Music is an important part of most of our lives. It can bring back memories of certain events, time spent with friends, loved ones, and family. Good music gets into your very being and has you moving in an instant in the car, in a store, at the club, anywhere really. How often do you think about what it takes to create that music? What your favourite artists have gone through to get that one song out?
The music scene, as well as the music business, has changed so much over the years and with the introduction of new technology, it has changed drastically. Yet, even with the changes, artists who are truly passionate about their writing, recording, and performing have continued to bring us their best. Oftentimes – way more often than it should be – much of this music isn’t heard by the masses. This needs to change. We need music, good music, in our lives.
Aris Ziagos is an extremely talented artist who is passionate about what he writes, records, and performs. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him for years and seeing his progression as a person, as an artist, as a soul. I’ve even had the privilege of appearing in his latest music video for his single, LOVE, which I think is a perfect club song to dance to and absolutely an appropriate Valentine’s Day song. I was able to sit down with him to ask a few questions about the new song, album, video, and about him as an artist, his past, his future.
I hope everyone takes some time to get to know Aris, check out his new video and his new music. We all need some good music and some more LOVE in our lives, don’t we?
Q: For those who aren’t familiar with you, tell us a little about how you got interested in music and then how you got started.
Aris: I was fascinated with music from as early as I can remember. Performing runs in my family’s blood. My mom toured in the ’60s and ’70s as a belly dancer, at times also singing with the band. I was always encouraged to be artistic. At first, it was poetry, and then the poems found rhythm and melody and became songs. I started connecting deeply with the music of singer-songwriters, of emotional vocalists, of artists with broad influences. Those inspirations all became the roots of my sound & art.
Q: Do you remember what it was like to make your very first single and album?
Aris: I can! It was about 11 years ago, and I was recording in Hoboken. It was very exciting to be giving life to the songs on my first album. I was finding my voice and trying out a lot of different styles of music – world sounds, folk, rock. The final session for the album was the same day as Barack Obama’s inauguration. It was a very hopeful, energetic, special time.
Q: Tell us a little about the new single ‘Love’ and how did you come to work with Paula Cole? (For those not familiar with Paula Cole, her song ‘I Don’t Want to Wait’ is the theme for ‘Dawson’s Creek’ and her songs ‘Where Have all the Cowboys Gone?’ and ‘Feelin’ Love’ were also huge hits.)
Aris: I got the chance to perform with Paula a few years ago, joining her to sing on her song “I Believe In Love”. My mother and I had been fans for many years. Paula at some point offered an opportunity to accompany her in a duet at one of her shows, and my mom surprised me with it. As a long-time fan, this was a dream come true. Shortly afterwards, my Mother passed away. I let Paula know, and she was so supportive, so kind, and patient with me. We waited about a full year until the time felt right, and then we agreed to do this as a tribute to my Mom.
It was emotional on so many levels, life-changing and super inspiring. The experience was the inspiration as I began writing my song “Love”. I approached Paula about contributing her vocals to the track, and with her blessing, we now have our collaboration which utilizes elements of her song “I Believe In Love”.
Q: Making music and videos is always a labour of love. What was it like making your latest music video for ‘Love’?
Aris: This was a unique experience because I wanted it to be deeply authentic. I included people I love, people who love each other. I wanted to create something that was universal, and a bit mysterious, in that the viewer could infer their own perceptions into what was happening. My intention was to have diverse representation both in casting and also in the types of coupling captured in the video. That may be trendy right now but for me, it is a real slice of the friends & colleagues in my life. I wanted the video to showcase me in a way that perhaps I may not have been seen in my previous videos – vulnerable, happy. And circling back to authenticity – You’ll notice several times in the video I will lock eyes with the camera as if we’re seeing from the point of view from someone I’m in love with. I wanted my facial expressions to capture my actual loving glance, so I asked my partner to shoot those scenes. How’s that for a labour of love?
Q: Your latest album is also titled ‘Love’, is it the theme throughout?
Aris: Definitely. I set out of the intention of writing an upbeat, inspirational electronic & dance album, seasoned with rock, pop, soul & world elements. That was the foundation, the house, and what I wanted to put in the house were these different rooms about love… Romantic Love, Love of friends & family, Learning to love ourselves, learning how to heal from the loss of love. The title track “Love” is also the first track on the album, and really sets the tone for the journey to follow. Sonically, it captures my blend of electronic, dance & rock, with lush strings, guitars, pounding bass and emotional vocals. Love is dynamic and complicated, and perhaps the greatest muse for art, it certainly has been for me.
Q: Do you plan on releasing more singles from this album? Is there new music in the works as well?
Aris: Yes and Yes! The next single “Free” will be out in the Spring, and perhaps a few more surprises this summer. I’ve been recording a lot of new music for my new album and some side projects which I’m stoked about.
Q: What is your plan for music in 2020?
Aris: My plans include finishing my new album and releasing it by the end of the year. It’s a soul-rock album, with inspirational lyrics & really warm tones. It’s very different than “Love”. The dance music has been stripped away, and the music is very raw and personal. Several songs on the album are about my mom, her passing, and the process of grieving and healing. There are songs about self-care, mental health, spirituality, the state of the world, aspiring to be more than we are, of heartbreak and finding new love. I’m planning on releasing the first single in the Fall!
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self if you could go back in time?
Aris: Don’t sweat the little things. Stay focused, and don’t spend time doubting yourself or worrying about what others think about you! Cherish every moment with those you love, because life is short and you’ll always wish you had more time.
Q: Who are some of your dream collaborations?
Aris: Dolly Parton, Janelle Monae, V.V. Brown, Miley Cyrus, Kesha! If we could include artists who’ve passed here (it’s a dream collaboration after all) Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, John Lennon
Q: Describe yourself using three hashtags.
Aris: #artist #rebel #survivor
Q: What would you change about the current state of the music business if you could?
Aris: Music has become devalued through the modern streaming era. Streaming has such a low revenue model, where the artist only recoups small fractions of a penny per stream. If you compare that to what we used to consider the going rate of a song at $1 or an album at $10, it’s a lot harder from a business standpoint, especially for indie artists. So, I’d encourage the consumer to continue to use the pre-purchase model of buying albums and songs, direct from artists if possible.
Q: What’s up next for Aris?
Aris: Back into the studio to work on more new music! And maybe some breakfast.