Cultivating his multitude of musical talents, independent songwriter, arranger and producer Alan Aranas has taken bold sonic steps to follow in the mega-platinum musical footsteps of fellow Virginia Beach natives Timbaland and The Neptunes. In recent years, he has become a powerful behind-the-scenes force for a number of rising East Coasts artists in a wide variety of genres. 

While amassing a solid resume of writing and production credits for performers like Nolan Doran and Justin Titus, the Northern Virginia-based, classically trained Aranas has launched a career as an artist in his own right with a self titled album currently available in the online store of Boost Independent Music. He is also the owner of the production company Non-Stop Access Management and a renowned music educator.

“During the 90s boom in Virginia Beach, Pharrell and Chad of the Neptunes and Timbaland were starting to blow up,” says Aranas. “I was enrolled at the Governor’s School of the Arts at the time, studying classical piano, but became even more excited when an entry level songwriting and recording class taught by Doug Thiele exposed me to the world of studio production. This was all quite a switch for me because my first instrument in grade school was violin. I had switched to viola later in high school after a recommendation by a member of the Virginia Symphony. I had been in many master classes where precision was more important than emotion, and I liked the more laid back vibe that pop music presented and the deeper emotional possibilities I could explore as a pop songwriter.”

While attending the Governor’s School of the Arts, Aranas received an unexpected boost of encouragement when he won the Virginia Reflections music and art competition with an instrumental piano piece he had composed. Aranas was later accepted into Virginia Commonwealth University Music Program by virtue of his audition on viola, but he quickly was accepted into the hip-hop groove with three friends and formed a DJ crew called Sound Creation, which played numerous college parties throughout his years studying for a degree in Music Composition.

Because three members of the crew, including Aranas, were Filipino Americans, Sound Creation’s chief influences in developing their sound were superstar revolutionary Filipino turntablists Invisibl Skratch Piklz and DJ Qbert. Aranas had fun beat juggling and manipulating the works of others, but ultimately decided he wanted to write and produce original music rather than riff off the works of others.

Among those who encouraged Aranas’ developing artistry during his days at VCU was his classical music teacher, the late pianist, composer and punk rock singer Dr. Dika Newlin. Newlin said, “Alan Aranas is always seeking to bridge the perceived (but often imaginary) gap between ‘serious’ and ‘popular’ music. His music has a deceptively simple, accessible, melodically and rhythmically ‘catchy’ style ...with an autobiographical twist.”

Working later on his Master’s in film music composition at NYU, Aranas broke into hip-hop production with a track for Moeroc, brother of his friend Ted Clayton of one20productions.
Moving away from his heavily structured classical background, he began writing and producing more R&B ballads and adult contemporary songs. Settling back in Northern Virginia, he worked various day jobs for a time while launching Non-Stop Access Management as an umbrella firm for his many ongoing songwriting, arranging and production endeavors, which currently include projects for prominent D.C.-based hip hop artists Hardtimez and C-Note. While amassing a library of film music cues—he counts John Williams and Howard Shore as his influences in this arena--Aranas continues to teach piano, violin, viola, cello and songwriting.

“The most interesting thing about going to music school and working in the industry is how my long term goals have changed over the years,” he says. “At one point, I wanted to be a member of a touring orchestra, then I wanted to write for film, and now, of course, I am enjoying helping to develop the careers of many artists who are in turn working with me on my own solo projects. The main thrust is that I love being around music people and look forward to different collaborations which lead to wonderfully unexpected musical experiences. Like any other artist and producer, I want my music to be heard so that it can touch as many people as possible.”

With all of his many creative endeavors, Alan Aranas’ ultimate goal is to challenge his audience see life from a different point of view and invite them to share in his ever-diversifying array of musical passions.