Congratulations on your role with Disney+’s Better Nate Than Ever! It’s such a fun film. What was your favorite part about becoming the character “Libby”, and what do you have in common with her?
Aria Brooks: Creating this character was super fun because, unlike a lot of other on-set experiences I’ve had, we got to have a month-long rehearsal. So it involved us creating the characters and writing out our character’s favorite food, and favorite day of the week – it was the most random stuff, but all of it came together cohesively to help us make these characters and really embody them.
I think I’m similar to Libby in a lot of ways. Character-wise Libby’s personality and I are like the same person. Her confidence and the way she helps people and supports herself and others, I feel, is very similar to myself.
Tell us about the musical numbers in the film. Did you face any challenges while learning or during filming them?
Aria Brooks: I feel like it was more fun than anything. I won’t say it was super challenging. I think there are moments like matching up lip-syncs and making it seem like we were actually singing it live on the day was something to adjust to.
I’ve done music videos in the past, but the way they do it on set for the film was slightly different from my music videos. So adjusting to that was a little difficult at first, but overall it was fun. It was more so enjoying the musical numbers as if I was breaking out into song in my regular life. It felt very surreal and very fun.
Disney is known for its musical features in films. Why do you think so many audiences have connected with that about Disney over so many years?
Aria Brooks: I feel like music brings people together. One of the lines specifically in our movie is, (and I might butcher this,) but basically, she says something like, “Music allows you to say things that you can’t really say in real life.” And that line really spoke to me, because music is my way of speaking to people and is my way of talking to myself and letting out the things that I want to let out. People really connect with that, especially when they can see it on screen.
Continuing with the theme of musicals, you’re now a cast member of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” third season! How does that feel?
Aria Brooks: It’s pretty crazy to me because I remember binge-watching the show when season one came out in 2019, so it’s crazy to believe that I’m here on the show. I’m super excited, super grateful – I love everyone on set and just being there is super amazing.
Your character is “Alex” on the show. What can you tell us about her experience as a new camper for Camp Shallow Lake?
Aria Brooks: Yes, I play Alex. She’s an eighth-grader. She and her best friend Andy are auditioners at the camp, and that’s all I can say at the moment, but it’s going to be super fun. Every character is super fun, but especially Alex. She’s just gonna bring something very special to the screen, and I think you guys are gonna love it.
What was it like working with the ‘High School Musical’ OG, Corbin Bleu? Did he offer any advice on set to you as a young actor?
Aria Brooks: I was just working with him yesterday actually, but like he’s super great. Everyone there is just so down to earth, him included. So it’s almost like, maybe not a peer because he is older than me, but it’s like working with someone who sees eye to eye with you, which is really nice.
As far as advice, I’d say I learn the most when I’m watching people. So watching the choices that he made on set and the little things that he’d do to help carry the scene, even if he didn’t have a line, were things that I picked up on.
Outside of film, you’re pursuing your own musical career as ARIA. What does your sound and musical influence look and feel like for new listeners who are just discovering you?
Aria Brooks: Lyrically, I put a lot of “Easter eggs” or little things in my songs that only I would understand or only people that are close to me would understand. There are a lot of metaphors and wordplay and stuff like that throughout the songs.
They’re catchy and you’ll get a different vibe from each song on the EPs. So, if you want a punk rock kind of influence behind the song or a more classical influence, it’s there. There’s so many different things on the album, so I feel like there’s something for everybody
Were there any particular musical influences that you looked up to when you were creating?
Aria Brooks: Definitely, one of my biggest ones is Melanie Martinez. I love the choices that she makes lyrically. I also like that her style of music is catchy and I like the things she’s talking about. So that’s probably my biggest influence. If you like her, I feel like you’ll really like my songs.
How differently do you prepare yourself to perform as an artist versus when you’re going to perform as an actor?
Aria Brooks: I think it’s very different. There’s a bunch of different types of performances as a musician, but live performances stick out the most. With acting, nine times out of ten, I’m not doing anything live, so I can do it over again. I can mess up.
I should still be prepared and I make sure that I am so I can knock it out, but there’s not as much pressure to get it right the first time. With musical performances, specifically live ones, you have to kind of get it right on the spot. You have to have a better understanding of it right away.
Please tell us what’s coming up next for you? Where can we find you on socials? Anything else you’d like to plugin?
Aria Brooks: I’m going to continue to create music and continue auditioning. Make sure you catch “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” Season 3 later this year. And you can find me on all social media platforms to catch what I’m doing next.