Las Vegas soulstress, Arima Ederra, takes Starved for a walk down “Lover’s Lane” to discuss her Ethiopian heritage, growing up with a Funk Volume signee Dizzy Wright, and her new single “Old New School Love”. Arima even teaches us how to speak a little Amharic. Won’t you come and chill out with– the Aquarian, it’s all love.
Starved: Where were you born?
Arima Ederra: I was born in Atlanta, GA but raised in Las Vegas, NV.
Starved: When did you start performing?
Arima Ederra: I started performing at a very young age. Things like elementary school plays, recitals, and concerts.
Starved: When you first started performing were you anxious or nervous?
Arima Ederra: When I was younger, I definitely liked poetry much more than singing. I had a bad case of stage fright and unless I was performing to a small intimate crowd, I would lockup, repeat words, just not perform my best. It wasn’t until I was older that I was able to sort of conquer my fears and singing is one of favorite things to do now. Performing live is another form of art that I’m slowly but surely getting better at.
Starved: What is your connection to Africa? And how has it affected your life & career?
Arima Ederra: It is my blood line, the mother land, sacred, sacred land; where we all resonate from. I’m a product of refugees. My mother emigrated from Ethiopia to Greece while my father went to Sudan in a refugee camp. They met each other in Athens, got married and moved to the States. I’ve never met anyone more proud to be African than my father and since I was a young child he always made it a point for me to understand my roots, culture, [and] legacy. I don’t think I understood it much when I was [younger] but I appreciate everything he instilled in me, and am thankful for all of his teachings now that I’m older. I find myself being more inspired with my music through his wisdom daily.
Starved: Which, if any, African artists have influenced your personal outlook and/or musical taste? If so, which artists, songs, albums and how?
Arima Ederra: A few years ago I remember going to see Nas and Damian Marley perform their Distant Relatives concert live here in Las Vegas. Nneka was one of their opening acts and she really took my breath away. It was in that moment that I wanted to change the world through my music. Nneka has become one of my favorite and most influential artists that I currently listen to. The [Distant Relatives] album is really what did it for me. The album was really inspirational and will always be one of my favorites. Both Reggae and Hip Hop are two of my favorite genres, and bringing them together like that really opened my eyes to how powerful music can be.
Starved: How big is the Ethiopian community in Las Vegas? What is their reaction to your music?
Arima Ederra: The Ethiopian community in Las Vegas is relatively large but most haven’t heard my music or even know that I sing. The Ethiopian crowd here in Las Vegas can be very traditional so the younger people are really the only ones who know that I am actually pursuing music and they are extremely supportive.
Starved: After the debut of your EP, Earth To Arima, what tracks became fan favorites?
Arima Ederra: The songs that got the most responses were “Characteristics of an Aquarian”, “Questions”, and “Nature’s Commodities.”
Starved: What are your 3 favorite tracks from Earth To Arima EP? Why?
Arima Ederra: My three favorite songs are “Lover’s Lane”, “Characteristics of an Aquarian”, and “Mariana’s Trench.” I like “Lover’s Lane”, because it’s all about peace of mind. It is about reaching a state of peace and learning that love is what we breathe. I like “Characteristics of an Aquarian” because of the message it is conveying. It’s about humans evolving into a new age and new light. From the earth like production to the omniscient narrating through an aquarius’ eyes. And lastly, “Mariana’s Trench”, which has to be my favorite song on the EP if I had to choose one. I was at a pretty dark place when my father passed away last year and this song was my way of expressing that. [From] the deepest, darkest pit of the ocean and my heart.
Starved: Wow, I can’t wait to listen to “Mariana’s Trench” with that in mind. Your latest single is “Old New School Love.” What is the meaning behind that title?
Arima Ederra: The instrumental to “Old New School Love” has a classic feel. The song is heavily 70’s influenced but has a new flavor to it making the sound still old, with a new school twist; funk. When I listened to the track I fell in love with it. It sounded so vintage and felt so good, great vibes. With our new generation and altered mind sets, I feel like love isn’t a customary or typical subject talked about anymore, almost like voodoo. I wanted to bring back that feel, those emotions and heart felt sweet melodies.
Starved: Can we expect a visual for “Old New School Love”?
Arima Ederra: Yes, we are currently in the process of starting a video now.
Starved: Can we get any hints to the name of the next project or concept?
Arima Ederra: I don’t want to give away too much but the album is heavily jazz-influenced and gives a whole new vibe compared to Earth To Arima. I’m gaining new inspiration daily so I feel like this next project will be able to reach a higher radius of listeners.
Starved:Definitely. And you have a solid team behind you. How did you get hooked up with the Dirty Legends collective?
Arima Ederra: [I met Dirty Legends] through the greatness of our generation’s social media networking [capabilities]. I first linked up with Keese (co-founder of D.L.) via Twitter. He would show me some of the artists’ music and artwork and I was really down for the movement. I loved what “Dirty” stood for; raw, organic, uncut. They’re such a talented group of artistically inclined guys, not to mention how young everyone is. I was happy to be a part of the up-and-coming innovators and now we’re like family.
Starved: You were featured on Dizzy Wright’s new mixtape, The Golden Age. Tell us how the feature came about.
Arima Ederra: Dizzy and I have been long time friends, we actually grew up together here in Las Vegas. He usually invites me to his studio sessions whenever he’s in town and he just so happened to have a song for me to vibe to this time around. I loved that “Welcome Home” had a double entendre being that we are both from the same home town and Dizzy welcoming his father back into his life. I appreciate him for letting me be a part of his project.
Starved: What message do you want to send our readers?
Arima Ederra: Give love, be free, express the inexpressible and find peace in simplicity. Thank you all for vibing with me, one love.
Starved: I like that. By the way, what is your family’s native tongue? How do you say “peace”?
Arima Ederra: My family’s native tongue is Amharic and to say peace is simply “Selam”.
Arima Ederra: Selam.
Read what else Arima Ederra had to say on RapGenius.
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