By Paula Araujo
Photo by Jeremy Hobbs
“Stay true to who you are” is the best advice aspiring pop/R&B artist Ilana Armida has been given. These wise words are something she wholeheartedly applies to her everyday life. In an industry that is known for its fabrication, Ilana confidently stands her ground and has no doubt about who she is or where she wants to go from here.
In her brand new EP Iridescent Flower Child, Ilana showcases her soulful energy and vulnerability. The title for the record came about in a brainstorming session with her cousins in which she realized it not only fit perfectly for the theme of the record, but it also accurately embodies her as an artist. She explains, “The word iridescent signifies when something appears to change color when looked at from different angles. This concept alludes to my multiple dimensions and ideas that I communicate through the EP. Flower represents growth both as an artist, but also as a person and a woman coming into my own. Child is used to symbolize two things: one is keeping things playful and not taking everything so seriously, but also remembering my big dream that I had as a little girl and staying true to who I am.”
Ilana describes her musical influences ranging from Aaliyah to Alanis Morissette. R&B circa the 90s is an influence that is predominantly heard when listening to the album. Tracks such as “Dreams”, “Still Down For You”, and “Sweet Freedom” give off those similar vibes reminiscent of that era.
“You Got What I Want” is a song unlike the rest. It begins to drift away from the R&B sensation and dives into the pop atmosphere, while the production still gives it a taste of nostalgia. It is the grooviest tune in the entire body of work. Ultimately, Ilana wants to create music that makes the listener want to dance and this track does just that. She states, “I just want people to be able to relate and have music they can really feel and dance along to.”
One of the stand out tracks is “Pretend”, a bubbly feel good song that Ilana has held onto for a few years. The track is also her favorite off the EP. She knew when writing it that it was something special, and she wanted it to get the proper studio treatment. She says, “The idea for ‘Pretend’ came about from personal experience a few years ago. I knew that the song had potential to be great I just didn’t have the resources to make it what I wanted it to be. It wasn’t until recently when I started writing for IFC and I really got invested in the production side of things that my producer Josh Holiday and I were able to complete my vision.”
Singing and producing aren’t the only things Ilana is involved in. The EP is released through her very own record label, Eastpark Entertainment. Ilana grasped how to run a label during her time in college as a part of the student-run record label. Even with the skills and knowledge, pursuing this dream has had its hardships. “The most challenging things have been doing mostly everything myself. So much goes into the creative process and then the branding, marketing, planning, and the shows. It’s a lot of work but I love what I do.”
Ilana is remarkably driven and determined. This entire journey, and specifically the process of creating this record, has taught her a lot about herself. “I learned that it’s important to be genuine and create music that feels right to you. No one but myself, the producer, and engineer heard anything until the EP was finished. I wanted to create something that was genuinely me.”
It’s incredibly refreshing to listen to a singer like Ilana not only in terms of her music, but overall as a creator. It’s admirable to see someone not only tackle one side of the industry, but multiple aspects of it in order to gain a fuller understanding of things. In doing so, it truly makes her shine as a stronger musician and artist because of it. She is poised and authentic to not only herself, but to her music and her fans.
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