Arika Kane‘s name may not be familiar to you now, but if you watch VH1, you’ve definitely heard her voice. Kane, whose music defies genres (she’s a mix of pop, R and B, and soul) has had her songs featured on shows such as What Chilli Wants, Basketball Wives, and Single Ladies, but she scored big this season when her single “Make It” became the theme song to Hollywood Exes. We spoke to her this week to find out more about this independent Connecticut-based singer-songwriter who tells us she refuses to sell out. You can purchase her music on iTunes, connect with Arika on Twitter and Facebook, she tells us she loves to hear from fans, and she’ll be going on tour this fall.
You have a strong VH1 connection already, having had your music on several of our shows, but how was “Make It” chosen as the Hollywood Exes theme?
I know that VH1 had access to both my first and second albums and the songs from my music library, but specifically in the case of Hollywood Exes, I think it was a case of the right song with the right message for the show, that’s my intuition, I honestly don’t know how it happened! But once they told us they chose the song, we were like, wow, it must be an inspiring show with a positive message, because that’s what “Make It” is.
Inspiring and empowering women is definitely a big theme here, especially that show and Single Ladies where you’ve been featured heavily. I hate to say your music is about girl power because that’s very Spice Girls—
Women power! Exactly. I think that TV and my music seem to be a wonderful fit, the radio isn’t so much about playing music with substance, it’s more about what’s selling, what’s the hottest dance record, the hottest artist, but for me it’s always been so much more than that. Actually having my song placed with a visual and a reason for the song is awesome for me.
How did you get your start?
I’ve been a singer probably since age ten, but finding my own way has been the key to where I am now. After high school, I went to college for a year at Eastern Connecticut State University, but I wasn’t big on school. I wanted to please my parents and do what everybody wanted for me, but luckily they also supported my music, they’re musicians themselves. So now they’re so happy that I stuck with my goal. When I decided to take my career really seriously, I left college, got multiple jobs just to pay for studio time, and just tried to network with producers and writers. Fortunately about four years ago, I was introduced to Lou Humphrey who is the CEO of my now-label BSE Recordings and ever since then we’ve kinda both had the same vision and as a label we embrace that, we’re all about originality and bringing it back to the music.
As an indie artist, do you feel any pressure to write more pop music knowing that the industry loves a big pop song with a good hook, or would you rather focus on what you love to do?
I’m an all or nothing person, so when I put my heart into something and I go after it, I can’t back down, so everything I do as an artist has to be meaningful in some way, or be positive or be affecting somebody else in some way. I’m not gonna sell out. That could be why it’s harder and harder to be heard, but because of the music alone. I have such a strong fan base of people who actually want to hear good music.
Are you on Twitter and Facebook? Do fans get in touch with you when they see your name in the credits of the shows after your music plays?
Oh yes, all the time! (@ArikaKane) I love Twitter, it makes my day because sometimes I’ll be having the worst day and everything will be going wrong and I happen to check my mentions on Twitter and maybe Single Ladies or Hollywood Exes was on and people are just so happy to hear my music and want to know about the rest of my music…It’s just very encouraging knowing that it will all happen eventually.
It’s already happening!
Yes, it is currently happening.
If you could collaborate with an artist who would you love to work with?
Alive or dead? Just kidding!
Well, who would be on that wishlist?
Well, when I go to the other side, I’d love to work with Michael Jackson. I feel horrible that I will never get to meet him, I’m just a fan of what he stands for and what he tried to do with his music. He was such an inspiration to me. Living, definitely Babyface. When I look back on it, he pretty much wrote or produced every song that I grew up listening to. I think there’s something to be said for a really great producer who embraces who the artist is instead of turning it into the producer’s own sound. I think Babyface is one of the greatest songwriters and producers who knows how to embrace what an artist has to offer.
Last question, here at VH1 we’re very into the Song Of The Summer, so what’s your favorite?
That’s a good question. “Somebody That I Used To Know.” I turn off a lot of the radio, but when that song comes on, I can’t do it, it’s great. It’s a throwback. There’s so much music in it.