By Amy Nicole Tangel
If you looked at country-pop singer Arizona Lindsey and saw her bubbly disposition, one would probably never imagine what adversity lies beneath, but with her recent second album release, “The Process,” she opens the door to her own trauma with hopes of letting others know they are not alone.
With an emerging career as a recording artist, the 24-year-old Lindenhurst, N.Y., native has been a musician and performer for almost her entire life, and with that she has also dedicated her life as a counselor who advocates for mental health. Although she said she has always been completely open in talking with other people about mental health it was when she was recovering from her own life-altering event when she decided she was going to share her experiences with others in hopes to help and heal through her music.
“’The Process’ is a concept album that is about going through life-altering trauma and entering into the trauma recovery process,” she said.
Arizona said the reason she describes her recent work as a concept album is because it starts out from a place of being stuck in mental illness, and the aftermath of what she refers to as being diagnosed with “complex trauma,” leading to her getting help. In the past two years, Arizona has opened-up with her own personal trauma as a childhood abuse survivor singing her opening track, “The Desired Way,” and said like a lot of people who have been through what she has, she thought she would just “get over it” into her twenties; until a tragedy happened.
“I was hit with a pretty major trauma which was my mom’s unexpected passing, and it seemed to have sparked something in my brain where I was having uncontrollable symptoms of what I later learned was a trauma disorder,” she said.
Arizona suffered paralyzing flashbacks of childhood abuse stemming from her mother’s passing and panic attacks that eventually got to a point where she said she was dealing with severe suicidality. It wasn’t until some time later, when Arizona said she finally got help and pretty much wrote the second half of the album in the hospital over a two-month-period. This June, it will be three years since her mother passed and it was the year following her passing when Arizona said she had her first intervention with trauma disorder.
“It got to a point I was completely debilitated. Not getting out of bed, not eating, not showering; I was scared to move,” she said.
This past week, Arizona announced she has recently collaborated with Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-D.M.C., and will be releasing a yet, unnamed bonus track, to the album this upcoming September as part of awareness during Suicide Prevention Month. McDaniels is the author of, “Ten Ways Not to Commit Suicide,” a memoir that shares his own personal story about his battles with depression and fighting suicidal thoughts. Arizona said she is so excited to have the opportunity to create a song with him geared towards suicide prevention.
The music in Arizona’s heart has led to an emerging career as a performing artist that began at a young age in the second grade when she started lessons with drums. In junior high, she picked up the guitar, and from there it was highlighted by theater work, primarily as an actor until she started focusing on her voice years later. She continued with classical percussion all the way up to college, and it was on the day of college orientation when she said she decided to switch gears, eventually going to school for psychology.
Growing up doing musical theater and playing in pits on percussion, Arizona said it was a sudden switch of gears when the passion to help people grew stronger, but she followed her heart and decided she wanted to learn how to help people first and then she would be a band teacher.
“As that grew, this love for counseling and this love for learning how the human brain works grew,” she said.
In May of 2019, Arizona won the Gold Coast Arts Center’s Young Big Break Competition and met contest judge, former pro-wrestler and founder/host of The Grindhouse Radio show, William “Brimstone” Kucmierowski, who eventually became her manager after much self-described persistence. Arizona said Kucmierowski introduced himself to her during the competition, and not only shared his appreciation for her work, but was the first person who really thought she could do it; what followed as a new manager and a revelation to bring the two missions together.
“He helped me to at least build the courage; I can do this,” she said.
Initially in her solo-music career, Arizona said she looked at her work as a mental health advocate working in the court systems helping people convicted of felonies and being a musician as two separate careers. After facing her own battle, she realized her destiny to bring the two together was meant to be and trusted she was on the right path to do more.
“When people found out that I was a trauma survivor there was a sense of quick acceptance versus a pushback of questioning it,” she said.
In addition to presenting herself from an authentic place through her music, Arizona said she also takes into account the importance of her social media presence and tries to make everything she puts out there a true-impression of who she is. Whether it is putting a disclaimer out there every time she uses a filter to let other young people know it is not a realistic-image, to adding her touches of comedy every chance she can with her dancing videos and written dialogue, Arizona said if she had a second-life as a comedian it would be hilarious to her.
The pandemic hit Arizona just like most other musicians, and she said she used the down-time to learn to grow when she worked on trying to “put her guitar down and just sing.” For Arizona, she said her guitar has always been her comfort zone with singing, but she was ready to challenge herself further to continue to build.
While things continue to open back up, finding places to sing on a regular-basis is not only something Arizona said is necessary financially, but it’s the best way to build a fan-base; creating fans who come back and fans who request songs. Arizona plans on heading back to splitting her time between New York and New Orleans in the fall, but until then she will be spending the summer singing across Long Island. As part of making that happen, you can see Arizona perform tonight for the first-time ever at Daisy’s Nashville Lounge in Patchogue as part of their new monthly event, “Bluebird Tuesdays-Songwriters in the Round,” featuring local country-pop-rock artists from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
For all happenings with Arizona and to find local dates to check her out, you can find her on Instagram @arizonalindseymusic, Facebook, Tik Tok, and Twitter. Arizona’s music can be found on all streaming platforms.
Photos courtesy Arizona Lindsey