Layne is an active freelance writer. She enjoys staying up-to-date on trends, media, and emerging topics.
Since Alejandro Aranda took over American Idol, many have called him a musical genius. Originally described as a humble Pomona, California-born guitarist, pianist, electronic producer, and former dishwasher, he gained notoriety as one of the best new musicians of the year.
11 Interesting Facts About Alejandro Aranda
- He's been called a "musical genius" and a "virtuoso."
- His artist name is "ScaryPoolParty."
- He's influenced by many musical genres.
- He won 2017 artist of the year.
- Backtrack convinced him of the power of music.
- He's only been playing music for four years.
- He busked for extra cash.
- He takes interest in anime.
- He's humble.
- He's hard-working.
- He claims to be the most boring guy in the world.
1. He's been called a "musical genius" and a "virtuoso."
Yes, you read that right. Many have been blown away by Alejandro's versatility. He first comes off as a humble John Mayer/Jack Johnson-type with his soothing voice and intricate playing, but when he sits down at a piano, he plays like Chopin. He even brought something fresh to the American Idol stage when he did a Drake cover.
2. His artist name is ScaryPoolParty.
Check him out as "ScaryPoolParty" on Instagram, Spotify, and Soundcloud. For a more diverse taste of what Alejandro is capable of with his talent, you can listen to some of his originals and form your own opinion. Be sure to check out "Ten Years," "Fading Away," and "Out Loud." His stage name, "ScaryPoolParty," is said to have originated from the moment he realized his career was in music (after attending a pool party).
3. He's influenced by many musical genres.
Alejandro is an appreciator of the musical greats (classical composers like Chopin and Bach), but he also draws his influence from Backtrack, Nine Inch Nails, Dead Can Dance, and John Martyn. So far, he's performed Cold Play's "Yellow," Post Malone's "I Fall Apart," Drake's "One Dance," and Ben Harper's "There Will Be a Light." But you should also check out his original songs below.
4. He won 2017 artist of the year.
Five of Five Entertainment and California State University at Northridge (Pomona, California) puts on an "Artist of the Year" competition. Alejandro won 2017 artist of the year by popular vote.
5. Backtrack convinced him of the power of music.
It's been rumored that, while attending a Backtrack concert (an American hardcore punk band), he witness the power of music and the emotional effect it has on others. Since having an epiphany at a pool party (when he realized that he needed to become a musician) he adopted the stage name "ScaryPoolParty" and never looked back.
6. He's only been playing music for four years.
As of 2019, he has only been playing music for four years. That means he started when he was 20. Watch the video for the song "Blesser," and you'll understand why people are calling him a virtuoso. His speed and fluency on the piano will make you think he's been playing for many more years than he has.
7. He busked for extra cash.
Like a lot of great undiscovered talent, Alejandro would invest his free time in busking for extra cash. He was a warehouse worker and dishwasher, and would play both piano and guitar on the street outside of his regular work for hours.
8. He takes interest in anime.
Many of his Instagram videos are synced to anime sequences. If you're interested in checking out his visual artistry, search for his handle "ScaryPoolParty." It will give you a better idea of his creative flavor. He takes us on a ride from technical and punchy to morose and delicate. Enjoy!
9. He's humble.
His demeanor has been celebrated many times. In fact, Lionel Richie added that his humility is one of the incredible things about Alejandro—he has no idea how good he is! It is obvious at times that Alejandro can be self-critical. He thinks seriously about his performance. When asked if he is the next American Idol by Katy Perry, he acts unsure and instead compliments the competition, saying, “there are a lot of great singers competing."
10. He's hard-working.
Katy Perry asks Alejandro in his audition, "What makes you special?" Instead of him boasting about all of his accomplishments or telling us about how he has lived his life for music, he simply states, "I'm hard-working." He's definitely shown that to be true!
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11. He claims to be the most boring guy in the world.
He claims to be the most boring guy in the world. He claims his two passions are playing music and eating. He doesn't party and he doesn't do drugs.
Everything You Need to Know About Him
- Where is he from? Pomona, California (Southern California)
- When was he born? August 11, 1994
- What is his stage name? ScaryPoolParty
- What instruments does he play? Guitar, piano/keys, looper
- Most Popular Songs: "Blesser," "10 Years," "Fading Away," "Out Loud," "Cholo Love," and "Poison"
- Who are his heroes? Trent Rezner, Chopin, and Bach.
