Up and Coming: Ari Villaroman on Finding Inspiration
Manila/ Vibe/ Artists

The Beat Manila’s Up and Coming: Singer-Songwriter Ari Villaroman

TBA Up and Coming Ari

The Beat Manila’s Up and Coming is a bi-weekly series where we feature rising talented artists from the Philippines, giving them a platform to share what they’re passionate about and to promote the music they (and us too!) would love for the world to hear. Do you want or know someone who wants to be featured? Email us at [email protected] or slide through our DMs on Facebook or Instagram!

We all know how nerve-wracking it can be to step out of our comfort zone. The fear of things not going the way we want to, the fear of what other people might think and say, the fear of rejection and how things won’t be the same again afterward — it’s a lot to take in, especially if what we’re about to challenge ourselves with is something we’re deeply passionate about. But, as they say, it’s better to give it a try than regret not giving it a try at all.

For this week’s up-and-coming artist, The Beat Asia had the chance to interview Marikina-based singer and songwriter Ari Villaroman to talk about how she overcame her shyness, her biggest inspiration in life, and her newfound appreciation towards music.

Hi Ari! Can you give our readers a short introduction about yourself?

Hi. I’m Ari Villaroman, [a] singer-songwriter from Marikina, Philippines. I’m passionate about music and on the side, I’m also a registered nutritionist-dietitian and a third-year medical student.

Ari Villaroman
Photo by Ari Villaroman

Can you tell us what pushed you to pursue making music?

Even before, I enjoyed making song covers. It started from there. Looking [back], I know that during those times, deep down I already knew that what I really wanted to do was to make my own music.

Actually, recalling it now, I’ve had numerous memories of starting melodies or lyrics in my mind. However, [they] never came to me as a whole and I couldn’t seem to piece [them] all together, so I didn’t give much thought into it. Not until last 2020, when I decided to step out of my comfort zone and explore the part of me that wanted to make music which listeners could relate or even just vibe to. 

How was creating your first song like? Any stories about it you would like to share?

A little backstory: Back in September 2020, I had this feeling of infatuation towards a friend. Thinking about how I never confessed out of fear that we were never going to be [the] same again kept me up at night. Which is why during those times, I mindlessly kept writing about it to express how I felt and [to keep me calm]. Until such a time, I realized that I composed my first draft out of it.

One day, JC Torio, a longtime friend of mine, messaged me and asked if I would be interested to make music with him. The excitement was surreal and right away I thought of the draft that I already had. When I tried to incorporate it with the beat that he gave me, like a match made in heaven, it was a perfect fit. And the rest is history (laughs)! Lowkey was made.

Did anything change in your life since you started releasing music?

A lot! As a listener, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation towards music and other artists after learning about the complex processes that a song undergoes before it’s released. On the other hand, as an artist, it helped me build my creativity and learn more about myself. It helped me grow [and] reach new heights, and it continues to surprise me up to this day how I’m actually capable of doing all these things which I thought that I couldn’t do before.

Who are your biggest influencers in life (or music)?

I have to say that my dad serves as my biggest inspiration, especially when it comes to my music career. If he was still alive, I’m sure that he would be so happy to witness all of this. He was always so supportive of me ever since I was a kid. I remember how he would always encourage and hype me [up] whenever I get so shy to participate in jamming or open mic sessions. Having said this, I realize now that I owe it all to him — all the achievement and milestone that I’ve accomplished so far. He believed in me, and he taught me to be confident in what I can do. 

What piece of advice can you give to someone who wants to pursue music? 

I [missed] a lot [of] opportunities because I grew up very shy, and I was held back by my fear of what other people might think of me. I remember how when I was a kid, instead of enjoying it, I spent more time thinking whether the audience liked the performance or not and if I did well.

This is why my advice to those who want to pursue music is to GO FOR IT. Start today and don’t wait until you get old before you realize that you’re ready to showcase your talent. Grab every opportunity even though it may not look promising at first. Take the chance and who knows, it might eventually lead you to achieving your dreams.

Ari Villaroman
Photo by Ari Villaroman

If you could collaborate with or open a show for a specific artist (local or international), who would it be and why?

Denise Julia and Fern. are definitely on my list in terms of dream local collaborations. For international, it would be some of my most favorite artists — H.E.R, SZA, Ella Mai, Sabrina Claudio, Kiana Lede, and Kehlani! They are my inspirations when it comes to music.

We just listened to "Got Me," and it was a nice song! Can you tell us how you came up with the lyrics?

I was on a study break when I first wrote the draft of this song (laughs). “Got Me” is about wanting something so bad for such a long time. And when you get a hold of it, you will do your best to keep it under all conditions, no matter how challenging or difficult.

Do you have plans to write and release a song in Tagalog in the future?

Of course! 2023 is a year of exploration. I want to try something new this time. Ayip and I actually just released our new song “Akin,” which I enjoyed making. It’s my first Tagalog song and definitely not my last.

What's next for Ari Villaroman? Any future projects or gigs you're participating in soon?

Definitely more songs and collabs with wonderful and talented artists this year. I also missed making video song covers, so it’s something to watch out for this year.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. To know more about Ari Villaroman, follow her on Instagram and Facebook. You can also stream her music on YouTube and Spotify.

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