Ariel Petrie has been playing music since the age of eight and writing her own from the time she was thirteen. She graduated high school a year early and at the age of eighteen, was on X-Factor USA.
With her recent move to Nashville came her latest E.P., Magic; a collection of upbeat, catchy and meaningful tracks that transport the listener to a certain time in their life. Ariel’s music is relatable and you can almost see the music video in your mind while listening. “Magic,” the title track off the E.P., is the perfect windows-down-on-a-spring day song and you’ll find yourself belting along after a single listen (or at least that’s what I did).
“I actually didn’t even want to audition for X Factor,” Ariel explained when talking about the moment she realized she wanted to pursue music as a career. “My mom set it up with a friend in Chicago and when we got there, they told me the auditions were happening. It was winter in Chicago, so it was freezing! Long story short, I auditioned and got four yes’ and made two out of three of the ‘boot camp’ rounds. From that point on I thought, ‘I can do this,’ and it sort of catapulted things for me.”
Being in Nashville for about eighteen months now, I wondered if the city had met Ariel’s expectations.
“After X Factor I began working on my first E.P. with a producer who worked a lot with Disney artists and early Boyz II Men. He began telling me about the difference between the music scenes in cities like L.A. in Nashville and I quickly realized that Nashville was a songwriter’s town. My husband and I moved here and it has blown my expectations out of the water. I couldn’t grasp my head around what people used to tell me about the networking down here – I’m from a small town of 2,000 people so it didn’t seem possible to me, but now I see what they meant. I met my producer Scott Faircloff through a friend who then introduced me to a engineer, who knew someone who could master the E.P., it’s crazy but everyone seems to know everyone,” she laughed.
Ariel says her latest E.P. is the first radio ready set of tracks she’s put out.
“I had my first E.P. at eighteen, or nineteen, right after X Factor and that’s what I had when I moved down here. I kept hearing how Lightening 100 played local artists but I felt like I didn’t have anything I would want played on the radio; nothing that really showcased me,” she explained. “I made the financial sacrifices for this latest project thinking, ‘if I’m going to do it, I have to do it right.’ I sort of saw where I wanted to go and where I was and made up the difference.”
“I didn’t really co-write before I moved down here unless it was with my mom,” Ariel confessed. “I used to be so embarrassed about the fact that I song-wrote with my mom, but now I’m like, ‘my mom is amazing, if you want a hit hook, go to Becky Petrie.” I have five more years experience in piano theory than lyric writing, so usually for me it’s lyrics that come first and I build the melody around those.”
As far as being inspired with her music Ariel says her mom is her biggest personal inspiration.
“She is amazingly strong, but still gentle.”
In regards to her musical inspirations Ariel models her stylization after that of Sara Bareilles and Hayley Williams.
“Anything by Adele!” Ariel quickly responded when I asked if there was a song she’d heard lately that she wished she had written. “Of course with my own music I have my babies that I don’t ever want anyone else to sing on, but as a songwriter I’m always so curious as to what my songs could sound like if Adele or Hayley’s voice was on them.”
If you’re in the Nashville area for good, or just visiting within the next month, you’ll have plenty of chances to hear Ariel live and in action. Her and husband, Josh, who I also had the pleasure of meeting during our chat at Frothy, will be playing an acoustic set at The Basement (right next door to this blog’s favorite coffee spot) on March 14th from 9-11:30 p.m.. She also has a set at Puckett’s Downtown location at 8 p.m. on March 21st. I’d suggest freeing up your schedule on both, or at least one night, to see this lady give her all in a live show!