Aradia (www.aradiamusic.com) may be declaring herself a proud and engaged Citizen of Earth on her new full length album and in her powerful, socially conscious liner notes, but there’s something fresh, trippy and otherworldly about her infectious hybrid “roktronica” vibe.
There’s also something deliriously nerdy and inventive about an artist who would prepare for theOctober 28 digital release of her recording by releasing a series of wacky yet clever YouTube videos of random classic cover songs before dropping the incendiary clip for her empowering original tune “On Fire.”
On September 26, Aradia will share her clip of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a wild performance piece with the singer on keyboards which shows what might happen if Kurt Cobain hopped in a blender with Eurythymics. On October 3, she’ll roll out “White Wedding,” then a week later share a free digital download of “Like A Prayer.”
After holding a weeklong social media scavenger hunt (October 17-23), Aradia (in conjunction with Sci-Fi Commons) is holding her highly anticipated album release concert for Citizen of Earth as part of the 1st Annual Intergalactic Halloween Ball at the FRED Wildlife Refuge – the perfect setting for this creative and colorful, sci-fi fashionista.
Calling it “a bit geekier than the typical neighborhood bar shindig,” Aradia promises a literally Out-of-this-World Halloween party themed for everyone who loves Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Marvel or DC Comics and Steampunk. But the cool, less nerdy folks can still come and enjoy cosmic cocktails, video games, the DJ/ dancing and the singer’s ethereal groovin’ rock performance.
Those who attend may even get to see her donning one of those futuristic fantasy outfits she designed and made herself and wore on all of her album artwork. For that photo shoot, she wore a silver dress, silver robe with a computer button in front, big shouldered vinyl silver fit & flare “robot top,” a haute couture-style crème top with giant sleeves made of tabbed fabric, and a fitted aubergine dress with Elizabethan-style puffy sleeves of black embossed pleather. Whatever Aradia’s wearing, when she hits the stage, she’ll make waves across the curious universe with a unique sound that blends rock, pop, trip-hop and electronic; her sound has been likened to an otherworldly mix of Donna Summer, Trent Reznor, David Bowie and George Harrison.
All of this may sound “out there” for an emerging indie artist, but it’s right in line with everything in Aradia’s life. Long before she was fully aware that she was, as she writes, a citizen of “this beautiful blue and green orb that’s suspended by the magic of physics in the vacuum of space,”she was a proud, self-confessed “biggest nerd ever.”
Growing up in and around New York City, Aradia was a mathlete. She joined Young Astronauts. Her personal reading list included Charles Dickens, Ray Bradbury and Greek andRoman mythology. She was a classically trained pianist who enrolled in the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. To this day, her ultimate goal is a PhD in astronomy.
Perfectly in line with all that, she’s a hard core, “live long and prosper” Trekkie, gobbling upCaptains Kirk (original series) and Picard (The Next Generation) and the 90s show Star Trek: Voyager. As a teenager she went to Star Trek conventions with thousands of Vulcan-eared kindred spirits, as well as the Renaissance Faire. Earlier in her adulthood, she wore her Star Trek uniform to work.
In addition to silliness and humor, Aradia brings to her solo artistry and the 11 grounded yet surreal tracks of Citizen of Earth a unique musical background. When she lived in Atlanta, she and musical partner Wirth Lawson formed Twelfth Planet, a rock band that electrified the scene there. That group opened for Muse and played for 100,000 at the Chicago Auto Show.
But her emergence as a Sci-Fi fashionista was ultimately a perfect fit in Seattle, where she moved in the mid-2000s after the breakup of the band. Not that the adjustment or finding the great support system of friends she has now was easy. Part of her maturing process, creatively and otherwise, was learning to follow her own muse, ignore the naysayers and learning to be authentic and aware of her responsibility as a citizen of the planet.
“There are people out there who feel lonely or weird, like nobody truly understands them or talks to them, and I feel like I empathize with and give voice to them and their fears, hopes and concerns,” Aradia says. “Some musicians connect best with the super depressed, some with partiers, others who hate their lives and are angry all the time – but who’s out there talking to those who may feel alone but who are deep thinkers who truly care about where we’re going as a race – but also want to have fun? That’s what I am about and what Citizen of Earth is about.”
As the singer echoes in her liner notes: “I’m a musician, but first, I’m a philosopher. I know you’re out there…the people who share my musings, observations, and are always asking ‘Why?’ I’m talking to anyone who’s interested, but mostly I’m talking to you—because I believe you might be listening…We look at the world and see magic and beauty. We see the quantum lines that connect us all; the ways that we’re all inextricably connected. But then we see the painful truths; we see The Great Sleep that has taken over most people on the planet; how so many of us float through life without eyes open, the way we hurt each other or ignore each other, the way we forget that whatever we do to one another and to Earth, we do to ourselves.
“Whether in this life, the next, or some lifetime for and away, everything we do will ripple through until we feel the impact—positive or not—in our own lives. But some of us feel it now, because we haven’t forgotten that we’re all connected.”
Citizen of Earth is a unique collection of songs reflecting dark and light, featuring what Aradia calls “musical images of intense situations and the feelings they evoke.” The darker ones find her ruminating on some of her early experiences in Seattle – cultural and lifestyle adjustments as she wound her way through the Emerald City’s eclectic social and dating scene. In those days, her life was like a sad country song: no money, no band, lousy job and a series of dead end relationships. The lighter themed tunes emerged from essentially the same period of composing but have a decidedly more fun-filled spirit about them – a reflection of the life she has now brimming with creativity, a strong social support system and great hope.
Her multi-faceted music and dark/light sensibilities are just the foundation for the whole aesthetic of Aradia’s artistry, which includes crafty costuming, a dynamically choreographed stage show and the occasional shock value moment in the tradition of Madonna and Lady Gaga. Her music and personality reflect an intriguing combination of whimsy and serious introspection. Her website includes some fascinating images to describe the depth and dichotomy of her overall artistic vision: Wood Nymph meets Sci-fi warrior. Superhero do-gooder meets space villainess. A roktronik sci-fi adventure of sense and sound.
Aradia’s wild edges are tempered with a passion for metaphysics, spirituality and a deep love for animals. The owner of a husky-wolf hybrid named Khan (Star Trek reference!) and a Chihuahua-corgi mix named Sansa (“Game of Thrones”), she puts her money where her heart is by donating frequently to the Humane Society. She moved to Seattle in part because of its surrounding natural beauty and is very much involved in environmental causes and protecting nature from human destruction.
While Aradia vows that someday she will return to school to pursue her Master’s and PhD in astronomy, she is feeling all the optimism inherent in being a hopeful Citizen of Earth when it comes to her burgeoning music career.
“It’s not that I choose to do it,” she says, “I have to do it. There are times in my life when I tried to give up music but it was always there, urging me to get those songs out of my head and share them with the world. I believe there must be a reason for it, so I am happy to put it out there and hopefully touch people for the better with it. I think what I enjoy most is that when I’m making music, I’m getting a deeper understanding about myself and life. For me, the key to everything is to continuing to stay excited and curious.”