Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 18th 2018 Contents ...strong, con ident, determined B5
Sunday, February 18, 2018
that for most of [my adolescence],
I never made the leap."
And so for the most part of her
life, Arielle steered clear past sing-
ing. The shyness that pockmarked
most of her run-ins with public
performance had quite literally
shunted her music career.
But now, with New York in her
veins, and a squint of promise,
she found her way back to Trini-
dad, unsure of almost everything
aside from the fact that she des-
perately wanted to sing.
Her irst big break came
when she auditioned
for the role of Cinder-
ella in September 2015.
As the production got
closer to opening night, Arielle,
who was initially cast as one of
three alternates, found herself
playing both the show's lead and
one of the step-sisters (on rota-
tion), carrying a cast and per-
forming to crowds of hundreds at
SAPA and NAPA.
It was a breakthrough.
"With every performance, I felt
more at home. That paralyzing
shyness was gone. People didn't
seem as scary to me anymore,
and it became about enjoying the
moment and doing something I
believed in," she added.
Riding that high, she recorded
an acoustic, stripped-down video
cover of Justin Bieber's 'Love
Yourself '. Bare-faced, an earnest
Arielle croons into the mic as the
lush backdrop of Trinidad's ver-
dant hillscape colours the back-
Soon after, she booked her irst
solo performance at Kaiso Blues
Café, spending the whole perfor-
mance "sitting on a stool the en-
tire time," because it "grounded"
her. It was a sold-out night.
Friends, family, and strangers
alike frolicked the storied Wood-
The only notable exception: her
In 2005, Caryl Cowie - a "formi-
dable woman" and past president
of the famed Ventures hockey
club - was diagnosed with Leio-
myosarcoma (LMS), a soft tissue
cancer that has a 14 to 63 percent
"My parents sat us down a
morning and broke the news to
us. I didn't know how to react,
what to think, what it even was.
Soon after, my mom left for Miami
to begin her chemotherapy and
I threw myself into school and
hockey," Arielle explained.
When Caryl returned to Trini-
dad, several months later, she was
weak, frail - and unbeknownst to
Arielle - hanging on by a sliver.
"Of course she was still my
mom but it was a shock seeing
her that way the irst time. It
never occurred to me, even then,
that there was a possibility that
she could die," she said, adding,
"Most of that time, I stayed away.
Not deliberately, but on some sub-
conscious level I just didn't want
Continued from Page 4
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Turning life's sour
lemons into something
that resembles victory
seems to be Arie's
strength. Shyness into
unforgiving history into
to see her like that."
Six months later, it came to a
Arielle was at a friend's place
when her brother arrived, unan-
nounced, asking her to accom-
pany him home.
"He was being extremely nice
to me so I knew something was
wrong. But it was only when I
turned into my street and saw
the...cars and people...leading to
our home that it hit. [And then] a
flood broke. I started bawling and
crying, right there in the drive-
At this point, the tears fall
freely. The memory of her mother
is heavy and palpable in the air.
Arielle's crying. Quietly, she
fumbles for a napkin, dabbing at
her eyes. Her makeup from the
morning's shoot is now a brown-
ing mess. She laughs, nervously,
self-deprecatingly, apologising for
I feel intrusive. Unsure whether
it's rude to stare or rude not to en-
gage, I look down. My sandwich
has never seemed so interesting.
A few minutes later, she's more
"It felt good talking about that,"
she begins, "I haven't been able to
say all of that, in one breath, for a
very long time."
Just like that, she's back as 'Arie'
- a stage moniker that's now her
public persona. Strong, con i-
Turning life's sour lemons into
something that resembles victory
seems to be Arie's strength. Shy-
ness into public performance, un-
forgiving history into inspiration,
hockey into music. She's equal
parts go-getter, dreamer, and ma-
These days, Arie hovers be-
tween working on her debut
album (All to Me, the irst single,
was just released in Jamaica),
writing songs, performing live,
and engaging in social work.
With vocal inspirations like Paula
Abdul, Celine Dion and Whitney
Houston, Arie certainly has high,
shiny, red-soled stilettos to ill.
But with her mom on her side,
the pride of a nation at her back,
and talent too good to dismiss,
who knows; her dreams might
just amount to something abso-
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