I had the chance to meet a young lady by the name of Arika Kane, while on Manhattan’s Upper West Side one evening. She was the headliner for the final Friday series of Maria Davis Can’t Be Silenced Talent Showcase at the Sugar Bar. It’s a showcase that brings out the best undiscovered talent in the New York City area and gives them a plateau to perform their music in a live venue setting. Some of today’s favorite artists have even been discovered at this event. The evening usually includes a headlining artist – typically someone who’s signed to an independent recording label or just emerging on the major label scene. Arika Kane, who is signed to independent record label, Big Score Entertainment (BSE) Recordings – was in town that evening performing her hit single, “Why Did We Fall N Luv” along with three other selections (“Bcuz I Luv U,” “Rock With U,” and “Never Really Knew U”) off her self-titled debut album due for release in July.
From first glance one might mistake this girl’s look for former Danity Kane member, Shannon Bex; but don’t get it twisted! Arika Kane is the new definition of what’s considered the ‘total package artist,’ and she does not require four other girls as backup to complete her sound. While off-stage she possesses a humble personality, on-stage a whole different persona takes over. Many have compared her sound to Teena Marie, in which Arika has graciously replies, “It’s a comparison in certain ways. However I do feel like I like to dabble in other genres and I have my own style and own way in writing and singing. But it’s definitely a compliment.” What really makes Arika her own entity is her ability to infuses Neo-soul with a little Hip-Hop and some Pop to create something musically that only Arika Kane could pull off. She has just the right amount of appeal both vocally and physically to reel in listeners of all genres to her sound. “I don’t put myself in a box – good music is good music! That’s what I want to give to people,” as Arika informed me during our time interviewing, after her highly praised performance that evening.
Born and raised in Connecticut, Arika Kane was destine to write and sing songs before she even was fully out of diapers and could hum! See, for this starlet, making music is in the genes. Arika was not the only ‘musically inclined’ member in her family growing up. “My father is. He’s been a songwriter since he was really young. When I started to grow up a little bit he kept putting in my head, ‘“You should really try to write. Write your words and your music and melodies. I know you can do it.”’ I started doing it and it made me more motivated to see how far and how much better I could be.” A talent that she’s obviously crafted very well for herself throughout the years thanks to Dad, Arika still writes to this day. “I’m constantly writing. It’s just a great experience to write. Most of my songs on the album are cool.” In addition to her father playing a major role on the influence of her musical development, she also accredits some of her favorite artists as well to her success. You don’t have to travel far to find out who these people are, just check Arika’s iPod! “You’ll find some Ciara. You’ll find a lot of India.Arie, she’s one of my favorite, FAVORITE artists! You’ll find Shania Twain. Even though she’s a country artist, she has a beautiful tone in her voice and I’ve always loved her songwriting. And you’ll also see a lot of male influences like Jagged Edge and Dru Hill. I love artists that have their own style and their own sound.”
The road towards Arika chasing her dream of performing has not always been an easy one. Before landing her contract with BSE Recordings, Arika had to find other means of making her voice heard. One of those means was social networking web site, MySpace. In actuality, Arika is advocate for the web site and what it can do to help emerging artists. She feels, “I believe MySpace has definitely has helped me. Before I was ever signed or ever had any opportunity that was my only way, so I can’t really knock it because it definitely helped me connect with people, meet people and just promote myself.” Arika continues by saying, “I think it’s great that everyone’s able to promote themselves. However it does make music a little less personal. So I think those things (social networking web sites) help.” Arika also is no stranger to making many sacrifices and has enduring many struggles to rise to the top. While some people might think that its easy as 1-2-3 to break into the music industry, real artists such as Arika Kane know from first hand experience that thoughts like that are ludicrous. “After high school I decided to take this thing seriously because I felt like I couldn’t have it any other way. I really wanted to be an artist. I wanted to make my stamp in music. I was kind of on my own. I went to college for a half of a year and absolutely hated it so I worked tons and tons and tons of jobs to save up money for a car so I could just go to the studio, or travel closer to the city,” says Arika. “I moved to Bridgeport two years later and just kind of grinded it out. The biggest problem or struggle that I had and am still facing is being a female in the music industry. It’s a little bit worst. You really want to make sure that you come across correctly,” she continues by saying “It’s a little more risky. So I would say being a female is a struggle to me.”
Now bring things up to date to present day. The first single off the anticipated self-titled debut album is Why Did We Fall N Luv. Arika says she chose this song as the first single “because it’s a very powerful song musically and lyrically that fires off expressions. And also its personal situations that women go through or can go through and learn.” Her debut project features production credits of Louis Humphrey, the CEO of BSE Recordings. “I’m also involved in some of the producing as far as my vocals. That’s going to be noticeable in a lot of the music along with Louis Humphrey for the album,” states Arika. “On my album I want to reach people, I want people to really feel me and see the direction I am going.” The album isn’t even out yet, but Arika is already receiving rave reviews based on her released singles. In North Carolina alone the single, Bcuz I Luv U has been hot on the radio stations. So radio shows and performances are an automatic in Arika and her team’s means of promoting what’s to come. In addition, Arika is already on iTunes and CDBaby with the singles and soon with the album for digital download. While that’s cool with Arika she feels, “Not many people go to the stores anymore and buy the singles or buy the albums, they download it – which is cool, but you kind of miss that looking at the cover and reading about the artist you know what I mean.”
It’s going to be amazing to see where this young lady is in ten years. She has the drive and enthusiasm to be as successful as the Christina Aguileras, Beyoncés and Lady Gagas currently dominating the music Billboard charts. With a team behind her to make sure she’s on point with every marker, she’s going to go far. And what might this ‘legend in the making’ have for newcomers who need words of encouragement? “The advice I would give is work really, really, really hard and put yourself first. There’ll always be negativity of someone trying to crash your dream or bring you down but take all the negativity surrounding you and use it as motivation to achieve your goals. That way you’ll be happy in the end.”
Listen to Arika Kane “Because I Luv U”