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Ariana and the Rose.

People always ask me, “When did you know you wanted to be a performer?” “How did you get started?” “What was the moment you knew?”…I can’t remember.I’ve racked my brain for this one defining moment where all of these pieces of a puzzle came together for me, and I thought, “Yes! I’m a performer!”

The truth is, the only thing I’ve ever known, the only thing that stays consistent for me after 15 years of performing is how it feels. How it feels to effect a room of people. To bring them together, whether its a class of dancers all moving in unison or a concert where I get to stand on a stage and see the music wash over an audience, that is the feeling. That is the thing that hit me and has never left.

I believe art can unify the world. I wouldn’t consider myself a consummate optimist, I’m a New Yorker after all, but I do believe in that. A song, a film, a performance, can unify a room. For a split second, strangers feel like they know one another and the differences that can so often divide us can, for this one moment, disappear. I believe art can bring the best parts of us to the surface and in a few magic cases, inspire to share the hidden parts of ourselves with the world.

It can expand our souls, so we’re 10 feet tall and open otherwise closed hearts. It can surpass language, upbringing, and even religion because ultimately, it’s a feeling. A feeling, which keeps us listening to the same song on repeat and watching a movie we’ve seen a hundred times.

That is why I am a performer; because I want to be apart of that feeling. I want to create a space for people to find that for themselves. I call myself a performer rather than only a musician because ultimately, that feeling comes for me when I give my art away. When the song is released, or the show is happening, when the audience gets to have it.

I believe art can be thought-provoking and smart and accessible. It can be fun and joyful and serious and intelligent, all at the same time. It can be complex because the most touching performances can be contradictory, just as we are.

I don’t think I always knew why I had to make music or put on a show. Because honestly, it’s hard. And often the road feels long with no rest stops in sight. But what I know, is that everyone needs a place to step off of their road, to have a place just for themselves and the best art provides that. I want to provide that. To make the place, the song, the show, the experience that allows someone to fill themselves back up again.

So for one second or minute or hour, we’re not strangers barreling down our roads, we’re a collective, all feeling that same thing that doesn’t just get us through, but makes us feel completely alive.

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