Shaping her own music career

After reaching out to her cousin, former Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila, and piecing together the words and music, a Diamond Bar High School senior has released an extended play album. 

With the help of Avila, who owns a music studio, and studio engineer Anton Soder, Ariel Cardona released her first EP, “Life in Motion” in May. Her father helped her figure out the financial aspect of producing and releasing an EP. 

Cardona’s love for music began in her elementary school years. From playing around on her toy piano and asking her grandmother to write down song lyrics she heard when she was six, Cardona said she knew that she wanted to pursue a music career. As a child, she looked up to several celebrities who encouraged her to make music of her own. 

Having taken inspiration from many sources, Cardona mainly credits Grammy Award winning artist Taylor Swift for sparking her interest in songwriting. 

“She has a way with words,” Cardona said. “Everything that she writes is just super catchy.”

With the help of Soder and Avilia, Cardona said she began her composing process by working out the lyrics first, using the guitar to better formulate the overall vibe of the EP. Afterward, they moved to production, which Cardona described as the most meticulous part of the process, since every sound effect in the EP was created individually.

“Each instrument has its own track and you have to make sure everything’s perfect and everything fits into the right place,” Cardona said. “We went through a lot of different instruments—guitars, synthesizers—to get the right sounds.”

The pop album consists of three songs: “Life in Motion,” “I Won’t Look Back” and “Better Days.” Cardona said that the EP expresses the importance of leaving the past behind in order to enjoy the present and look forward to the future. 

“I wrote the songs during my high school years, so a lot of the concepts were pulled from what I was experiencing at the time, but then sort of took a life of their own and became something everyone could relate to,” Cardona said. 

Despite having a busy schedule, Cardona produced the EP with Avila and Soder by managing her time so that composing did not interfere with her academic career. 

“Whenever we would meet it would tend to be on the weekends or after school when I didn’t have as much to do,” Cardona said. 

In order to consistently practice music, Cardona sought out the resources DBHS had to offer. Commercial music caught Cardona’s interest in her freshman year. She began working with them in her sophomore year, which helped her gain the experience needed to improve as a musician.  

“I would practice in the commercial music room,” Cardona said. “But I also just like to sit by myself and play guitar and learn songs.”

 Cardona has performed at the Orange County Fair in addition to gigs with DBHS’ Commercial Music band. She’s scoping out open mic night opportunities in Fullerton and Los Angeles to introduce herself to a larger audience and potentially gain more recognition for her EP.  She said she is hopeful for whatever the future has in store for her and intends on composing music for as long as possible. 

“I’d like to take these songs and…continue writing and producing more music and then hopefully, eventually, it takes me somewhere,” Cardona said. 

“Life in Motion” is available on popular streaming platforms such as iTunes and Spotify. Her Instagram, @iamaricard, consists of updates regarding her musical journey.