Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Review

It's been such a long week for me. I am ridiculously exhausted, but with a new sense of being. I have pushed myself to the absolute limit everyday and I feel stronger for it. Refreshed even. And very motivated.

I was up last night thinking about the music industry and all the politics that go on underneath it all. I recently read a review of my CD 'To Make it Make Sense' in Penguin Eggs Magazine. You can view it here. It was definitely not a big confidence booster that's for sure, actually the other way around. And the strangest part about the review is the fact that my music isn't even the issue that is discussed. It seems to me that when 'Scott Lingley' received my CD, he took one look at the picture on the cover and made an instant judgement about my character based on my purple hair and 'auggie'. Haha I guess it serves me right to send my CD to a folk magazine to be reviewed. But even still. I dyed my hair that colour on purpose. I wear fun make-up and neat dresses on purpose. I don funky boots on purpose. Not because I want to be something big and exciting, but because that's my personality. And I am unafraid to be myself and bend the rules. I'm not trying to be profound when I'm writing my songs, I just write down what I feel and make sure it holds some truth with me. Music shouldn't be about fitting the cookie-cutter sounds, it should be about originality and expression - the way it used to be. But please, read the review, I would love to hear your thoughts. :)

On a side note - I have improved a lot on the snare drum which is extremely exciting for me. I don't really know how much better I'll get - probably not enough to play a whole drum-set. No, I'll leave that to the pros. But hey, at least I can keep time.

diddy of the day: I wear socks to bed and in the morning I wake up with bare feet. I kick them off when I fall asleep.

fact: My parrot sleeps in a tent.
fiction: I sleep in a popcorn.


  1. Hey Ariana,
    I know you wont remember me, but we met back in August 2009 at the Friendship festival in Simcoe ON. I was the production assistant working with Sara Veldhuis. I had also heard you once before, in Port Dover at the Perch Gallery with Mary Simon. I read that review, and I think, like a lot of people invading the world of art, Scott Lingley is suffering from a case of pretentiousness. They think they know the goals of the artist, their intention and purpose, when really all they are are assumptions.

    I think you are talented and wonderful. Your music reflects the spectrum of who YOU are, and I don't feel a forced profanity in your lyrics, I hear the search for honesty and truth.

    Keep doing what you're doing, and I hope I'll run into you again soon <3

  2. Hi Ariana, I read the Scott Lingley review. It's kind of brief, isn't it? He obviously likes using the portentious word "hyperbole" a lot (definition of hyperbole: a figure of speech which greatly exaggerates the truth). ;-) Well, here's what I think...if Scott Lingley had seen you perform live doing the very same songs, he'd probably have liked the overall effect WAY better than he did sitting somewhere in his office or home and listening to a CD. Most performers come across 10 times better live than they do in the isolated experience of listening to recorded music, specially if they are emotionally expressive and communicative people who enjoy the experience of performing in front of other people. And you are.

    If I'd simply heard your music being played on a stereo and not seen you perform live first at Mariposa and at the theatre in Orillia, I might have hardly noticed it. It might not have caught my attention. But when you see a live performance it's a whole different thing. It lifts the songs up to a much more powerful level, and you can relate so much more directly to the entire experience. I love seeing live performances by other musicians so much...but I spend very little time any more listening to recorded music...I'd rather play it myself or see it done live than listen to it on a CD.

    Quite aside from that, yeah, he was probably prejudiced against your outward "style" in some way, because it's not "folk"...and he is probably annoyed about all the promo you've gotten at such a young age, so he decided to take a shot at you.

    I'd give it very little thought. Snotty, pretentious reviewers are always out there (specially in the "folk" idiom), and they are a real pain, but you can't let it influence what you're doing. Just keep doing what you naturally love doing, play the way you want to, write the way you want to, do whatever makes you happy, and your own audience will naturally find you. And they won't care what Scott Lingley has to say about it. He's nothing to them.

    Here's part of the lyric from a song I wrote some years ago:


    "You can't please other people
    No matter how hard you try
    They might be happy for a moment
    But then the moment's gone by
    You can't climb up a ladder
    When that ladder is made of air
    You can't bring down the Berlin Wall
    With just a wing and an honest prayer

    It's a hard thing to remember
    It began such a long way back
    You've been walking through this lonely world
    Just trying to keep on track
    Looking for one gentle heart
    All you find is broken stones
    You watch as all of value falls
    And the rich man stands alone"


    It's part of a long lyric that sort of moves from personal stuff to more societal stuff as it goes. I'm really talking about my own experience in the song, the futility of spending my energy in the hopeless task of trying to please various demanding people who simply WILL not be pleased unless I were to negate and deny my own real being for them...and even then, hell, they'd only be pleased for a moment or two. It's useless. You just have to do whatever you know is right for you, whatever gives you joy. The people who can relate to and understand it will find you, and the others obviously don't need to find you...nor do you need them to find you! ;-)

    The "rich man" who stands alone is anyone out there who thinks his many possessions (money, fame, and material stuff) are enough to make him happy and get him through. They're not.

    Best wishes,

    George Coventry

  3. ahhh crap lol... I realized that I mis-wrote something: "I don't feel a forced profanity in your lyrics" was supposed to mean/say that I don't feel you trying to be profound in your lyrics lol.

  4. Yeah! That was really funny. ;-) It's profundity you meant to say there, not profanity. No one would accuse Ariana Gillis of making records with forced profanity in least, I certainly hope not!

  5. Hi Ariana - I'm sure there are good reviewers around, but generally they're a waste of space - the unknowns are trying to make a name for themselves by being edgy and the best-known ones are frightened of not being edgy . . . Just my opinion, but for what it's worth I've been listening to and following popular music for forty-odd years, and I think your album is pretty special. Three or four tracks really stand out, but there's nothing on there that deserves this critic's self-aggrandising twaddle. You have a voice that might polarise opinion, to an extent, but that's true of anything distinctive and a lot that's successful. Hasn't done Neil Young a lot of harm - keep at it!

  6. Scott Linley - pretentious git. Loved the blogpost - and the photo! - Dinah