Alejandro Aranda is a young dishwasher from Pomona, Southern California. Amazingly, he only picked up music seriously four years ago. He was also homeschooled. He's been touted as one of the greatest American Idol contestants of all time, and even artists like Stevie Nicks and Ben Harper have praised him.
Alejandro grew up working a variety of jobs as a dishwasher, fast food worker, and warehouse worker. That said, in his free time, he was always busking in the streets of Pomona, CA. Music went from being therapeutic to being his lifelong inspiration.
I think you're the winner. I think you're really special. I think you're an absolute genius."
— Katy Perry (Talking About Alejandro Aranda)
On Losing American Idol to Laine Hardy
Many consider this a blessing. Although he finished as runner-up, his fan base was glad for him. Many were concerned that a contract with American Idol would stunt his artistic freedom. Even Katy Perry said, "[Idol's] more about karaoke than musicianship." Rumor has it that he's been offered numerous record label deals. So, what's his next move? He's going on tour.
I feel like I'm in the presence of greatness. I've just never seen anything like that. It has totally rocked my world. It's like watching my favorite movie that I did not want to end.
— Luke Bryan (Talking About Alejandro Aranda)
What Makes Him Sound Different?
Alejandro uses C tuning to tune his guitar. This means the guitar is tuned two whole steps lower than the standard tuning. He uses the lower notes for melodies when he plays piano. He also incorporates diminished passing chords into his pop sound, which is unusual. It's possible that he does this as a result of his multicultural background and early musical influence. He's also an amazing lyricist and songwriter. One of his best talents is his ability to tell a story. His songs are so deep, many of us wonder, who broke his heart?
I think my escape from everything is music. I'm not going to neglect the things I love to do.
How Did He Get Popular?
Alejandro got his visibility on ABC's American Idol in 2019, when he humbly auditioned on both guitar and piano for judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan. It was clear from his first audition that there is still so much more to him as a musician than we are ready for. Lionel Richie added, "You, my friend are so talented... I'm so inspired." Lionel likened Alejandro's audition to the moment he first saw Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder perform live in a room—it was simply captivating.
We're the lucky ones. We're the lucky ones because the universe chose this time to bring you in front of America. You have such a career and the fact that you don't know it makes it even more special. There's nothing like you my friend."
— Lionel Richie (Talking About Alejandro Aranda)
Stevie Nicks' Prophecy
On March 6th, 2019, singer Stevie Nicks had a prophecy about Alejandro Aranda at the start of the competition, saying:
Last night on American Idol (day off), I was just ready to push 'Guide' for the next hour and on walked this quiet soft-spoken guy and something about him said 'Don’t change the channel.' When he started to play the first chords—I started to cry—I cried all through his guitar song and all through his piano song.
My prophecy: he will play and sing across the great stages of the world. He will play with 60-piece orchestras and he will play alone. I felt, as did the judges, that I was suspended in some sort of magical grace that was just simply overwhelming. My tears did not stop until he stopped.
So, Alejandro, let me welcome you to the grand stage that will be your home for the rest of your extraordinary life—
On May 19, that prophecy was fulfilled. Alejandro performed with an orchestra. Alejandro clearly got emotional towards the end of his performance of "Remember."
Does He Have a Girlfriend?
For all the people out there crushing on Alejandro, it's uncertain whether he's dating. But he has had his heart broken! On his Instagram account, he even dedicates some of his music to his emotions surrounding the love (the girlfriend or ex-girlfriend) who left him and broke his heart. So, maybe he's single after all?
From His American Idol Q&A
Q: What would be your superpower?
A: To fly. 'Cause I think traveling is awesome.
Q: What are your irrational fears?
A: Elevators, crowds of people, planes, I'm afraid of spiders, and yeah, I can keep going.
Q: If you could learn any new instrument, what would it be?
A: A sitar.
— From His American Idol Q&A
What's His Family Like?
Many have been curious to know about Alejandro's family. While we know his hometown is Pomona, and he has huge support there, he's done a good job of keeping his family out of the limelight. When it came to American Idol's Mother's Day performances, whereas most of the contestants featured their mom, dad, and siblings, Alejandro elected to honor his mentor and musician friend, Twin Shadow.
