Interviews with Friends: Ariana on music journalism, mental health and moving to L.A.!

I catch up with Ariana, a friend who lives all the way in the U.S., unfortunately. We discuss her dream artist to interview, the beauty of connecting with people through music, and how makes sure she is prioritising herself and her mental health.

Interviews with Friends: Ariana on music journalism, mental health and moving to L.A.!

Ariana is a music journalist based in Long Beach, California. We met in February 2022, actually through Bumble! We bonded over music, the fact we had basically the same top 3 Lana Del Rey songs (Venice Bitch, Radio, and Brooklyn Baby were I think what we decided on democratically). We were both studying at Queen Mary University, although Ariana was only there for a semester; moving back to San Diego to do her last year of uni a few months later in June. 

After we finally got to meet up again last month, I asked her if she’d like to be interviewed for Voice to talk about post-grad life. With an eight hour time difference between London and Long Beach, our interaction was limited to text, but that didn’t really detract from the interview, given our friendship. That’s how, in addition to her work, we ended up speaking about the States (not actually a real place IMO), Ariana’s love for Frank Ocean, and how she’s adjusting to post-grad life.

When you were studying at Queen Mary, you took Biology and Film. I’m so jealous that students in the US get to take such different courses at once! I know you didn’t like Bio, but is a career to do with Film something you’d be interested in?

In the States we have lower division general ed classes that allow us to explore a bit more outside of our majors and can even make us change majors. I didn’t love Biology, but I did actually end up finishing the major while pursuing a minor in film studies. Overall though yes I think a career in film is something I’d enjoy, definitely something behind the camera though.

I know that something you’d really like to pursue is a career in music journalism. What made you want to go into music journalism in particular?

I think that learning the meanings behind some of your favourite songs in the ways the artist had intended is something that can make an album or song you enjoy that more special. There’s this interviewer Zane Lowe that really creates a special intimate bond with these artists, allowing them to express their vulnerability with these songs that can be so special to them. Being able to connect with someone and their art is something that is so unique, and not always an everyday experience, and I feel like that can be so important.

Who would be your dream musician to interview, and why?

This might be a little biassed considering he’s my favourite artist of all time, but I’d definitely have to say Frank Ocean. While he is such a private individual, especially nowadays, his music has been one of great influence to other artists, while also speaking to the heartbreak, loss, and love that is a part of the human experience. I think with interviews of course there’s always the questions that need to be asked, but not always the gratitude that sometimes needs to be expressed. If I were to interview him - dream scenario - I’d have to say thank you for helping me, and most definitely many other people, to get through the rough patches of life, and everyday life too.

What’s next for you now that you’ve graduated? How have you found not having uni anymore, that transition from studying to full-time work?

No uni life has been nice but also anxiety inducing. I feel like I’ve been so accustomed to doing schoolwork that not having it anymore leaves me with this time where I’m like, “What do I even do?” I have a full time coffee shop job lined up and I’m moving to LA, so that’s my plan right now while I scout the web for any jobs I’m interested in. But the post-uni stress is real.

How do you balance making this time, when I feel like, especially during my last year of uni I experienced this, we are encouraged to be taking on more and more all the time?

For sure. I do think there is such a high expectation of what we should be doing and how much we should be handling, but of course everyone is different, and I wish there was a better system to adapt with that. However, I think the only way to truly balance time and such is making sure you are okay. What I mean is that it’s gonna feel more difficult to be in the right headspace to take up all these tasks when you are stressed or anxious. Something I like to do when I’m feeling anxious is to listen to music or read, to just prioritize myself.

How do you think you’ve grown in the past year? Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to see you in person once this year, when you were staying in London last month, so l’d love to know!

As you know my mom died last year while I was in London. As sad as it is, I do think that tragedy does make us stronger. For me, I’ve always been an independent person but this past year I feel like I’ve grown in my independence and also in my social skills. Being someone who suffers from mad social anxiety, I do think I’ve put myself out there more, and am learning to do that while also putting myself and my mental health first.

Lastly, what would you say are you most looking forward to in the future?

Honestly, everything. Since I’m moving to a new city, I feel like I do not know what to expect but I’m kind of excited about that. Shocking, cause I’m usually a person who likes to plan as much as possible.

Header Image Credit: Ariana in London finally after a year for The reunion


Eleanor Cox

Eleanor Cox Intern

Eleanor is a journalist based in East London, currently completing an internship with Voice. Eleanor has recently completed an English Literature degree, so she can give you recommendations of very depressing books that she loves and has analysed to death, if you like. She also loves art, gigs with friends and chaotic baking. And her chihuahua, Ace.

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