Ari Abdul comes in with an emotion she wants the song to capture, sometimes it’s one word or a melody; other times, it’s an atmospheric production. Music is like a second language to Abdul because growing up in Brooklyn, Abdul was surrounded by it. Her Ecuadorian mom listened to Latin albums, while her Costa Rican dad preferred classic rock. Her older brothers, in contrast, were devotees of hip-hop and metal. Not surprisingly, today, Abdul lives and breathes music, as her social feeds — abundant in lip syncs and footage from other (and mostly punk) bands’ live shows — will attest. “I am a total fan girl,” admits Abdul.

Abdul picked up guitar at a very young age and graduated to an electric guitar by age 14, when she began grunge songs, inspired by Nirvana. “But I never shared it with anyone, because I was scared people would hate my voice,” she says. “In high school, there was a big gospel choir. All my friends were in it. But I was, like, you know, ‘This is not for me.’” And it wasn’t, until July 2021, when she was encouraged to create her own music. And that’s when she finally found her voice.