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Armenian Australian singer Ara about Armenian show business, Eurovision and a lot more

11:02, April 8

Ara: Armenian Australian singer about Armenian show business, Eurovision and a lot more

This Armenian singer was born in Melbourne, Australia. He started his stage career as a Latin American/Ballroom dancer winning two titles of Australian DanceSport. Despite his young age Ara has had a lot of tours throughout Europe and United States.

Why did Ara’s family move to Australia? What does the singer think about Armenian show business and who are the Armenian (pop) recording artists he has respect for? STYLE had an exclusive interview with the Armenian Australian singer, during which he not only gives answers to all the above mentioned questions, but also shares his opinion about “Eurovision” and “Genealogy”.

- Ara, please, speak about yourself. When and how did your family move to Australia?


- My parents immigrated to Australia in the 1960s, my mother from Alexandria, Egypt and my father from Beirut, Lebanon. My mother’s family emigrated from Egypt as a result of the anti-European sentiments harboured by Egypt’s new militarist ruler at the time, Abdel Nasser. My grandparents/great-grandparents were born in the historical Armenian towns of Gesaria, Dikranagerd, Adana and Antioch. (current day TurkeyKayseri, Diyarbakir, Adana and Antakya). Their forced emigration shares the same story as many other Armenians who were forced to flee their homes in historical Armenia.

- Have you ever been to Armenia?  

-Yes, in fact Armenia has a very special place in my heart. My first visit to Armenia was in 1999, where I was baptised at Etchmiadzin. This was an extraordinary experience for me. Not many Armenians in the diaspora have had the privilege of being baptised in the oldest Cathedral in the world. My second visit to Armenia was in 2007, and consequently since 2010 I have been travelling regularly to Armenia. I am not nationalistic, but in contrast, I strongly believe in preserving the culture and heritage of the culturally threatened Armenian race, both eastern and western.

- What do you mostly enjoy in Armenia? 

- One of the main aspects of Armenia I enjoy is the lifestyle it has to offer, the warmth of the people and of course, the rich history it exhibits.

- You were born in Australia, have spent some years in Japan and you have toured throughout USA and Europe for many times: Which culture is closer to you as a stage performer? 

- As any stage performer would, I enjoy the most responsive audiences. I am a big believer in energy exchange and this is vital for a successful performance. Audience behaviour is almost always a direct result of their cultural influence, and where Anglo-Saxon audiences might believe it to be more acceptable to ‘watch’ a performance, Middle Eastern and especially Asian audiences tend to be more engaging in their response to performers on stage. Each culture has their own way of enjoying a performance and one learns to understand this as they gain experience in the industry.

-It’s known that you have been engaged in dancing before starting your singing career. Since when did you understand that singing should also be a part of your stage life?

-I was a dancer from a young age, and also a pianist from the age of four, and all throughout my competitive years as a dancer I often thought about singing as I was a musical person. However a competitive career in DanceSport is one that requires solid training every day, and this doesn’t leave much room for singing. When I retired from competition after winning the two national Australian titles, I had more time to train my voice whilst I was working as a commercial dancer/teacher. Gradually, I shifted my focus to recording and slowly exited the commercial dance scene to become a full time recording artist.

- What are your favorite music genres?

- Believe it or not, I am a number one classical music fan. I grew up playing many of Chopin, Mozart and Beethoven’s pieces and still enjoy much of classical music today. As a dancer though, Latin American music is what is closest to my soul.

- Which international performers inspire you as a musician?

-I have so many diverse artists I take inspiration from – including many English, Latin, Arab and European artists…. the list is just too long!

- Ara, do you follow Armenian music industry?  What can you say about it?

-I’ll be honest, I don’t really follow the Armenian music industry closely, however from what I have seen, I personally think local Armenian (pop) artists need to focus more on creating music and music videos to an international standard and avoid thinking inside the box. It is sad, but many artists disregard the importance of being unique and individual. I have seen too often, Armenian artists who have great voices, but don’t style themselves to international fashion and makeup trends, and therefore get unnoticed by the international market. Unfortunately, such is this industry, where there is a far greater focus on appearance rather than talent.

Are there any Armenian performers, which are more preferable for you?

-There are in fact several Armenian (pop) recording artists who I have respect for, for creating their own style, and their own unique identity as a recording artist. Some that come to mind are Andre, Sirusho, Lilu… They bring diversity to the Armenian music industry, and aren’t just a paper cut-out of one another. Such is the artist who grows, who is humble enough to accept that they can learn from others. There are professionals in the Armenian music industry who work behind the scenes who I also respect and admire. As a cinematographer, Artyom Abovyan and as a music producer, Nick Egibyan. They are both masters of their craft – to international standards.

-Your songs are mostly in English. Can we expect to hear an Armenian song from you in the near future?

- Never say never! At this stage though, English is my main focus as I have a very broad English speaking fanbase.

- And what about “Eurovision Song Contest”? Is it possible, that one day you will show interest to represent Armenia in that Contest?

- I do indeed follow the Eurovision Song Contest, and have done so for many years. I was very excited when Armenia entered the contest in 2006, and yes, I am open to possibilities to represent Armenia at Eurovision one day.

-This year Armenia will be represented by the group "Genealogy".  What’s your opinion about the idea of the group?

- I have listened to the song and was well aware of Armenia’s entry to Eurovision many months prior to its release. I find it touching that the Armenian Public TV Company gave Armenians from the diaspora an opportunity to represent Armenia at the ESC. Armenians from the diaspora have felt a cultural divide between eastern and western Armenians for unnecessary reasons for far too long now, and this has been a significant step to unite east and west on the world stage. I wish them the very best of luck and I am sure their unity will allow them to excel in their performance.


Syune Arakelyan

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