Lily Arminda, Student, Songwriter, and Rising Star

Lily Arminda is a New York-based musician who befriends the arresting beauty of heartbreak and stillness to mesmerize her audience - rarely rising above an indoor voice. Whether intentional or simply due to her quiet nature, the hush to Arminda’s music captivates her listeners with a comfortable confidence that's hard to refuse. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Arminda got her start opening for influences such as Lucy Dacus and Benjamin Francis Leftwich amongst other artists at local venues while working on and releasing her debut EP, "The Hourglass." Her second EP, "Mismatched Poetry," was born during a week spent in Jacksonville Beach, Florida collaborating with singer/songwriter/producer Corey Kilgannon. This collection of songs shuttles listeners to the beach that Arminda spent so much time at while making the record; as evidenced in the dreamlike ukulele played on "Lullaby" and the sounds of waves crashing against the shore featured on "Moon & Back" and “Darling (Meant To Be).” Arminda currently resides in New York City and has new music on the way in 2019. Stand by to hear what the soft-spoken songstress makes of the city that is quite her opposite. Her Campus spoke to her about her process and what's next for her. 

Her Campus: How long have you been making music? How has your music changed throughout your career?

Lily Arminda: I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories include me singing along to the songs in Disney princess movies. I started teaching myself guitar when I was 15 which lead to the beginning of my songwriting career.

When I began writing music I was mainly into pop music and my songs mimicked that style. As I later discovered music that fell under the indie folk/pop/rock umbrella I realized there was so much to learn from the kinds of lyrics that exist in songs in those genres and wanted to recreate it in my own music.

HC: How do you balance your music career with your college life? Has going to college in New York helped inform your process at all?

LA: It’s as simple as making time for songwriting - if I didn’t I think I’d go a little crazy. Going to college in New York has definitely informed my process. I’ve taken a lot of poetry classes that have been so influential in shaping how I write my songs. I’ve met some great musicians who inspire me with both their music and the music they recommend. I also recently had the opportunity to write a song for a short film written by someone who I met through school which was really amazing.

HC: What’s your process for writing music like?

LA: I don’t really have a set process! I think I just try to sit down with a notebook in front of me, guitar in hand, and allow myself to write without filtering my words too much. I find this captures the vulnerable emotion of what I’m trying to get across in my songs and then I can go back and revise when necessary.

Lily Arminda performing live. Photo from Music Fest News.

HC: On your website you call yourself a “soft-spoken songstress,” which is such a sweet alliterative title. How did you come up with that?

LA: I play a lot of shows and sometimes the audience is so loud that it’s hard for people to hear me sing so it’s kind of a beautiful joke at my quiet nature!

HC: Can you talk a little bit about your single that came out on 3/1? Does it feel different from your past work?

LA: I wrote this song quietly in my cramped dorm room in August of 2017. It’s the first song I wrote in New York and it marked the end of writing about a person who is the subject of many of my early songs. I remember feeling inspired by my new surroundings and credited the completion of this song to the city; adamantly denying my role in its creation. “Who She Is or Who She Was” is a narrative that never happened but is inspired by a very real sentiment.

This song is in the same vein as my last EP “Mismatched Poetry” sonically but the production is more fully realized. I recorded “Who She Is or Who She Was” at a studio in Brooklyn with my producer William Smith IV who made the song sound as full and emotional as I could’ve ever dreamed.

HC: If you could give any advice to your younger self, whether musical or not, what would you say?

LA: I would tell her to listen to older musicians like Joni Mitchell and Glen Campbell earlier on in life. Younger me was really missing out!

"Who She Is or Who She Was" as well as the rest of Lily Arminda's music is available on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon and you can sign up for her newsletter on her website for updates. Follow her on Instagram @lilyarminda