Christine Ariya is a singer based in the Inland Empire region of California. How I first got familiar with her was when I wrote an article on this platform for Tru Speech’s Getting Out of Bed Is Hard. She was featured on my favorite track, Wednesday and another track on that project, Sunday. Christine Ariya is also one part of a band in that area known as Eclectik (@eclectikmusik on Instagram). In the middle of December, she was featured in Fox’s I Can See Your Voice hosted by Ken Jeong from the show Community and The Hangover movies. The premise of the show is to find out who between several characters are good singers or bad singers. The contestant goes through rounds of seeing the characters lip sync and win money along the way. The Instagram post below from Ariya’s page is when she helped a contestant win one hundred thousand dollars.
Jay: Please expound more on the I Can See Your Voice experience. I know that you made your family happy as their little Beyoncé (per the family) made it big time on National Television. If you’d like to expound on how that opportunity happened, please do so. If not, can you describe how the recording went with the other singers?
Ariya: One of my friends sends me applications to different singing competitions and I usually decline them because I’ve done every single one of them except for American Idol. It’s all for ratings. But when she sent me the link for this one, it didn’t seem like a competition at all. Plus, I felt bad for always declining so I submitted my video auditions, had a few interviews and I was chosen! We filmed back in July, we were one of the first episodes after COVID so each secret voice were secluded. Everyone I met during rehearsals and filming were absolutely amazing! It was a really great experience! After my episode aired, all the good singers from the whole season created a group chat and the support between every single person is unmatched. They’re literally family now.
Jay: On your Instagram, you had posted a snippet with Problem who has features with Wiz Khalifa, Eric Bellinger, and E-40 to name a few. Was Problem an artist you wanted to work with or did that session come about spontaneously?
Ariya: The session with Problem was very last minute. OhGoshLeotus, the one who played the keys, was asked if he knew any female singers and he immediately thought of me and gave me a call! Even though I grew up listening to Problem, he wasn’t an artist I’ve always wanted to work with. Being a singer, I’ve always wanted to work with other singers. I think I can speak for every vocalist on that.
Jay: During a pandemic, artists had been finding new ways to make money and improve their brands outside of tours. Some examples are the Verzuz battles, Travis Scott and his Fortnite Concert, the Gritty City Records collective here in Richmond hosting a live show on Twitch to give back to local hospitals and the youth, and more. How did the lack of shows affect you as a creative as well as the band you’re in Eclectik?
Ariya: Honestly, the pandemic catapulted my drive for music! I quit my job the first week of July so I can pursue music full time and ever since, I’ve been a part of many opportunities. I’ve been getting voice over work for commercials, I did the Problem session, Cam Archer’s Barking Owl Session, and many more! However, it did effect my band gigs. After the COVID cases started to die down, we booked a few casino gigs and were able to pick up a residency at Decades Bar & Grill in Anaheim, but we haven’t been able to perform at our usual places. So I miss that. Especially all of our fans and connecting with people. It’s just not the same for someone who’s a hugger.
Jay: As a woman of color, do you find any barriers or challenges traversing through a music career?
Ariya: Honestly, I haven’t faced any challenges as a woman of color in this industry. It’s mainly just being a woman. You hear so many stories about females being asked to do various side tasks in order to climb up the scale. But as a woman of God, I refuse to build my success off of anything outside of my talent. Quite frankly, black women have been succeeding more in this industry than I’ve ever seen before and I’m living for it!!!
Jay: What’s one habit you can add to yourself and one habit you can take away from yourself?
Ariya: I’m a procrastinator. Like, a horrible one. So if i could change one thing it would definitely be my procrastination. As far as a habit I want to acquire, I would love to write more than I do now. I’ve always struggled with having confidence in my writing. Now that I’ve been actively writing music, I have a new found appreciation for my growth. So I want to continue to stay one this path but also continue to elevate.
Jay: What would be your dream collaboration and who are some artists or bands you would like to shout out?
Ariya: My dream collaboration would be Brandy, Stevie Wonder or Lucky Daye. Brandy, because she’s had the most influence on my life from the early stages of my singing career even until now. Stevie, his writing is impeccable. The way his music makes you feel is indescribable. Lucky Daye, He’s one of the freshest faces of R&B with one of the smoothest sounds of today. I saw him live in concert, read his backstory, and fell more in love with his artistry. That man’s voice is BUTTER!
For my shoutouts, I have to start with God, of course! He’s the reason for ALL of my accomplishments and my gift of song! I would also love to shoutout my band, Eclectik! They have helped my stage presence and overall performance tremendously! OhGoshLeotus for producing my whole project and connecting me with Barking Owl, shoutout to them too! Jay Kasai, for being my creative partner and letting me bug him with questions at any hour of the day!