Jagged Little Pill, and The Spirit Room are still some of my favorite albums to this day.

I also grew up taking dance classes–I took ballet, jazz, and lyrical, and I used to watch So You Think You Can Dance, and I loved the music that was used during the contemporary pieces. When I first moved to Austin, I started taking more contemporary dance classes, and I discovered a lot of music through those dance classes–the music was so much more beat-driven and had a lot of cool syncopated rhythms. And during the beginning of the pandemic, I spent so much time just going down Spotify rabbit holes and discovering new artists. I loved the styles of artists like Babi, Aleesha, and Nina Nesbitt. So I think the sound I ended up with in my own music is kind of a blend of the melodic aspects of the early 2000s singer-songwriters I loved, while incorporating more pop-sounding elements from artists I discovered as I got older.

Bridge: And the last question…If you had to pick any song to be the soundtrack of your life what would it be?

AM: Ooh, great question. It’s so hard to just pick one song! I’m a huge sucker for emotive lyrics. So I think I’d go with Lego House by Ed Sheeran (+ is Ed’s best album, in my opinion), Kina Grannis’s cover of Iris (originally by the Goo Goo Dolls), Chariot by Gavin DeGraw, Ojalá Que SĂ­ – Hay Alguien AhĂ­ by Ale ZĂ©guer feat. Diego Ojeda, and my own song, yours / mine!

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