What happens when a Madonna fan becomes a pop sensation
in his own right?
MadonnaTribe has had the pleasure to meet Ari Gold,
the boy from the Bronx who has turned himself into a successful
pop/R&B singer and a rising music star, that will be
sharing with our readers what it feels for a fan.
Ari will be discussing with us how people like Madonna had
an influence on the world in which we live in, in this exclusive
interview which also premieres his brand new photoshoot,
done during Ari's recent European Tour, in charge of Marco
Ari, welcome to
You began your career as a child vocalist singing
on hundreds of jingles, doing various animated voices
and back-up singing for the likes of Diana Ross.
What are your memories from those early years?
Ari Gold: I loved singing
jingles and I loved being able to leave school to do them.
I didn't love always having to catch up on my schoolwork
though and I went to a double curriculum Yeshiva (Jewish
Parochial school) so it was hard sometimes.
MT: Is there a particular work you did
then that you still treasure?
AG: I definitely loved doing the voice
of Bannee on the cartoon series "Jem and the Holograms".
'Cause I was already a fan of the show before I got the
gig. I also loved doing the voice of Sybil Sadie for the
Cabbage Patch Kids Records.
Diana Ross told me that my solo was her favorite and she
didn't even know that I sang it until I told her!
MT: You've changed your look and style
quite a few times over the years.
How important is a cool look to you and how would you
describe your own style?
AG: People do say that I'm a chameleon
Funny thing is I don't feel like I always do that much
to change my look. I just end up looking different all
the time. I guess I have one of those faces. I think Madonna
has that quality too.
I do like fashion and I do like cool clothes and sometimes
its fun to wear things in a shoot or a show that I wouldn't
normally wear in everyday life.
I call my look, "shtetle fabulous!" It's sort
of a hodge podge of hip-hop, gay boy fashion and downtown
MT: You described the song "Fan-tastic"
on your latest album as "an ode to gay divas and Madonna
Can you tell us more about that particular song, that starts
with the same lyrics of "Lucky Star", and what
it represents to you?
AG: Well, I wanted to write a song to express how
important someone like Madonna has been to someone like
I mean, I'd probably still be lost in Yeshiva somewhere
if Madonna hadn't shown me that it was OK to be gay and
to love who I love. And she inspired me to not be afraid
and do what it is that I love no matter what.
Gay men have a very deep relationship
to our divas and its not something we need to take lightly!
It's a very real part of our development. So I kind of
feel as though I've incorporated her into my being and
now her image is like a guardian angel to me. That's why
the song starts with "You must be my lucky star."
I know it's something a lot of people can relate to.
has been a role model for many people, you can say she
basically tells people to believe in their dreams and
work hard to reach a goal in life. In what way she has
AG: I really
hadn't heard anything about gay people until Madonna.
She definitely taught me that it was OK to express myself
sexually any way that I wanted as long as it was consensual
between adults. There was a point to everything she did.
She made statements with her music and videos.
MT: You happened to actually meet Madonna
backstage at the Rosie O'Donnel show.
How did exactly happen and how was it like?
I wish it was more than it was! My friend worked on the
show, I told her I liked her boots and she said "thank
you" in that typical Madonna voice. Of course it
made my day but I'm sure she doesn't even remember!
She is as tiny as they say she is. It's pretty cool cause
she appears so much larger than life in her photos and
on stage and in video. I'm only 5.9 myself so I can relate
to that! People often think I'.m going to be a lot bigger
MT: Another thing you share with Madonna,
other than the Rosie Show, is an appearance on W Magazine.
You've been on countless magazines in the last few years,
how does it feel becoming so popular and how do you deal
with that success?
AG: Your good pointing out those Madonna
My therapist does the same thing to me. He's always like,
"how do you think Madonna would have handled this situation."
I feel incredibly grateful for all the success I have had
but I also feel like its very much deserved cause I work
really hard and everything I have achieved I've done on
my own without the help of a major record label.
So that's pretty cool. I set out years ago to be this gay
pop star when everybody told me I should go in the closet.
So to be able to be who I am and say what I say and have
the fans respond so positively is the best reward I could
MT: In your music video "Wave of you",
you pay homage not only to Madonna's "Cherish"
but to the art of late photographer Herb Ritts.
How did that idea come up?
AG: Well, I was discussing the concept
of the video with my director, Guy Guido and I wanted to
do something black and white on the beach because of the
lyrics of the song. I thought it would be a great way of
making a beautiful video without a huge budget.
He then came up with the idea of doing it as an homage to
Herb Ritts and I've always been a fan of his work so I thought
it was a great idea - especially since he had past away.
I also think its cool that we made his work even more queer
than it already was cause he was gay but basically his work
was done for mainstream audiences... so we sort of brought
out the queer elements to it.
Did something funny happen on the set of the video?
We had a blast shooting it.
I do remember being on the beach shooting the video and
then I think these guys got jealous that we were shooting
a video so they started shooting their own video right next
It was really funny.
What do you like the most in Herb Ritts photos?
The images are so classic. The natural lighting and environment,
the sensuality of them...
If you could pick a Madonna song up to cover on your next
album, which one would you choose?
A classic? Your favourite song?
AG: Well, I already sing some of "Lucky Star"
in my live version of "Give Me All Your Love."
I also used to do an acoustic version of "To Have and
Not To Hold" off of "Ray of Light" which
always got a really great response from the audience.
the end of that song I would sing a part of "La Isla
Bonita" cause it has a similar "ba ba da ba ba"
thing that she does.
I don't know if I can pick a favorite song but "Like
a Prayer" is my favorite Madonna album. I love the
song "The Look Of Love" from the "Who's That
Girl" soundtrack and my favorite concert is The Girlie
MT: You've been recenlty touring European
clubs to promote your record.
You've been to France, Switzerland and Italy.
What is the difference between European audiences and Us
ones? Did you have a good time touring Europe?
AG: Europeans have an appreciation for
music and art that you don't see anywhere else in the world.
I was treated so well in Europe - it was amazing. I think
that audiences in Europe are more open to things that they
might not have heard before. I think in the States people
get too caught up in numbers and charts.
MT: What is the future holding for Ari?
What are your future projects as an artist?
AG: Aside from writing material for my
next album, I also working on a live album which I'm really
excited about cause I think there's an energy to my live
shows with my band that I really want to capture on CD.
I'm also working on a coffee table picture book - more Madonna
tour book than Sex book, though!
a documentary about my life called "The Making Of a
Gay Pop Star." I guess its my own "Truth or Dare"!
You know I don't always think about all the Madonna parallels
but just doing this interview makes me realize how many
more there really are!
You're working hard to realize your dreams, what advice
would you give to young people that still don't know how
to put together their aspirations?
Everything is a process and a journey.
You might not see results right away but if you keep working
hard you will eventually see a pay off. You don't always
see how what you do affects people.
The most important is to just keep working at it. The only
reason to do it is cause you love it - everything else is
gravy. Release all expectations
MT: How would describe Ari Gold in one word?
Thanks for sharing your time with us!
AG: Thank you!
Copyright 2005 MadonnaTribe