Ari Abdul | Media Inspires "CCTV"

Her newest EP explores life beyond her personal experiences

Written by

Cerys Davies

Photographed by

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A commanding reverb, dark imagery, and an entrancing voice are all essential elements to Ari Abdul's sound. The 22-year-old singer songwriter only recently tapped into the music scene in 2021. Having grown up around wide variations of music from hip hop to classic rock and metal, she was quick to pick up a guitar and start creating her own path, but slow to begin releasing it with the world. It wasn't until she was encouraged by her closest friends and family members that she realized she had a sound worth sharing.

The moment her song, "BABYDOLL," hit the internet, it was immediately deemed a TikTok hit. With over 200M streams on the different versions, the Brooklyn native  found herself with a song that resonated with millions. Given the success of her first single, Ari doesn't foresee a stopping point. As she finishes up her first ever tour, "Hellgirl," she speaks to us about her tour rituals, how she relaxes, and inspirations for her newest EP "CCTV."

If you weren’t making music, what would you be doing? Was music always your passion?

I’m honestly not too sure what I would be doing if I wasn’t making music. Perhaps something creative, I was designing and screen printing my own clothes out of my garage before I started music. Maybe design or fashion would’ve been it (not that it still couldn’t happen). Since I was young, I always knew I wanted to do something creative, but never in a million years did I think it would be music. Of course I have always loved music and being a fangirl or playing guitar. However, I didn’t discover I could sing until later in 2021.

Are there any particularly strong memories that inspired tracks on this album?

Each song on this project has a story that’s both influenced by the media I find fascinating and my own self. One of my favorite memories regards Bite Marks. The song wasn’t planned whatsoever and so naturally came about while walking in the streets late at night in LA. It was the first track we made for the project.

How has being born and raised in Brooklyn informed your sound? What’s the scene like there?

Growing up in NYC has definitely been such a chaotic yet beautiful experience that I’m so grateful for. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned as a New Yorker is that I can really create whatever I want and shouldn’t care what people think. In my head, the biggest rule of New York is that you mind your business and move fast. This has allowed me to create songs that can be dark, real and experimental but also what I love.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your lyrics?

Most of my lyrics come from the inspiration of the media I consumed my entire life (which was mostly dark) and my own experiences.

What was the last concert you went to?

If festivals count, Lollapalooza! I performed on the Saturday but I got the chance to hang for all 4 days and see all my favs at their sets. I literally cried watching Lana close the final day.

What do you do to relax?

Keeping it real, I hang out with my cat whenever I want to ground myself and relax.  She brings me so much confront and we listen to music together. I’ve had my cat since I was 3 years old.

Do you have a pre-show ritual?

My pre-show ritual lately has been drinking lots of water, jumping all around and hanging out with my team backstage. I love them all so dearly.

What was the last album that made you cry?

I love this question because music always moves me. The last album that made me cry was Lana’s last album. It was "Let the Light in."

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Ari Abdul, CCTV, Slumbo Labs, RCA Records