MOUNTAIN VIEW — For synth-pop singer-songwriter Ariana DiLorenzo, the frontwoman of Ariana and the Rose, the creative process goes beyond making the music. For the New York artist, the experience is much more immersive and all-encompassing. Her videos feature sharp and colorful visuals, her style is bold and her personality fills the room.
“Obviously the music always comes first,” DiLorenzo says. “But we’re living in a world where people take things in with different senses. Any opportunity I have to create an extended experience for someone to have a touchpoint for me, as an artist, is exciting.”
The singer’s latest EP, Constellations: Phase 1, is a journey through love and relationships as seen through the lens of self-discovery and empowerment. The material runs the gamut from dark and atmospheric to bold and carefree. DiLorenzo says it was a conscious decision to take listeners through a range of moods and emotion on the record.
“I definitely wanted it to be something that touched on all these different points in a journey,” DiLorenzo says. “For this EP it was really about the themes and exploration of what it means to stand on your own two feet and what it looks like when you choose yourself.”
Also included on the EP is an unexpected left turn: a dark and moody take on N*SYNC’s pop hit “Bye, Bye, Bye.” The song features a dramatic and haunting vocal by DiLorenzo over a spacious synth and warm bass line, an arrangement that allows the song’s unexpectedly dark lyrics and message to be the primary focus.
“The lyrics are so dark; it’s just a really heartbreaking song,” DiLorenzo says. “But it’s still very much in line with the of standing up for your yourself and leaving. It’s very empowering.”
Covering “Bye, Bye, Bye” from a woman’s perspective separates the song from the imagery of dance-floor pop, choreography and frosted curly tips that might be visually associated with it.
While she was born and now lives in New York, DiLorenzo spent a number of years in London; time she says was vital in helping to shape who she became as an artist and performer. She says she thrives on the energy and pace of city life that helps her to build connections with a place.
“I love taking in culture, even if it’s just going to the places where people are hanging out and people watching,” DiLorenzo says.
As DiLorenzo was developing her songwriting identity, she struggled to find what her what her space on the musical spectrum. Some material she deemed too folky while others leaned too much in the pop direction. She worked to find a happy medium with elements of both. All of that changed when she went to London.
“I got really lucky and stumbled into groups of writers and people that I just loved that got it,” DiLorenzo says. “It opened up my whole mind to start playing with analog synths and really spending time in the studio.”
Ariana and the Rose have taken their creative outlets to another level with the introduction of the immersive “Light + Space” parties. More than just a concert, the concept was born out of the immersive theater movement in New York, bringing the audience into the creative experience rather than simply having them watch it from a seat. The curated parties include a mix of performance art, a concert and a dance party that rages on into the night.
DiLorezno says she’s already thinking about the next phase in Constellations, taking the quiet moments amid the chaos of being in release mode to spend time with her piano to delve into the emotions and themes of the project’s next wave. While she doesn’t want to pigeonhole the new material into a certain style, she hope to push herself to focus on the instrumentation to bring about a more experimental sound. The Phase II project will serve as the musical and creative companion piece to the this initial release.
“I’m not sure a production standpoint quite which direction it’s going to go yet,” says DiLorenzo. “But this will be the first time I’m gong to be walking into a room with a producer and able to say, ‘Hey, this is what I’ve been looking at and this is what it sounds like.'”
Listen to the full RIFF Radio interview, recorded at Vans Warped Tour at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.
Follow writer Mike DeWald at Twitter.com/mike_dewald.