ariadne mila Reflects on Authenticity in, "not then"

The Filipino-American pop artist and singer-songwriter ariadne mila releases a lush and vulnerable end-of-summer single entitled "not then."

One can easily recognize the sounds of ariadne mila through her smooth and relaxed pop music that drifts through anyone's speakers like a daydream. Influenced by acts like Avril Lavigne, Lauv, Taylor Swift, FLETCHER, and many more, ariadne mila continues to hone in on her craft while preparing to release more music in the coming months.

Sending us into an introspective state with her latest single, "not then," ariadne mila and her ethereal sonics bring an immense amount of heart and passion while reminding us to stay true to ourselves with every endeavor. This song truly feels similar to an evening drive into the sunset, as ariadne mila's vocals and her accompanying sonics are as lush and transcendent as these picturesque experiences.

Expanding on the single, "not then," the song gently opens with a haunting vocal chop and smooth piano chords alongside a shimmering keyboard melody that sets the passionate and relaxed tone. As ariadne mila's warm and airy vocals enter the song, she begins to describe the state of being intoxicated by someone's presence.

As we dive deeper into her lyricism, ariadne mila expands on an essential factor of relationships: never losing oneself in the process, where she later reflects on times where that seemed unattainable. As the calming sonics carry us to the outro, ariadne mila closes the listening experience on an empowering note that reminds listeners to live their unapologetic lives and allow themselves to be loved for being nothing but authentic and genuine.

Feel your heart flutter with help from ariadne mila's meaningful single, "not then," now available on all digital streaming platforms.

We truly appreciate such a relatable and empowering single like "not then." Was there a particular moment that inspired you to write a song based on your experience with losing yourself in the course of a relationship?

Thanks so much! I'm glad the song resonated with you and felt empowering. I don't know that there was anyone moment in particular; I think the song kind of came to me at a time when I was thinking back on past relationships and friendships that ended, and how different I was back then during those relationships. I think for a long time, I was someone who felt like I needed to put my own needs last. I think so many girls and women are just inundated with messages from so many places--our families, the media, society--where we're kind of implicitly taught that we need to be these selfless, sacrificial people in order to be loved and accepted. We'd see women celebrated for being helpers. Or, we'd celebrate women who like, days after giving birth or something, were back on their feet, working and taking care of everyone--rather than being taken care of. It was like women weren't allowed to have any needs of their own; they had to be superheroes or or the ultimate givers. And there's nothing wrong with being supportive or with helping--but that's not the same thing as being taught that a woman's value (aside from how she looks) is in how much she gives up and how much she sacrifices on her own expense.

So I internalized a lot of these messages and it reflected in the way I used to navigate relationships. I'd put my needs last. I'd apologize for things that weren't my fault; I'd take the blame for things that weren't my responsibility. I let people cross my boundaries because I was afraid that if I stuck to those boundaries, I wouldn't be liked or accepted anymore. But when you start putting yourself last and stop advocating for yourself, you lose yourself. It took me a long time to unlearn a lot of this thinking, and relearn how to put myself first, how to honor my boundaries, and how to not feel guilty for it. And so when I wrote this song, I was thinking a lot about those relationships, and by choosing to leave them--and how I wouldn't change the fact that I left, how I no longer feel bad for leaving, even if at the time, I did feel guilty for leaving. Because I realize now that I needed to leave those relationships where I was losing myself, or where I wasn't true to myself and my needs, or relationships that I wasn't ready for. And I needed to be on my own, to get to a place where I could recognize my self-worth, and honor my boundaries, and make decisions that felt authentic to myself. And getting to that place, where you know that putting yourself first is ok, where you know that setting boundaries and sticking to them is ok--is so much more important, and makes everything else worth it.

Was it empowering or therapeutic to write such vulnerable lyrics for "not then"? What was your songwriting process like when reflecting on such heavy and emotional themes?

It was definitely both. Songwriting, for me, has always been a form of therapy. It's been kind of an emotional outlet for me. Songwriting has always felt like a safe space for me to say whatever I'm thinking or feeling--whether I'm angry or heartbroken or happy. So it definitely felt therapeutic to put into words what I felt like I was carrying around in my head for so long. It's kind of like, you carry with you these feelings and ideas in your brain, but when you actually articulate them, you can kind of recognize why you were feeling the way you felt, and you also feel this sense of relief. You can identify the feelings you carried around; you can process them. Writing this song was also really empowering. It was like, this reminder to myself that it's ok to make decisions to protect yourself, to protect your peace.

My songwriting process varies a bit each time. With "not then," I actually went through a few iterations on the lyrics before finally feeling like it was finished. I had an idea of what kind of song I wanted this to be, and the chorus came together pretty quickly, but I went through different versions of the verses--some versions were really specific, others were similar to the verses in the song now. I think a challenge with this song was like, how do I authentically capture my experience and my thoughts, while also keeping this universal? So it took a bit of time for me to find that balance, with some lyrics that were maybe more specific to my experiences, and other lyrics that felt a bit more universally relatable.

Did you work with any producers when creating the sonics for "not then"? How did you want the production to make listeners feel?

I did work with producers when creating the sonics. I always start each song with chords, melody, and lyrics. And when I was thinking through the production, I definitely wanted something that felt more upbeat and empowering. I love late summer-like, August is my jam. There's something cool about how it's kind of a transitional month between summer and fall--it feels like one of those months that marks some kind of growth. And this song is about personal growth, so it felt fitting for this to be a late summer song. And sonically speaking, I wanted the vibe of the song to reflect that late summer feeling--kind of chill, winding down, but still soaking up the last bits of sun. Like, we're a little upbeat, we can still dance--we're maybe not partying it up at the club, maybe we're chilling at the beach at sunset instead, but we're still celebrating our own self-growth.

Do you often write such vulnerable and honest pieces like "not then"? Are reflective songs like this a staple for you?

Definitely. Honest and vulnerable is the only kind of song I feel like I know how to write. Songwriting is kind of like journaling for me. I love to write about things that feel important to me, emotions that I want to let out, things that I feel need to be said. And songs I gravitate to the most as a listener are also songs that are reflective and honest and vulnerable. Songs are a way to say something that you need to say. And when I think of what I have to say, I want to talk about feelings or thoughts I have, where I'm like, "I can't possibly be the only one who feels this, or who thinks this." And so, when someone else says that they relate to a song I've written, it kind of helps both of us feel a bit more seen and a bit less alone.

What's next for you?

So my next project is one I'm really excited about. It's a song called "Firecracker," and it releases August 26, on Women's Equality Day. The song is under a project name called This is Fine!, and it's a collaboration with Daylen Brinkley from the band Citizen Badger. We're both big into activism, and for me personally, I'd always wanted to expand my songwriting into some more social and political commentary. So Daylen and I began writing songs that voiced our ideas around social issues. And it's so cool because we both feel like we get to use our music to help inspire positive change. And I love getting to combine music and activism into something that hopefully resonates with others and feels empowering in other ways. So I'm really excited to share Firecracker, and we've got some other cool stuff in the oven that I can't wait to share too.

As far as my own solo projects, I'm always writing and I've always got a few things cooking. I'm currently working on some new songs to release in the upcoming months that I'm also really excited to share. I've been reflecting on things like mental health, resilience, moving past things, and of course, relationships (both the good and the bad!). And I can't wait to share my thoughts on these through my songs.