Twin Shadow is known in the music community for his diverse sound and experimental compositions. So, Alejandro, inspired by and grateful for the mentorship and collaborations, rightfully dedicated his song to Twin Shadow.
Alejandro Aranda's Career After American Idol
Alejandro's hometown of Pomona, California, chose to honor the musician by declaring May 19, 2019, "Alejandro Aranda Day." Aranda went on a seven-date U.S. tour in July. After tickets went on sale on the morning of May 23, they all sold out in minutes. American Idol judge Katy Perry jokingly begged Aranda to be a "roadie" on his tour. Because of the overwhelming amount of support, he announced on June 11 that he would put on a free concert in Nashville on July 3, 2019. On June 23, Aranda announced that he was working on a new album, and on June 24, he announced he would go on a 28-stop tour from October 10 to November 21. He also performed at Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 3, and at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October 2019. He will be one of the supporting acts for Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds on their fourth annual destination tour in Mexico in February 2020.
He released the single "Tonight" under the name Scarypoolparty on June 28, 2019, after signing with Hollywood Records. The song was co-written and co-produced by Twin Shadow. On August 7, he released the ballad "Cholo Love." On October 4, 2019, he released the single "Diamonds."
On November 5, he announced his debut album, Exit Form, which was released on November 22, 2019. It looks like his career is only going up!
Should He Have Won "American Idol?"
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Laynie H
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on October 23, 2019:
Hi Steve—thanks for sharing your experience. That's a huge bummer to hear. I know he's always been super fond of his fan base and expresses his gratitude. I tried to see him in the San Francisco Bay Area . . . but his tickets sold out fast. I do like the way he portrayed his music on AI. It was gentle and appeasing. I have not since heard his new stuff.
Steve on October 21, 2019:
Just saw Scarypoolparty w/ Sucre at the Belly Up in Aspen this past Friday night. I, like many of you, was moved by Alejandro's music on AI and really looking forward to more of the same. Instead, it was Nine Inch Nails albeit Alejandro style. The place was only 1/3 full to start and after four songs in, nearly empty. He went on a diatribe about appreciating us letting him express his musical creativity, but unfortunately, also soon realized he was lip syncing everything and even his piano riffs appeared recorded (finger movement did not match what was coming from the speakers). Very disappointing.
Fernando Iturburu on May 25, 2019:
Take easy people with Laine, ok? The kid is very good and has a great future, most of voters support him and that's it. Stop fighting with other people because of it. So, good luck Laine. Now to our business. Alejandro is a different animal, we all know it. And that's the guy we care about in here. I want to know, 1- Who's his agent? That is: Who's in charge of his artistic career now? 2- Why we don't know anything about his plans? 3- When will he record a better version of the original "Blesser" (which is the verb in French for "To Hurt"). Alejandro is still very active in IG, but that's not enough. Last thing: Ryan Creast said in his TV program that Alejandro cannot fly. So, one more thing he has to deal with. But we have his back now. No more messing with him.
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 24, 2019:
Hi Mike—thanks for your commentary. I totally agree. He's awakened a l lot of people. I tried so hard to get tickets to one of the shows in my area but they were sold out instantly! ): He will make history with his musicality.
Mike Lizarraga on May 24, 2019:
I have never ever been so moved by an artist like I have by Alejandro. He tugs at the soul and won’t let you go until he is done singing. He is a true musical genius. The real deal. There something truly special about him.
JensenX on May 21, 2019:
Maria - I think that's a bit harsh to say he was cheated. He was not. He came second in the world's most high profile singing contest ahead of thousands of other hopefuls, many who were also very talented. One must realize that the American public chooses the ultimate winner by votes. I'm sure the vote count was very close, but once the live voting starts, it's no longer about pure talent, but popularity. Most people would have made up their minds weeks earlier who they were going to vote for, and final performances wouldn't change the outcome, no matter how good or bad they were. That's not to say Alejandro wasn't popular. He was the second most popular out of a very good top 10. No one was cheated - people voted.
My household was divided as my wife wanted Laine to win and I preferred Alejandro, but that doesn't mean I didn't like Laine, because I did. I also liked Laci, Jeremiah, Madison and the rest of the top 10. I'm not upset about the outcome and I predicted weeks ago that Laine would win. Probably every person in Lousiana voted for him. Music is like food - people have different tastes.
