Ariel Posen‘s music occupies the space between genres. It’s a rootsy sound that nods to his influences — heartland rock & roll, electrified Americana, blue-eyed soul, R&B, Beatles-inspired pop — while still moving forward, pushing Posen into territory that’s uniquely his own. After earning international acclaim (as well as a Western Canadian Music Award nomination for Breakout Artist of the Year) with his solo debut, How Long, he turns a new corner with 2020’s soon to be released Headway, an album whose themes of evolution, growth, and positive progress are reflected in the song themselves.
Ariel recently released his first single off the album Coming Back, and we had the opportunity to chat with him about his creative process, what he’s learned along the way, and how he’s been staying connected.
Kat: How would you describe your sound? and for those just being introduced to your sound, is there anything you think they should know about your music before getting into it? Is there a track you’d recommend they start with?
Ariel: My sound would be described as roots music. I like to go with that term because I feel like it covers a lot of ground. It’s not rock, but it can be energetic. It’s not blues or soul music but it takes a lot of influence from that. Its not country music but there’s is definitely western and Americana influence. It really is an amalgam of everything. I am known as a guitar player, but this is not guitar music. It’s about the songs, the lyrics, the singing, the harmonies. The guitar is there to serve the songs and provide textures and memorable moments. I would suggest checking out my first record, “How Long” and my live version of that album “Familiar Ground” to get a good idea of what my sounds “sounds” like.
Kat: You recently released your new single “Coming Back”. Can you share with us your thought process and inspiration behind the track? and why you felt it was the single you wanted release?
Ariel: ‘Coming Back’ is a song that was written almost right after I finished all production for my album, How Long but in the summer of 2018. I wanted to have something in the same realm as the previous songs, but I wanted some different feels and textures. This song definitely has a more soulful vibe in terms of the instrumentation and feel with influences like Prince and D’Angelo. The song refers to a person or a thing that you can’t help but keep going back to even if it/they make you feel horrible and are toxic. I wanted this song to be the first release for this new chapter because it has a slightly newer sound like I described, and since I have been performing some songs already live from the new album, I wanted to make sure I was releasing something that no one has heard yet. I think that experience of hearing something for the first time is a special thing and I didn’t want to take that away from some.
Kat: You’ve been recognized by fans around the world and outlets such as Rolling Stone who dubbed you “a modern-day guitar hero.” You were also voted by readers of Music Radar as one of the top 10 rock guitarists of the year which lead to a nomination for Breakout Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards. What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?
Ariel: Obviously all of those are a highlight and a complete honour. I didn’t start doing this for any kind of special titles or respect in that regard. I just wanted to put out some honest and genuine music with my voice as a singer/songwriter/guitarist. To me, success and highlights come in the form of just being able to keep this up and have more people jumping on board. The support has really been quite amazing. I’ve learnt that you really gotta be driven and focused. You can’t wait around for opportunities to come. You really gotta be the one to seize every chance and make the most out of every opportunity.
Kat: Do you have any advice for emerging artists? or have you been given any advice that really made an impact?
Ariel: Like I was saying in the previous question, you gotta hustle. Of course you have to make sure that you’ve put the time in and worked on your craft, but after that, you gotta put yourself out there. That can be in any medium, whether it’s online, in person, at a show, meeting somebody. It comes from all directions. No one out there is gonna do you any favours, because they’re all trying to do the same thing, which is looking out for themselves! Don’t be afraid to hustle, but be smart about it, and just be confident and believe in what you do. You’ll see that others will see that and believe in you too.
Kat: How have you been staying connected during Covid-19? What’s next?
Ariel: We’ve all been affected by this. With all my summer and fall touring plans gone, I’ve resorted to everything online, which to be honest, I had already been doing a lot of, minus the touring. I’m fortunate that I have a few different outlets for making music other than just being on the road. Most importantly, I’m taking the time to enjoy it for what it’s worth, like being at home. Been writing a lot and working on this new music which I really can’t wait to share.
For more on Ariel Posen visit: http://www.arielposen.com