Interview: Paradiso Girls
Wed, 08 Jul 2009 08:23:36
Paradiso Girls Videos
"I was born five minutes from Dracula's castle," says Aria Crescendo of Paradiso Girls through a stunning smile. "Be careful! When there's a full moon I become a vampire [Laughs]."
Blood-sucking aside, the sultry, spunky and sexy French-born Aria fronts the hottest new girl group on the international scene—The Paradiso Girls. Her vibrant vocals can be heard all over the airwaves on the Girls' breakout single "Patron Tequila (Featuring Lil Jon)." Right now, Aria and the girls are in the process of finishing up their fall debut, Crazy Horse [Interscope]. They're also prepping for a big club tour.
However, in between draining victims' blood, rehearsing and writing, Aria and Kelly Beckett sat down with ARTISTdirect.com for this exclusive interview.
Why is "Patron Tequila" so—for lack of a better word—intoxicating?
Kelly: It's such a crazy song! Polow da Don produced it. As soon as we heard it, we knew it was a Paradiso Girls song. You need a group that's really fun and lively to carry that song off. We love the song because it's not just a club song. It's truly about having fun, letting your hair down and not taking yourself too seriously. I think that's fundamentally what our group is about.
Aria: It's a party song! The whole album is amazing. We've been working with so many great producers like Will.i.am and Cee-Lo. Will is one of my favorites. The second single is going to feature Will and he's going to rap on it. The first single is unbelievable though. I used to have a T.V. show in France about yoga and what you can do to be healthy. It's very contradictory because now I sing about "Patron Tequila" [Laughs]. I don't drink alcohol though. The song is about having fun, getting on the table and dancing all night without drinking. I only drink blood. No alcohol, blood! Sometimes that happens on a full moon! [Laughs]
Your sound is really unique because there are five very different personalities in the group. Do you feel like all of you all have a chance to shine?
Kelly: That's exactly how I feel about it. We have three lead singers—Chelsea, Aria and Lauren. You can tell Aria sings because her French accent comes out. Lauren has this soul about her. Chelsea is like our little belter because she's got this really powerful voice. We're creating our own sound. In our live show and on some other tracks, Shar actually raps. I'm also DJing. Everything helps create a new sound.
Aria: I don't really like to compare us to anyone, but we're like a modern version of The Spice Girls. Each one of us brings something different in terms of talent, style and sound. I'm from France. Shar was born in The Philippines. She actually moved over to England when she was eight. Chelsea's an all-American girl.
It's like the United Nations of partying!
Aria: [Laughs] Exactly! It's fun. We mesh really well together. We've been together for two years and we know each other so well. We don't have fights or anything. We're like sisters. It's cool that we got to know each other before we went on the road [Laughs].
Kelly: I was born in England, but all my heritage is from Barbados so I'm the island girl. We're from all over the world. It's nice to have all of those different flavors because it makes the group so much more interesting.
You're probably the most international girl group yet.
Kelly: I really think so. It gives everyone someone to relate to. People in The Philippines can get behind Shar and be really proud she's in this group. Barbados is such a tiny island. There aren't that many people that broke out from there. It's really good that fans in each country can get behind one of us and be proud that we're out there representing and trying to make a new world group.
How did you know you wanted to play music?
Kelly: I always listened to music ever since I was tiny. My dad was a huge Elvis fan so I was constantly listening to Elvis when I was a kid. Throughout my teen years I went to a performing arts school and did the whole musical theater thing. I was always singing and dancing. I don't know where it started. I've always had a passion for dance and electro music. I started DJing and found that I loved it. I'm blown away by all of the technology!
Aria: I moved to Paris from Transylvania when I was one. I always knew I wanted to be on stage. I play piano and I write songs. I also do yoga every day. It keeps me in shape because I eat so much sugar [Laughs].
What do you each bring to the sound?
Kelly: Well I was always singing and dancing and then I found this new passion for beats and DJing. I did that on the side, and it grew into this.
Aria: I can't really get rid of my French accent. I tried, but it's very hard [Laughs]. I definitely bring a different sound to the group because my voice is very unique and you recognize it right away.
Kelly, does DJing help inform your singing and dancing now?
Kelly: Completely! People are just getting a taste of everything that we can do. I can't wait until I can do some DJ spots during our live sets. Obviously some of the girls speak other languages as well and we'd love to incorporate the other languages into our tracks. We also want to get more into our writing. This is only the start for Paradiso Girls.
So it's more like an artist collective with each girl doing something different?
Kelly: I think so. We've been together for two years, and we build things organically. None of us are from L.A. so we only had each other when we moved out here. We really do have that stronger bond with each other because we were living together. I really feel like these girls are my sisters. It's really incredible to see how everyone's grown. Lauren joined the group she was only 17. Seeing her blossom into a woman has been amazing. I'm glad we took our time because when we come out we feel like a solid unit and an authentic group. We've all bonded with each other and built solid foundations within the group.
How intertwined are fashion and music?
Kelly: I think they go hand in hand. It's more of a lifestyle choice, really. From an artist's perspective, the songs have to always come first and you can tell that they do. You can't take away from a great track. A great track is a great track. Your lifestyle, clothes and fashion go hand-in-hand. If you're heavily into electro and rock like I am, you live through those beats because you can't help it. I'm always playing music in my house. Sometimes people get too caught up in the style side, but I think they go together.
Aria: I'd been modeling in Paris for a long time. I started to model when I was like 16. I love fashion and I'm crazy about it. Personally, I'm a fashion freak! I started modeling to make some money to pursue my dream as a singer, dancer and actress. I was a dancer in a club called "Crazy Horse" which was like Moulin Rouge. I was dancing and singing there for two years. Jimmy Iovine found me there and he had this idea about the whole group. He saw my TV show and he liked my whole vibe. He told Will.i.am about his idea, and Will went to audition like 500 for three days and we found Kelly, Shar and Lauren. We auditioned girls in America for months to find Chelsea. I was the first. Jimmy signed me as a solo artist but when you tour and travel, how boring is it when you're touring by yourself? [Laughs] It's so much more fun to be with girls and have fun and go out and party after the show then being by yourself.
You can become iconic to young girls through your aesthetic and music. They're going to want to look like you, so you have to have your own thing going on.
Kelly: Because we all look so different, our body shapes and heights are so different, it's easy for us to have our own distinctive style. Shar's like the rapper. She plays her music constantly and she loves reggae and hip hop. The style of her clothes goes with that because she lives, eats and breathes it. I think it's really nice that we all look different. We're proud of who we are. Not everyone has to be a cardboard cut-out. Girls can look up to us and relate to us because we are so different.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
Aria: In my life, I would love to inspire the world somehow. That's why I did so much stuff in Paris. I wrote two books, and I had a TV show. I think our music is powerful enough to be able to inspire the world and bring happiness into people's lives. I really like it and I'm thankful for everything. When you do things with passion and you love what you're doing, it's always good. I would love for everyone to follow their dreams and never give up! I'm happy with my life and I'm happy with what I'm doing. I'm very lucky.
Kelly: We're not trying to say we're perfect, but we're not trying to say that we're completely bad girls either. I think our music's very out there and provocative sometimes. It can be very cheeky and naughty, but we carry it off because we don't take ourselves too seriously. We have a laugh and a giggle. We are who we are.