Bridge: Thank you for taking the time to chat with us Arizona! Go ahead and tell our readers a little about you…
AL: Thank you so much for having me! I’m a pop country/rock artist and mental health activist from Long Island, New York! I have been writing music, performing, and acting since as early as 2nd grade. Since then, my life has been about creating art! In the past 3 years, I have released two albums “The Castle You Built Me” and “The Process”. “The Process” is a full-length concept album about going through life changing trauma and entering into the trauma recovery process. The bonus track just came out this fall and it’s a dedication to suicide prevention; featuring the legendary Darryl McDaniels of RunDMC.
Bridge: So would you say music has always been your main mode of expression?
AL: Absolutely! Music has been the most stable, consistent, and safe form of expression that I have ever had in my life. It is the foundation of everything I stand on. I do also enjoy so many other forms of art! For example, I often like to paint and draw the concept to my songs are images behind them. I find this helps me express myself and also share with others the colors and images I see when I hear music.
Bridge: What does the songwriting process look like for you?
AL: It can look super different for each song that I write. Most of the time I just sit and stum a guitar, play piano chords, or make a beat with aa percussive instrument until something fun, interesting, or exciting comes to me. The lyrics and music most often come together and develop together; representing one another throughout their development. However, there are many times where I sit down with a concept that has been taking up my attention (or sometimes an assignment that has come my way) and I use a more strategic way of creating the art. At the end of the day, it is art; regardless of the process; it’s “about the process not the product”. I feel strongly that both strategies work well for me!
Bridge: Let’s go back a little. How has your past, your family or upbringing or education, affected the music you’re making today?
AL: I have always written about the things around me; always using the resources, skills, and level of understanding that I had at the time of each writing entry. In other words, my music has been an ever-developing representation of my experiences, trauma, successes, and all of the emotions and cognitions that come with it. I would say my music today is an interesting mix between self-awareness and validation of my inner experiences. I definitely have also used my education and experiences with mental health to better my writing… it has all helped me develop as a person, writer, and artist who is also trying to help others through their own struggles.
Bridge: I know this is a tough one, but what is your favorite song you’ve ever made?
AL: This is a tough one! I feel as though my favorite two songs I have created (written and produced) so far are “Worth the Fight” and “The Real You”.
“The Real You” wasn’t just super fun to write, produce, and share, but it was the first song I wrote truly being connected to a sense of hope, love, and support. Re-establishing hope is a big part of mental health recovery and overcoming suicidality- which is why I chose “The Real You” to be track 10 on my concept album “The Process”.
“Worth the Fight” as mentioned above, is the bonus track to my recently released concept album “The Process”. Not only does it feature rock legend Darryl McDaniels, but it is a song written by me and my close friend, L*A*W of planet12productions, and co-produced and mixed by Matthew Einsidler at Audio Workstations on Long Island . This song dives into my personal journey overcoming suicide ideation and was both exciting and cathartic to write and produce.
AL: A big thank you to my two endorsements, AMI Guitars and Retro Stage for supporting me in my journey as an artist and producer. A big thank you to Brimstone for always supporting me and introducing me to Darryl! Brim made this track happen!
Bridge: What do you want people to take away from your music?
AL: I hope that when someone listens to my music they feel like they have someone else in the world who can relate to how they are feeling and know that someone is there with them. For all the good moments that they wish to celebrate with a friend- to the more challenging moments that they need to lean on a friend, I want my music to be that friend.
Bridge: Which artists would you say inspire you the most?
AL: Taylor Swift, Alanis Morrissette, Frank Sinatra, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Brad Paisley, and so many more!
Bridge: And the last question…If you had to pick any song to be the soundtrack of your life what would it be?
AL: I would say “All Too Well” by Taylor Swift (of course, the 10 minute version). I can’t even think of another song right now if I tried!