Q and A with the lovely, Arum Rae.

The last couple weeks singer-songwriter, Arum Rae has taken the time to go back and forth with me to put together this interview including photographs of her performing and some of her favorite music, besides her own. Arum Rae was born in Colorado Springs, went to college in Boston and upon finishing, moved to Virginia. After making Austin, TX home for a bit, she decided on Brooklyn as her home base. However, she spends most of her creative time back in Lexington, VA where she has a cabin and her family surrounding her. As she puts it, “It’s hard for me to stay in one place!” Continue reading below to learn about some of my favorite songs of hers and how they came to be AND a peek into her musical world.

“Waving Wild” is a windows down, hair shaking driving song. Did you know that? If I had a convertible, which I don’t…I have a Subaru Outback, I’d roll the top down and probably drive with my hands in the air. Unsafe, but necessary to fully enjoy this song. What do you do when you listen to “Waving Wild” and what inspired it?  

🙂 I love the thought of you in a convertible, free from your Subaru… cruisin with no hands. Although we haven’t ever met I can visualize this! “Waving Wild” was inspired by someone I had met … nothing happened between us but I was dreaming of being in love and set free by their love  aaaand I also had Beyonce in mind.  I love the way pop / r&b songs are written and so I thought it would be cool to do that but with different instrumentation.

Do you still make music under the moniker White Dress or is that part of your past only?

Yes I retired the name White Dress in 2012 I believe. When people would tag my music they would use my name … I wanted to hide behind a moniker but then just learned to embrace my name.

Along those lines, “Shake.” This song is SO rock and roll and, like the other songs on your EPs, very different in production, instrument and sound than most or all of your tracks as White Dress. I’m so curious about the transition you took personally and as a musician from White Dress to what you’re doing now.

I just think as artists, well let me rephrase that, as humans, we are constantly evolving and changing. “Let’s Shake” was recorded the same as all of the other songs on Waving Wild EP. So to me it doesn’t stand out but that’s interesting. White Dress was so experimental for me. I was in completely new territory living in Austin TX and playing rock music like that. I’ve always been a singer but didn’t experiment so much with indie sounds. It was fun but I am still searching for the bull’s eye…. my artistic pearl. These days I am closer … so that’s a relief.

I noticed that the song “2001” off of the ‘Warranted Queen’ EP and “Colfax Town” off of album ‘Virginia’ when you were still White Dress are extremely similar/the same! What is the story here? I’ve seen artists re-invent songs before and I always wonder what the motive behind it is.

You are the FIRST person to ask me about this! Basically the producer I was working with had this beat and asked me to try a song like ‘Colfax Town’ over it. It took some convincing but then I thougth it was cool. I still am tempted to reinvent a ton of songs just because I feel like I could do them better now that I am older but probably should just focus on new music and let the other songs be.

I hear folk, rock, pop, blues, soul and so many other genres in your music. How is it possible for someone to be able to successfully create so many different genres of music? Do you have a favorite genre that you feel most comfortable in? And/or, what genre is your root or beginnings as a musician?

That’s very kind of you to say. I grew up singing everything from Patsy Cline to Koko Taylor and Muddy Waters to serious jazz songs like Moody’s Mood For Love. In college I sang the hook vocals for rappers in New York City. And my favorite all time vocals are Nina Simone and Bob Dylan. So I am influenced by so many sounds. Primarily anything that is honest is pretty inspiring for me. I don’t know that I have a favorite genre… my favorite genre changes with the weather 🙂

Along those same lines, how would you describe you style/sound?

I don’t know.

“Warranted Queen” was recommended to me by a friend to listen to and that was how I heard about your music and completely fell for it. Did you know “Warranted Queen” was going to be a ‘hit’ as they say?

No not at all. That song was pretty old as well. I never performed it because I thought it was boring. But now I enjoy it.

“I’m Smoke” packs a punch, “Something’s Happening to Me” does, as well. These tracks especially are extremely fiery. Where does this come from?

It comes from that aggressive side that we all have… that just wants to freak out. Do a crazy dance, a full body shake! We all have that in us.

I’m curious about your band! Are these musicians you’ve played with before and are you responsible for some of the instruments we’re hearing?

 “Waving Wild’: I had my friends come in: JJ Johnson on drums and Johnny Bradley and Dave Monsey on bass. They’re amazing musicians and people. On that EP I played all of the other instruments. Pretty much any music I release I play the guitar and then if I can’t hack the other parts we have gotten someone in.

Now for what ARUM is listening to. She gave me 10 songs of her choosing. Five of them are in a playlist format and the other five are Youtube videos. It’s not all that often you get an ear full of what your favorite artists are listening to. 

Finally, check out these photos of Arum Rae performing. Maybe someday we can see/hear her, here in Bozeman! Show her some love and maybe she’ll come visit.

Thank you again to Arum Rae for answering my questions! Click here and scroll to her name to find links to her music. 

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