Bear in mind that AI is a singing contest. It's not a piano or guitar playing contest, or who can write the best songs. They should be judged on their singing ability alone. If you take away the guitar or piano, and let them sing acapella, who are the better singers? Laine and Madison, for sure. Alejandro needs his instruments to shine. He's a package, not a pure singer. Considering that, he did far better than anyone could have expected.
Lastly, to say you won't watch another AI season ever again because your favorite contestant didn't win is a tad overreactive. I see the same comment a lot on various forums. AI is more than just about the winner. It's 18 episodes of entertainment and IMO has improved a lot under the ABC banner. I enjoy all 18 episodes, and really enjoy the early rounds and auditions. I also really like the current judges, which are a far cry from the old, dreary teams (Simon, Randy, Paula, Nicki, Mariah, Jennifer, Steven, Keith, etc). What about Haley Reinhart in Season 10(2011)? My favorite and IMO the most talented contestant that year. She placed 3rd, so if there was ever a year I could have said "I'm not watching another season ever again", that would have been the year I stopped watching lol.
Who misses the sing-offs? Expecting an emotional contestant that has just been eliminated to sing one last song is cruel. And what about sitting through a result show every week. Good riddance to that.
I'll put money down that Maria will be watching again next year...
I apologize for the long rant...
Maria Nava on May 20, 2019:
I feel the same way, Alejandro was cheated. He is the true self made star. Laine will be a puppet. Seems even last years winner is being mistreated. Be careful Laine. I plan to be the first in line to purchase any of Alejandro's music. I will not watch another season of AI ever again.
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 19, 2019:
Jose—I think Alejandro has been smart about keeping his family anonymous as fame can do some crazy things when it comes to privacy. Maybe he's protecting their privacy.
Also, California is wonderfully diverse. I've read that he's multiracial/multicultural. He lists "Spanish" boy on his IG handle. Does anyone know his ethnicity?
There are a lot of reasons for families to opt out of television visibility. Anyone stepping onto TV has to sign a release—a legal doc . . . so trying to understand that aspect. I don't mind that his family has been anonymous. Probably for the better.
I think he's the winner. Everyone is ready for him to win. I'm surprised Madison got voted off, but I agree with C Vega. Alejandro is a true musician.
I'm currently working on trying to find out his sign—birth date. Figure out what zodiac sign he is. Does anyone know?
C Vega on May 19, 2019:
Alejandro is the real winner. nothing karaoke about his music or style. I guess thats what the fans are looking for, not an original singer/songwriter like Alejandro. Laine sang everyone else's music, which in my opinion is nothing extraordinary about him. I won't watch another AI, the fans just aren't ready for performances that are extremely good and extraordinary as Alejando's music.
Jose on May 19, 2019:
Where are his parents
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 15, 2019:
You are so insightful about Laci! It's true, the jealousy. She reminded me of the great folk artists of the 60s and 70s—totally reminiscent. She also seems to come from humble beginnings, which makes her special. Good point about Wade. I'm not well-versed in metal. I thought Jeremiah was incredible and Walker (?) Walter? He had a warm quality. Yes, Jeremiah was captivating. I think you're right in that they carefully curate the finalists. So I wonder if pairing Alejandro against somewhat generic artists was strategy as the other contestants that got booted also bring emotion. (My family thinks the voting system is fair, but knowing it's Hollywood, I'm sure things are manipulated) I can't decide what I hope for Alejandro–just that I hope they let him do him. All he needs its quality studio time and the benefit of access to great resources to further his craft. I love your insights.
JensenX on May 15, 2019:
Yes, I did like Laci, but I think her beauty went against her - too many jealous girls will vote for the boys instead LOL. Doesn't she already have it all? I'm sure she has a successful career guaranteed already. I worry about Wade's voice. He mentioned he got that raspy voice through damage from too much screaming heavy metal when younger. I hope it lasts, but it does seems like hard work. Jeremiah has some pipes, doesn't he? Incredible range with ease. I was surprised they saved Laci instead. Maybe they wanted to keep more girls in the contest.
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 15, 2019:
yep—part of me wants him to win to change things and part of me wants him be free and be runner-up because we know he will do just fine. I actually thought Laci Kaye (sp) and Wayne offered more than the other two finalists based on their unique voice and developed style. Yeah—heartthrobs and belters tend to go far as well. Laci has a wonderful folk sound and look and Waynes voice is so easily identified.
