Photo Credit: Tevin Johnson
A successful actress, Aria Brooks recently starred as the female lead in the Disney+ Original Movie Better Nate Than Ever. She played Libby in the film, which follows two theater kids who sneak off to a musical audition in New York City after not being cast in their school musical. The cast also includes Lisa Kudrow, Joshua Bassett, Rueby Wood, Michelle Federer to name just a few. Things are not slowing down for Aria, as she joined the cast for season 3 of High School Musical: The Series. She also previously showcased her talent as one of the leads in the reboot of the popular Nickelodeon series All That and appeared in the critically-acclaimed and award-winning film Harriet as Cynthia Erivo’s niece, Anger.
Adding to her already impressive resume, Aria is making her mark on the music world as an accomplished singer and songwriter. Earlier this year, she released the first installment of her debut EP castles under the moniker ARIA. The deeply personal record showcases original songs she wrote that detail her mental health struggles, challenges on her journey to becoming a performer, and how she overcame them.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Aria to discuss her journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:
How did you get started in the music industry?
Both of my parents are music educators, so I grew up around music. I’ve loved music my entire life and started seriously making it when I was nine. My parents have lots of producer friends, so they send me tracks to write to.
What do you like most about singing and songwriting?
I love how I can express myself in ways that I probably couldn’t without music. It is therapeutic for me to write my feelings into a song. It is also like I am challenging myself. It’s cool to see what innovative harmony I can come up with or clever lyrics I can write.
Can you tell us about Better Nate Than Ever?
Better Nate Than Ever, is a Disney+ film that follows a Broadway lover and his witty friend who venture off to New York to audition for Lilo and Stitch: The Musical. I play Libby, the mastermind behind the trip.
What sort of person is going to love this movie?
Theater kids and Broadway fanatics will definitely find comfort in this movie. It will especially touch anyone who has ever felt out of place or alone, anyone with big dreams, and people who’ve been told they’ll never make it.
What can you tell us about your character Alex in Season 3 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series?
Alex is an eighth-grade camper at Camp Shallow Lake. She is very wise and excited to be auditioning for Shallow Lake’s production of ‘Frozen.’
What inspires you to be creative?
My life inspires me to be creative. My personal experiences and situations in my life affect my art.
Is there anything special that you do to get into a creative mindset?
I don’t usually have to put myself in that space; it tends to come to me when I feel inspired. Whether I see a movie, hear a song, or see a piece of visual art, this may cause me to go into my creative mindset.
What message, if any, do you try to put into your work?
I have multiple messages in my work, but a big one for me right now is knowing your worth; self-love and acceptance are common themes in my music specifically.
What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?
My most memorable experience was probably attending the ‘Better Nate Than Ever’ premieres. Getting all dolled up to walk the red carpet felt so surreal. Then, seeing myself on the big screen and sharing it with a theater full of some of my favorite actors…unbelievable.
Do you ever find yourself unable to express your creativity to the fullest? What kinds of things inhibit you?
I have moments where I feel unmotivated, but I don’t know that there is something that specifically hinders me. Random waves of demotivation can affect anyone, but I love my work enough to be able to come out of it pretty quickly.
Photo Credit: Tevin Johnson
Who is your greatest influence?
My mom is one of my biggest influences. I love her drive and ability to get things done. It is something I aspire to have. I’ve also loved Zendaya since I was really young, and I’ve always wanted a career similar to hers.
Do you feel that you chose your “passion,” or did it choose you?
I think it is a mixture of both. My parents being into music is what inspired me to get into it. Without them, who knows what my passion would be? But also, my parents could’ve been accountants, but I still feel that I would’ve still fallen for music.
What would your alternate field have been if you hadn’t chosen your field?
I probably would’ve been a baker because I love to bake. It is a hobby now, but if performing weren’t my thing, I would love to own a bakery.
What are your future plans, inside your career or out of it?
I plan to release more music very soon, and I want to release the movies and shows I’ve developed/written. I also want to focus on my live performances because I aim to perform on stages worldwide.