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An Interview with the Star of Duane Park Holiday Cheer: CSSMA's own Aria Anjali!

Do you hear what I hear? On Thursday, December 8th, from 5:30pm - 7pm Church Street School for Music & Art and Brooklyn Friends will partner up with Friends of Duane Park to bring you an evening of music, community, and holiday fun during the Holiday Cheer Winter Concert!


The evening's festivities will include live musical performances, delicious festive drinks and treats, and a sing-along of beloved holiday classics! Best of all? CSSMA students Aria Anjali and Fiel Alvarado (read Fiel's Interview here!) will be headlining the event and showcasing their immense talent during this can't miss evening of music.


Ahead of this concert, we decided to sit down with Aria to discuss her musical beginnings, inspirations, and more. Keep scrolling to learn more about Aria Anjali and get excited for this upcoming can't miss evening of music!

 

Aria Anjali

Aria Anjali Performing During CSSMA's 2022 Gala, The Event

Q: What inspired you to start singing, playing the guitar and piano?


Aria Anjali: I honestly can't remember. As long as I can remember I've been singing; it just seems to be a part of me. I've always loved music. My dad was always playing music either on his guitar or on the stereo. I did a lot of things with music before I found my niche as a songwriter. I sang in the National Children's Chorus for a couple of years. I acted and auditioned for Broadway and off-Broadway plays. (I was in a show called Master of None and on Sesame Street). I took some piano lessons when I was 5, but I kept playing on my own and, before I knew it, I had gotten pretty good and was writing songs.


Q: On what instrument was your first music lesson at Church Street School, was it on piano, guitar, or voice? Do you remember any details of what it was like and how you felt?


AA: Actually my first introduction to Church Street wasn't in a lesson; it was at a virtual open mic during the pandemic. I played a couple of my songs and Lisa [Ecklund-Flores, founder of CSSMA] and the whole Church Street Community were really welcoming. Lisa invited me to play at The Happening that year and it was a lot of fun. I've always played piano by ear but I wanted to learn guitar. Wilson was the first music teacher I really connected with. He is an insane guitar player and a really great teacher. He showed me how experimenting with interesting chords could lead to great compositions. Equipped with new techniques, I remember feeling really inspired and excited to create music. The minute I got home, I went straight to the guitar. Wilson had taught me the guitar parts of one of my favorite artists: Jim Croce. Through this, I learned helpful finger-style techniques that I often use in my songwriting. Over the past year, my guitar playing has improved immensely. I really enjoy how personalized the lessons are. Wilson used some of my favorite songs and my own songs to help build my guitar skills. The lessons are built around what interests me, which makes them really fun!


Q: What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?


AA: Music allows you to express yourself. It is a way to share your thoughts, ideas, and feelings with the world. It can inspire and resonate with people in a way that a normal conversation just can't. It's incredible that words and melodies can have an impact, no matter how small, on someone. Music is like that small voice in the back of your head that suddenly becomes loud. This is why I love it.


Q: How and where do you get inspiration for writing your songs?


AA: Sometimes, the lyrics just come to me out of nowhere. I get inspired by books, things I learn in school, current events and just from thinking. Everything and anything can be an inspiration! It's really great when a whole song comes to me at once, but usually I have to fiddle around a lot to get it just right.


Q: What are some of your hobbies or interests outside of music?


AA: To be honest, I spend most of my free time on the keys or guitar, but I really enjoy painting, drawing, spending time with my family, and learning Bharatanatyam, an Indian classical dance.

 

Help CSSMA continue to inspire the artistic growth of young musicians like Aria! Donate to our 2022 Annual Appeal and help us raise $100,000 by December 31st.



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