JensenX on May 15, 2019:
I agree. I hope he wins, if he doesn't it won't be the first time the best talent has been pipped at the post on American Idol. Some people even suggest that winning could be bad for his career due to possible restraints on his creative freedom once he's under contract. I think it will come down to Laine and Alejandro. Laine has that cute appeal that so many young female voters yearn for... and in any other year would been a slam dunk to win... and that's not to say Madison isn't a good singer too - she is. This year it has been painful to see contestants go home as there is so much talent.
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 14, 2019:
JensenX—I agree that he likely had early music exposure but didn't take himself seriously until 4 years ago. Maybe it was more of a hobby. I cannot imagine 4 years of progression that quickly, but regardless, he deserves every bit of celebration for all that he has achieved and is capable of achieving. Incredible musicianship. It fascinates me the fishing critics call him a 1-trick pony, not true, he simply already has a well-formed style and sound. Just like Niel Young and Bob Dylan have a recognizable sound to them, he already has his which is just one phase of essential development for any musician.
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 14, 2019:
JensenX—I included his other video of Blesser in here because his full version is just incredible. Take a listen if you haven't already. I totally agree that you can feel his influence of the early composers. Its incredible how he touches on classical music and then jumps into live performances with Twin Shadow and contemporary work. I saw a video of him playing bass with bleached hair. Here's very diverse. Sometimes I even hear country potential in his song "Fading Away"—I believe. He's quite the song writer and musician indeed. I think he's really waking up a lot of people.
JensenX on May 14, 2019:
I see he brought an improved short version of Blesser to the contest in the latest episode. It is an amazing jazz/classical blend. I would put that down as the best performance and display of musical talent on the American Idol stage, ever. Who can play the piano to that level of proficiency while singing like that? He did mention in the prologue that he grew up listening to Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Bach. He didn't make it clear whether he started playing piano "growing up", but I suspect he did.
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 11, 2019:
Jensenx I totally agree about the popularity contest. Sometimes I suspect that they spare the most diversified/talented from the American Idol path knowing that they would box them in/it isn't the best thing for their growth. I do hope that, that the Alejandro frenzy has touched enough people with amazement that we wins it. They seem to have finally bent the rules allowing him to play his originals–I've never seen that before. He will also make them a ton of money. I hate to look at it from that perspective, but it doesnt slip my mind.
I do think he is a musical genius. it's quite impossible to reach that level of mastery even playing every day since you are child and being able to compose. people can be great pianists but they aren't also composers. he's a composers no doubt.
JensenX on May 11, 2019:
Mona, it does make a difference. If he developed the piano playing skills that he demonstrates in the Blesser YouTube video which he posted in March 2016, then we're looking at a musical genius, perhaps on a par with Mozart, Bach or Chopin. Of course, musical geniuses of that caliber exist today, just as they did hundreds of years ago. The world may have just discovered one. Unfortunately, American Idol, in the final public voting rounds, is more of a popularity contest than a talent contest. The accolades don't always go to the most talented performer, and to be fair, there has been a lot of talent this year.
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 11, 2019:
mona—I agree. I'm fascinated by how great he is with few years of exposure. I grew up classically trained on violin and around many professional pianists, and most people have to start from an early age to play like that. He's truly incredible!
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on May 11, 2019:
Thanks JensenX—I just updated/corrected that!
mona on May 11, 2019:
Doesn't even matter how long or how short he has been playing, he is amazing talented and great!!!
JensenX on May 11, 2019:
Regarding point 6. i.e. your comment he's been "playing music" for 4 years since age 16. Perhaps you meant 8 years, as he is 24 years old now. The video of him playing Blesser was posted just over 3 years ago, so there's no way he was playing like that after 1 year. I really think he's been playing for a lot longer though. You can't believe everything people say. My thoughts are that he learned classical piano at a young age, then stopped for a time and decided to pick it up again as a young adult. I did that too after being pushed into playing when I was about 8 years old. I hated it back then and I could not appreciate it until I was older. No offense to Alejandro - he's amazing.
Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on April 19, 2019:
Thanks for the read Liz. I've really been interested in his story, much like the rest of us. How talent can fly under the radar or make it big.
Liz Westwood from UK on April 19, 2019:
This article gives a lot of background information about someone, who until recently was relatively unknown.