Outsider A-Side: Riddy Arman Evokes Deep Emotions With Her Debut Album

by Clayton Edwards

Riddy Arman is a singer, songwriter, and ranch hand. Before signing to La Honda Records earlier this year, she traveled the country, living a life many romanticize in song and film. She shares and comes to terms with that life through the songs she writes.

Western AF posted a video of Riddy Arman performing “Spirits, Angels, or Lies” in June 2020. The deeply personal song, inspired by her father’s passing, served as an introduction of sorts. The authenticity and emotion in the song caught the ears of music fans around the world. Earlier this month, she bared her soul to the world once more with her self-titled debut album.

Outsider caught up with Riddy Arman just hours before her Americanafest set at Nashville’s City Winery.

Songwriting Came First

Riddy Arman: I think performing just comes with the territory of writing songs. Really, writing songs came first for me, and performing came second. It’s something that I’m developing through my songwriting.

I’ve always been a huge music fan and it’s always been a source of reprieve for me. Writing music is so deeply cathartic. It just came pretty naturally as a form of therapy, I suppose. For me, it’s a source of mediation and the self-expressive part of music is super important to me.

The Women Who Came Before Her

Riddy Arman: My biggest musical influence is this woman named Kiki Cavazos. She’s a contemporary musician based out of Montana. I met her when I was nineteen in New Orleans. She’s one of the most genius songwriters that I know both lyrically and musically. She’s been my biggest influence. But, ya know, when I first started singing and was taking my singing seriously and trying to craft my voice, I listened to a lot of old blueswomen. Bessie Smith really helped me develop my voice.

Ranch Life

Riddy Arman: I’m taking a break from it right now to focus on music. It’s a lifestyle. You’re working 12 hour days and you never know when you’ll have to in at night because a calf needs to be pulled or there’s a crazy emergency or cows being weaned from their calves broke into a pasture and you have to go fix fence at 2 am. You can’t really do much else if you’re doing that work. It takes over your whole life. I still do some day work when I’m home, just not at the same capacity that I was.

An Album Full of Emotions

Riddy Arman: It is really personal. Like, “Here’s my debut album, I’m going to give it all to you right here.” That’s how I am in real life, too. Kind of zero to a hundred. I’ll meet you and five minutes later, we’ll be talking about our deepest secrets. I think that my goal, really, is for people to just sit with their emotions and feel what I’m singing about. When people really enjoy my album, I think that’s what it takes. People being comfortable to feel the different emotions that arise throughout the songs. So, I guess my goal is for people to find comfort in a range of emotions. It’ll make you feel the things that we typically try to avoid.

Riddy Arman Plans for the Future

Riddy Arman: I’ve got a headlining tour coming up in November and December. So, I’m gearing up for that. I’m playing a festival in California. The same people that put on Big Sky in Whitefish are putting on a festival in Santa Barbara and San Diego, so I’m playing that. And I’m writing my next album.