Not Your Average Sad Girl – Interview with R&B Singer, Aeriel Scott
When R&B singer, Aeriel Scott, was 8 years old, she found her voice in front of the lights and stages while her shyness attempted to keep her from living out her fullest potential, “I would go on stage and nothing would come out because I’d be so nervous. But I’d be like, I know I can do this because I was just singing in my room and I was great!” Ever resilient, she decided that fear wouldn’t be the gatekeeper to her dreams, so she leaped, “I had to force myself to be in uncomfortable situations and basically get over it.”
The 25-year-old artist is no stranger to overcoming the discomforts of life. After graduating from Belmont University’s commercial music program with a dual degree, she knew she had to, “do more than just sing,” in order to standout in the one of the world’s largest entertainment capitals, Los Angeles, California, which she also calls home. “Music is only about 15% of it,” she says, “You really have to get out there and learn how to manage yourself... because if you can’t get that together you won’t be heard.”
Still, Aeriel’s voice transcends. In January, the singer-songwriter released her debut EP entitled, Sad Girl’s Club, a five-song project that chronicles her journey through heartbreak and self-love reimaged. How does one join the Sad Girl’s Club, you may ask? “Anyone who’s willing to stand up and respect themselves, letting it be known that they aren’t going to put up with just anything can be a member.” Well, I’m in.
Being that you’re LA-based, how has your experience been getting your music heard and making a name for yourself in the industry?
So far, I feel like it’s been going relatively well when you put it into prospective. As a new artist, it’s all about numbers and making sure that you can get yourself out to enough people. Luckily, being in LA, just in my hometown, there are so many people I can reach out to to get myself out there. The only negative part to living in LA is that it’s one of the entertainment capitals of the world, so sometimes it is harder to be heard. But I’m fortunate to be here and didn’t have come here from another town and figure out how to adjust.
Do you think the concept of, “It’s about who you know,” has helped you during this time?
Yeah, I would say that. It’s so funny because that phrase has changed so much for me as I’ve been getting more into the industry and pursuing music professionally. When I used to think about [that phrase], I would go straight to, “Oh, it’s about knowing the record executives and getting that ‘in’ in the industry,” but I think it goes deeper than that. Not saying I’m a perfect person, but there are artists who don’t treat people right and who aren’t the most professional.
When it comes down to who you know, another side of that is making sure that when you’re making connections with other artists who are coming up with you that you’re a good person to them. In LA, people think they’ve already made it even though they just have a strong hometown base. I’m not anyone yet, but I’m starting to see that people don’t have to keep you around so you have to treat people right.
Right, because if you burn the wrong bridge, there could be someone in your place just like that, tomorrow.
Exactly! If you think about it, people like you and me are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. So if you burn the wrong bridge even now, people remember that.
As the official president of the Sad Girls Club, how do you choose your members? Why make a project for “Sad Girls?”
[laughs] That’s hilarious because I came up with the title when the EP was pretty much done. I felt like the name and the songs on the EP were just an expression of the younger me. I would be talking to guys and stuff would happen that would make me upset, or angry, or I felt like I had to suppress stuff because I was dealing with the wrong people and they would make me feel like I shouldn’t be angry in a situation.
There are so many girls who feel that if they want to get a boyfriend they have to put up with their stuff. For me, post-college dating – especially in LA – the dating scene is terrible out here and I would find myself talking to someone for however long until I just left [the relationship] broken. I just kept seeing this happen to me and my friends and it bothered me. So when I was writing all these songs, I was like, I can’t even front, I’m sad! And that’s kind of where it’s coming from, just not hiding how you feel about these situations.
Listening to you music, I was like dang, girl, you’ve been through it! But I can totally relate! Especially in “Selfish” – how the main theme is about doing all you can in a relationship and it not being reciprocated, then realizing you have to go and do you. In what ways have you decided to choose yourself?
Over the past couple of years, I have really learned that with dating especially, we should at least be friends at the core. Now when I look at things, I think to myself, would I treat my friend like this? Or if my girl-friend did this to me, would I be upset? And if the answer is yes, then we might as well cut if off right now. [laughs]
What’s one of the best lessons you learned from you worst relationship?
When I was younger and something didn’t work out with someone, I would always jump to the conclusion that, “They’re such a horrible person,” but recently I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not even about them being a bad person, some people are just not compatible. Incompatibility can manifest itself as pain. When you try to force something with someone you’re not compatible with, it’s never going to work out in your favor. So you just have to think, am I really compatible with this person, or do I just think they’re fine.
What song do you connect with the most off the EP and why?
Hmmm... no one’s ever asked me that. I would say that with the place I’m at now, I connect with “Good on Ya” more. I mean, I connect with all of them, but with that one, I feel like that’s where I’m at now. That song is pretty much about knowing when not to let someone back in who doesn’t deserve to be. Especially right now, I still have so much growth to do, but when you start posting your success, people start to think you’re doing well, and come out the woodworks, so I’ve definitely had to ignore some people and be like, “nah, I’m good.”
As a young R&B artist, what’s your take on the current state of R&B? It’s changed a lot from the 90’s-early 2000’s that we grew up on.
R&B is having a major resurgence. Just think about how we have SZA, Kelani, and Jhene Aiko, who are getting really big even though they’ve been making music for a while. I’m glad it’s happening, because I think there was a point when people thought that R&B was dead.
I think there’s enough space for everyone. I don’t like when it comes to female artists – even though there’s a billion rappers – every time a new female artist comes out people think there can only be one. I think it’s about defining your own space. I’m always thinking towards how I can build my brand to set myself apart. The good thing about the R&B artist who are getting big right now is they all are so different and that’s great because it shows that R&B isn’t just one thing.
What message do you hope your fans take away from your music?
I would hope that my fan base stays true to themselves and takes up for themselves. I do write from experience and unfortunately, a lot of what I do write I’ve never gotten to say to these people, and it’s not like I’m saying anything crazy, but I hope it inspires people to know their worth.
For more information on Aeriel Scott, and her endeavors: check out her new EP, Sad Girl’s Club, and follow her everywhere per the links below! Leave a comment and show some love for real R&B.