Mostly I write about poets and poetry here on my site, but sometimes I like to interview musicians that I appreciate.

Recently I discovered a very intresting artist from the other side of the Atlantic ocean called Ari Mason, who is a vocalist, viola da gamba player, and producer based in Los Angeles. Her unique musical perspective and distinctive vocal timbre have shaped a body of work ranging from ethereal pop music to multi-part vocal Renaissance motets.

Hello Ari. First of all…as an old music journalist I was happy to hear something new when I discovered your music some weeks ago. I have a feeling you are going in 110% for the singing and music, am I right?

– Yes, you’re definitely right. For the most part, I am very deliberate in my musical and lyrical choices. I try to keep my production quality as high as possible without overproducing my vocals or music.

I also vary my sound a lot. I never want to make the same record twice. And when it comes to performing or recording, I think it’s crucial to have a plan for every note in a phrase. That’s a principle that was taught to me in conservatory by my teacher, Cathy Meints. The music I release reflects that principle.

For those who has not heard your music. How would you describe it?

– Around the time my second album came out, I started describing my sound as ”ethereal storytelling,” and I think that description holds up. Even when my music production veers away from ”ethereal,” my voice seems to bring it back to that sphere.

When did your started to get interested in making music and writing lyrics?

– I started asking for piano lessons when I was five years old. After a couple of years of begging, my parents got me an electric keyboard and lessons. I eventually wound up as a Historical Performance major studying the viola da gamba. A year before graduating from conservatory, I bought a midi controller and taught myself how to produce.

The lyrics came naturally because I had been a casual poetry writer since I was a kid, but I didn’t like having to rhyme. I had to turn it into a game to motivate myself to find decent rhymes or assonance.

How important is the lyrics for you in your music and in other music that you like to listen to?

– If the music is powerful enough, sometimes it can overshadow vapid lyrics, but I always prefer to write and listen to evocative lyrics. Poorly-written lyrics can ruin good music.

In my own songs, I prefer lyrics that physically feel good to sing. I try to be mindful about where I place the vowels and how I sing them, because they carry different levels of emotion and force.

Do your read poetry? And what poets do you like in that case?

– I love poetry! I have read quite a bit of it, as my father is a poet, but these days I don’t read much of it in my spare time. My favorite collection of poems is Shakespeare’s sonnets. I read those a lot growing up, and I’ve found myself coming back to them recently.

You are also a music producer. What do you think is the most important to think about making a career in the music industry?

– When you are hired to collaborate or work with others, always be on time, know your craft and your limits, be pleasant to work with, and know the value of your work. It’s often more lucrative to be great at multiple things than it is to be the best at one thing–and it’s more fun!

How is life in Los Angeles? I have never been to The US and I understand that a lot is going on there all the time. Is it like in the movies?

– LA is a huge, sprawling city with a massive number of people, so it’s true that there’s always something happening if you know where to go. I love the food, the arts, and the weather. I wouldn’t say it’s like the movies, though…cliché as it may sound to its residents, an accurate depiction of Los Angeles would require far more traffic.

Have you ever visited Sweden or Finland? And what is your impressions of those countries?

– I’ve sadly never been to Sweden or Finland. Those countries have such interesting languages and a fascinating relationship with nature.

And my last question for this interview. Which song of all your songs would you like me to link to this interview, so the readers of this interview will experience your personal favorite song.

– One of my more popular songs lately is ”Do You Believe In The Existence Of Extraterrestrials?” It’s a little strange and very danceable, which is a fun combination!