Who Is Alejandro Aranda? Why He's the Next "Great"

Updated on May 23, 2019
Layne Holmes profile image

Layne is a writer. She enjoys staying current on trends, media, and emerging topics.

Who Is Alejandro Aranda?
Who Is Alejandro Aranda? | Source

Everything You Need to Know About Alejandro Aranda

  • Where is he from? Pomona, California (Southern California)
  • How old is he? 24 years old
  • What is his stage name? ScaryPoolParty
  • What instruments does he play? Guitar, piano/keys, looping, misc.
  • Songs: "Blesser" "10 Years" "Fading Away" "Out Loud" "Cholo Love" "Poison"

Alejandro Aranda is a 24-year-old dishwasher from Pomona, Southern California. Amazingly, he only picked up music seriously 4 years ago and was homeschooled. He's been touted as the greatest American Idol contestant 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, in fast food, and in warehouses, but he was always busking in the streets of Pomona, CA, in his free time. Music went from being his therapy to being his lifelong inspiration.

Who's Your Hero?

Trent Rezner, Chopin, and Bach.

Alejandro Performing Live at a Backyard Party 2019 (Sofar Sounds)

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 as many were concerned that a contract with idol would stunt his artistic freedom. Even Katy Perry said it—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.

Tour Dates

Tickets to Alejandro's shows have been selling out in seconds! Fans noted that the July 13th San Francisco event at the Swedish American Hall (200–300 person venue) sold out in seconds. Staff reported that 6,000 fans tried to log on at exactly 10 am when the tickets went up for sale. The Pomona event is sold out as well. His tour dates are listed below:

  • July 8 Washington DC - DC9
  • July 9 Brooklyn, NY - Baby's All Right (SOLD OUT)
  • July 10 Boston, MA - Sonia's Nightclub
  • July 11 Chicago, IL - Subterranean
  • July 13 San Francisco, CA - Swedish American Hall (SOLD OUT)
  • July 15 Los Angeles, CA - Moroccan Lounge
  • July 17 Pomona, CA - The Glass House (SOLD OUT)

Alejandro Aranda's Tuning: What Makes Him Sound Different

Alejandro uses C tuning to tune his guitar. This means the guitar is tuned down two whole steps lower than the standard tuning. He uses the lower notes for melodies when he plays piano and also incorporates diminished passing chords into his pop sound which is unusual—possibly a result of his multi-cultural background and early musical influence. He's also an amazing lyricist and songwriter. One of this best talents is his style of story-telling through song. His songs are so deep, many of us wonder, so who broke his heart?

I think my escape from everything is music. I'm not going to neglect the things I love to do.

— Alejandro

Alejandro "Remember" Backed by Full Orchestra on American Idol

Why We Love Alejandro Aranda

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, but it was clear from his first audition that there is so much more to him as a musician than we are even 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.

Stevie Nicks' Prophecy

Singer Stevie Nicks had a prophecy about Alejandro Aranda from the start of the competition, and on May 19 that prophecy was fulfilled. Alejandro performed with an orchestra (dressed in black beanies—French horns and all). Alejandro clearly got emotional towards the end of his performance of "Remember." This is what Stevie Nicks wrote on March 6th, 2019:

"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~
Love always,
Stevie Nicks"

Video: "Blesser" ScaryPoolParty—Alejandro on Piano Live

Video: Alejandro's American Idol Version of "Blesser"

10 Interesting Facts About Alejandro Aranda

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 with looping and vocals.

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.

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

Alejandro Sings His Original "Poison" Live on American Idol

Bonus: 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?

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 checkout his original below, "Blesser."

4. He won 2017 artist of the year.

Five of Five Entertainment and California State University at Northridge (Pomona, Calif.) 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 affect it has on others. Since attending a pool party and having an epiphany—that his future is in music—he adopted the stage name "ScaryPoolParty" and never looked back.

I think you're the winner. I think you're really special. I think you're an absolute genius."

— Katy Perry

Video: Alejandro Aranda & Ben Harper Duet "There Will Be a Light"

Ben heard Alejandro playing in his music shop, and while he'd normally not come on a TV show like American Idol, he did it because he said Alejandro is the next great! Not to mention, they grew up in the same county.

6. He's only been playing music for 4 years.

As of 2019, he has only been playing music for 4 years. That means he started when he was 20. Watch the video, "Blesser," above, 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 years.

7. He busked for extra cash.

Like a lot of great undiscovered talent, Alejandro would invest his free time in busking for extra cash. As a worker in a warehouse, a "dishwasher," he'd play both piano and guitar on the street outside of his regular work 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!

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

Video: Alejandro Aranda Debuts His Original "Cholo Love"

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 how there's 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 all of his accomplishments or telling us how he has lived his life for music, he simply states, "I'm hard working." And has he shown it!

Alejandro Aranda's Family: Who Are They?

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 is 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.

More Alejandro Aranda Trivia From Interviews

He claims to be the most boring guy in the world, he claims his two passionate are playing music and eating—he doesn't party and he doesn't do drugs.

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."

Video: Watch His Audition

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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Layne Holmes


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      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        9 hours ago from Bend, Oregon

        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.

      • profile image

        Mike Lizarraga 

        10 hours ago

        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.

      • profile image


        3 days ago

        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...

      • profile image

        Maria Nava 

        4 days ago

        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.

      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        4 days ago from Bend, Oregon

        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?

      • profile image

        C Vega 

        4 days ago

        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.

      • profile image


        5 days ago

        Where are his parents

      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        9 days ago from Bend, Oregon

        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.

      • profile image


        9 days ago

        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.

      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        9 days ago from Bend, Oregon

        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.

      • profile image


        9 days ago

        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.

      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        9 days ago from Bend, Oregon

        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.

      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        9 days ago from Bend, Oregon

        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.

      • profile image


        10 days ago

        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.

      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        13 days ago from Bend, Oregon

        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.

      • profile image


        13 days ago

        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.

      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        13 days ago from Bend, Oregon

        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!

      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        13 days ago from Bend, Oregon

        Thanks JensenX—I just updated/corrected that!

      • profile image


        13 days ago

        Doesn't even matter how long or how short he has been playing, he is amazing talented and great!!!

      • profile image


        13 days ago

        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.

      • Layne Holmes profile imageAUTHOR

        Layne Holmes 

        5 weeks ago from Bend, Oregon

        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.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        5 weeks ago from UK

        This article gives a lot of background information about someone, who until recently was relatively unknown.


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