ST. MARYS — For senior Roughrider Ariel Dodson, life is music.
The 17-year-old begrudgingly picked up the bass guitar three years ago June, and after much hard work and instruction, fell in love with it. Her YouTube channel, named excetera66, features covers of the bass playing in songs she likes, as well as videos that teach viewers how to play the bass in certain songs. The content is “a lot of rock, some metal stuff. It depends. Sometimes I’ll play Deftones or Lamb of God,” Dodson said.
“I started on guitar my eighth-grade year,” she said.
“And the summer of my freshman year ... I got in a metal band and there were two guitar players already; but I didn’t know that. My sister was lead vocalist, and she says to me, ‘We already have two guitar players.’ And I said, ‘Well, what do you want me to do?’ And she was like, ‘You’re playing bass or you’re out of my band.’ It was that direct — she didn’t really give me an option. And three years later, I never thought I’d be saying thank you.”
At first, she learned from one of the guitarists in the band, but now she teaches herself. Dodson admittedly hated playing bass in the beginning, but in not much time at all, she took off with it and learned to play it like a guitar — doing her own solos and taking bass-playing to a whole new level.
Dodson’s videos have more than 40,000 views, and she receives a lot of feedback, comments and requests from viewers.
“I didn’t expect so much to come out of it so soon,” she said.
“I just kept practicing like I always did, and things just opened up ... The band I’m currently in is death metal. It’s very technical. I think the easiest song we had is 180 beats per minute. Right now we’re working on a 360 beat per minute song, so it’s super technical. It’s crazy. It’s insane, but I love it.”
Dodson looks the part of a rocker, too, with her thick, black hair swooped over to one side, heavy eye makeup and the black mascara dots she’s drawn in the far corners of her eyes. Her black T-shirt featuring a skull and crossbones is playfully paired with a purple skirt.
Dodson said her main reason for getting into the music scene stems from the hard times she experienced as a middle school student. This was when she turned to music for comfort, and for hope.
It wasn’t until high school that she “found her character,” she said. Helping others who are struggling with identity has become her motivation in wanting to succeed in the music industry.
“I want to be that person who saves lives, not because I’m in it for a paycheck or how I look that day,” she said.
“I want to help people with my music ... I don’t want people to just look at me, I want them to listen to me.”
Dodson said she is not certain what the future holds, but she plans on continuing in her band and working hard on her YouTube channel.
“I think I’m just going to keep working on music and wait for something to happen,” she said. “I might move to California after I graduate. It all depends on what’s out there for me, and what I can make out of it.”