The Only Arena's musical journey is one of versatility and integrity, showcasing a range of styles and a powerful voice that stands out.
The Only Arena ©2023
We have the pleasure to have her on Goathead!
GH: Hi, The Only Arena, it's finally a pleasure to have you here at Goathead Records! Can you tell us about your musical background and what inspired you to become an artist and a singer?
The Only Arena: Hi! It's a pleasure to be here.
At first, I was just a kid who loved to sing along to the Elvis songs that were played around the house, but when I started school at 5 years old, I auditioned for the school talent quest with "Puppet on a String" by Elvis Presley. The librarian (the judge) was so impressed with my audition that she organized for two 12-year-old students to act like puppets behind me. When I gave my debut performance with my "backup dancers," I absolutely loved every second of performing, and since then I haven’t stopped. As I grew older, I started classical piano, voice, and guitar and grew to love the classical genre alongside the music I grew up with: Motown, Rock n Roll, Disco, Rock, etc. As a teenager, I then got into a big band and immersed myself in jazz, which opened up my musical eyes even more. My training in both classical and jazz definitely made me appreciate those genres in their own right but also their contribution to the development of a wide array of genres across the years, and I wanted to become a part of that musical progression.
GH: Your new single "A Beauty Behind Glass" has a very unique sound, and your voice displays out a lot of palette and techniques. Can you walk us through your creative process in writing and producing the song?
The Only Arena: During the time I wrote this song, I was obsessed with Phillip Glass (the composer) and Virginia Woolf (the writer), both artists with works of very high intellect and integrity. I wanted to create a piece that carried the delicacy and intellect of their works while focusing on a theme that many people can relate to: mental health.
In terms of producing the song, I wanted the track to have moments of imperfection, as the lyrics articulate my own struggle with perfectionism and the anxiety that it creates. I wanted to replicate the vulnerability of this topic within the music through just piano, vocals, and strings with classical influences to create delicacy. To complement this, I made my vocal classical technique in some parts more prominent to have a fuller sound overall but also to support such a vocally challenging piece. I used a metronome throughout the piece as a form of symbolism to represent the constant "ticking" of the mind. Since all instrumentation was recorded live, it was impossible to attain perfection against a metronome, hence why I purposely kept small moments of imperfection—where the cello is slightly out from the metronome, or even a brief uncomfortable dissonance between the vocals and the strings—it’s all a symbolic representation to accept imperfection as a part of human nature.
GH: Your previous work has showcased a wide range of styles but it also has the ability to pinpoint and showcase your incredible vocal performances. How do you approach experimenting with different sounds and styles in your music and works?
The Only Arena:I know it may be frowned upon in the music industry to be so diverse, but I believe my versatility and fusion help to create my own niche sound and writing formula. I listen to all types of music and fall in love with certain sounds, productions, and techniques that I like to incorporate into my music to keep things refreshing and also interesting to myself as an artist. I will only ever incorporate a certain sound or technique if it feels right for the song; I’ll never fabricate something that doesn’t sound musically natural to me. In terms of my vocal performances, I like to keep things "dramatic" and always love a vocal challenge, but again, the melody and the vocal progression of the piece must feel natural, and I am very lucky to have such a huge vocal range to be able to articulate what sits best in the melody.
GH: As a performer, what has been your most memorable experience on stage, and why?
The Only Arena: There’s a lot of answers to this but the top three moments of my life has all to do with singing and my past performances. I would say definitely one of the best would have to be when I sang with a twenty-four piece Big Band at Sydney Town Hall a few years ago. The internal architecture of Town Hall, alongside with the acoustics, the 1,000 person crowd, the band, everything…was just incredible.
GH: With the COVID-19 pandemic, live performances have become increasingly difficult to organize and your powerful voice stands a chance to be soothing in these times of uncertainty. How have you adapted to this new reality as a musician, and what are your plans for the future?
The Only Arena: I definitely think COVID has had a residual impact on the entertainment industry, even if things have gotten better since a few years ago. The entertainment industry has always been challenging for musicians, but post-Covid even more so. Right now, all you can do is roll with the punches, and contrary to versatility being frowned upon by experts, versatility is actually crucial in opening the door for a larger variety of opportunities. Rather than just standing alongside the risks in a particular genre of the industry, versatility allows for a constant method of reinvention and opportunity.
GH: What message do you hope to convey to your fans with your music, and what can we expect to see from you in the coming months?
The Only Arena: My music is what I hope to call "the musician’s music." I put a lot of integrity and musical consideration into all of my work. My goal is for my fans to appreciate musicality over music, as they are two very different things. My goal is to continue to provide music of integrity and quality rather than focusing on being in the top 100 pop hits as an artist. In the coming months, my fans can expect to hear more new music of varying tastes and an EP.
GH: We can't wait to hear what's next for such a talented and young artist as you are, we are sure we will hear great things from you soon!
The Only Arena: Thank You For Having Me!
Don't Forget To Follow The Only Arena On Instagram And Listen to Her New Single "A Beauty Behind Glass" on bDigital Stores