Canadian singer-songwriter, Ari Hicks, returns with ‘Sucker’, an empowering single focused around the essence of free love, and the constraints society places on women’s sexual freedom. It marks the artists first release in close to 12 months and adds to a portfolio driven by personal, yet distinctly relatable issues. Propelled by a production style that’s dark, with a futuristic edge, ‘Sucker’ centres around Ari’s slick, mesmerising vocals. Flipping the script on male-centric narratives, the single is a salacious anthem that’s as playful as it is infectious: an emboldening track that represents her most self-assured release to date.
For fans of the artist, ‘Sucker’ offers the first glimpse at her hotly anticipated debut album It’s Not That Deep, set for release in the fall. Guaranteed to take Ari’s ability to tell relatable stories and run with it, the dark pop siren looks set to draw the listener into her very own fairytale world. It’s an aspect of her artistry she looks set to finesse on the project, with each single the artist embodies a different character – from fairy tales, folklore and supernatural beings, familiar stories will be explored with an ‘Ari’ twist to create a complete visual album.
From discussing issues around sexual freedom, social stigmas, and the artists ‘witchy’ take on dark feminity, it’s a project that piqued our interest, and we had to learn more about it. You can read all about Ari’s journey and creative approach, below.
Hey Ari! Congratulations on your new release! How did your creative path lead you into the music world?
I spent most of my life trying to wrap my brain around how the hell I was gong to actually turn my love for singing into a career. I feel like most little girls, especially with the Hannah Montana era, wanted to be a pop star at some point. As you get older though, the dream becomes less and less realistic for most. I honestly think I was extremely lucky to have actually found my way to music professionally. Through originally just posting videos here and there on socials and the right people seeing them and believing in my talent, a kind of snowball effect led me to the position I’m in today.
You’re now two years into your journey, how have you found things so far?
I’ve been recording and writing and dipping into music since the end of high school, but only truly became an official artist when I started releasing music about 2 and a half years ago. If there’s one thing I quickly learned, especially being independent, is that this job is NOT easy. I am so fortunate to be able to pursue what I love, but it is not without its struggles. Finding yourself and your sound as an artist is the first and most important step in my opinion. My next piece of wisdom would be to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with a team of people that you genuinely trust and that genuinely believe in you. It can make or break everything. That is one area In which I know I am lucky.
What’s the inspiration behind your new single ‘Sucker’?
The inspiration is basically just the message “girls are allowed to just wanna have fun, it doesn’t have to be that deep”. I think men are primarily used to having the mindset of wanting casual encounters, especially sexual, and are almost taken aback by a woman wanting the same. This song is just meant to be a fun reminder that women can want whatever they want, and that means that sometimes we too aim for casual sexual encounters. I know right? How shocking!
The song’s message is one of rejecting societies sexual stigma’s, asking if such freedom is allowed for a man, then why isn’t it for a woman? What spurred you on to write such a song, and do you think such a message should be more openly discussed?
That day I wrote the song, I had been dealing with a situation that was relative to the subject matter of sucker. I think the response I’ve got most often from expressing to a guy that asks what I’m looking for romantically is shock. They get so caught off guard by a woman saying, “Ya, I don’t want a boyfriend, just looking for something fun and casual” so straight forward, or even at all. I hate that women are constantly slut shamed or looked down on for being open and honest about their sexual needs or even lack there of sometimes! Sucker is a reminder to not take everything so seriously, and especially to all my ladies out there, to own your power. Never settle for anything less than what you know you need or want, even if it’s just a night of fun with someone that excites you. Have at it!
How directly has such a stigma effected you throughout your life? As a woman, is there a sense of never truly feeling free to express yourself?
Yes 100%. I think unfortunately the burden is almost always placed on the woman to be or be looked at a certain way. We’re almost always “responsible” for the blame of a situation. I’ve been on both ends of that spectrum, where on one end if your wanting a relationship or something serious and it doesn’t go that way, it’s your fault for misunderstanding. However more recently I’ve been on the other end of not wanting anything serious and the burden being on me to constantly reiterate that to boys that think they can just change my mind for their benefit of getting what they want. What a woman wants is always secondary or seen as something to be challenged. Either way it’s usually us that has to deal with the brunt of B.S.
The production is spearheaded by a dark and futuristic style that’s has quite the impact. What influenced this style?
I think one word that’s been consistently used to describe me my whole life has been “witchy”. I personally love that I give off that energy, and I think a kind of dark, sensual but fun style of music perfectly embodies that as well. When writing and recording I noticed as I grew into myself more as an artist and as a person, I was gravitating towards that style more and more. “Dark femininity” is my new favourite phrase to describe the area of music I’ve been tapping into, and I’ve loved every second of it. I think it’s such an empowering style and area to create in, and the more I created on my album, the more I knew this Is where my music is supposed to live.
How does ‘Sucker’ reflect the sound of your forthcoming album, It’s Not That Deep?
I know I mentioned this previously, but I honestly think that the name of the game for this energy was “dark femininity”. Each song on this album is rooted in that kind of fun, sexy, magnetic energy. I love that more and more women are tapping into that and owning their power. That’s something I myself feel like I‘ve started doing and most definitely wanted to reflect in my artistry and music.
Can fans expect to see you on stage performing your new material later this year?
Hell ya they can! I’ve honestly never been more excited to perform a set of songs than what I have coming out this year. I’m in the process of locking in some shows over the next couple of months, and you will most definitely be in for a treat with the INTD soundtrack.