Hotstar: Scarypoolparty Makes A Touring Splash Post-‘Idol’

Skyler Barberio
– Scarypoolparty
aka Alejandro Aranda

Alejandro Aranda was placed both in front of millions and in front of three very high-profile critics for a debut few aspiring musicians could ever dream of. 

The panel of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan would be a tough audience for any contestant, but Aranda, introduced on “American Idol” as a “dishwasher,” wowed the panel with his original song “Out Loud” while playing guitar, which prompted the panel to immediately ask for more, pointing him toward a piano in the corner of the studio. 
After a self-deprecating admission that he “hadn’t played piano in a minute,” he stunned the judges with another emotive original number, the bouncing “Cholo Love.” 
He quickly became a fan favorite, as well, a breath of fresh air in an environment that can become stale with dreams of manufactured stardom reciting the music of others.
“I was heading toward the restroom by my office and I run into Lionel Richie and he looks at me and goes, ‘We got one. His name is Alejandro,’” says Red Light Management’s Jonathan Shank, who works with “American Idol” talent including Season 16 winner Maddie Pope and shows including Peppa Pig Live! and Disney Junior Dance Party. “All I can say is we’re honored and blessed to be working with someone of such immense talent.”
The 24-year-old Aranda, who notes that the show took some liberties describing his background and had been pursuing music seriously for the past four years, ended up winning second place and immediately announced a solo headline tour under the moniker Scarypoolparty, a clear indication of a new direction although making the most of the opportunity. 
 “We purposefully started out small, with only six high-profile market shows in alternative-leaning clubs (300 capacity on average), and we announced those shows the day after the ‘American Idol’ finale,” UTA’s Jbeau Lewis, part of the team of agents representing Scarypoolparty, tells Pollstar. “Given that Alejandro was performing original material every week and the level of his fans’ engagement throughout the television show, we were very confident the business would be strong. When we saw how quickly those initial shows sold out, we began booking more shows in larger-capacity venues, and the momentum is continuing to grow and intensify.” 
The humble, down-to-earth demeanor that fans fell in love with has translated to the stage. Wrapping up his first gigs after the “Idol” experience, at the Moroccan Lounge in his hometown of Pomona, Calif., July 15, an eager fan called out “We’ve been here since 2 o’clock!” after the singer asked if everyone had eaten dinner before the show. “Oh jeez. Why?” Aranda asked in response, according to a local newspaper review. 
“It was my first ever time playing for a sold-out crowd,” Aranda tells Pollstar of that initial run. “Before that I was a gigging musician playing with bands and doing the whole touring circuit thing, but for me playing alone, my own music and in front of an audience packed every night is pretty mind boggling. I’m not used to that, people camping out to see me play. I take it with all humbleness. The milestone is being on tour, one where you’re not worried about paying for gas money with merch sales.”
The upcoming run of dates, in rooms averaging 1,500 capacity, includes shows on both coasts in venues such as Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colo., First Avenue in Minneapolis, White Oak Music Hall in Houston, Emo’s Austin, House of Blues San Diego, as well as two dates in London and festival appearances including Lollapalooza, Life is Beautiful, Austin City Limits Music Festival and the just-announced Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Riviera Maya 2020 in Mexico.   
“Each of the 30 dates on the Scarypoolparty fall tour is either sold out or on its way to selling out well in advance,” Lewis said. “With more new music on the horizon, we are looking forward to a solid festival run in 2020. We also plan to book more headlining shows and look forward to tapping into new worldwide markets.”
Aranda himself, reached just days before his Lollapalooza set, says the hard work has paid off, but he doesn’t take any success for granted. 
“I feel grateful that I’ve kind of cleared the bar, from playing bars as a no one to playing one of the biggest festivals in the world. I’m feeling stoked. I got my band together and we had rehearsals and everything sounds super tight and super big.” Aranda notes he’ll be playing original music with a full band on this run. With a debut LP in the works, he notes Skinny Puppy and industrial music as strong influences. 
“He’s worthy of all the kudos and buzz he’s getting,” Shank adds. “He’s incredibly low maintenance, easy to work with and humble and grateful for all of the opportunity and looking forward to the future growth and seeing where this all can go. I don’t think there is a ceiling at this point. The trajectory is incredible. I see him having the ability and the talent and showmanship to be an arena and festival headliner.”
As for where Aranda sees himself in the shorter-term, “There’s something about theatres. I remember I saw Sigur Ros, Russian Circles, Coheed and Cambria, The Tallest Man On Earth, I’ve seen a lot of bands in theatres and I kind of want to go into that zone. It’s a different vibe. You’re there to see a show and it’s just about the music,” Aranda says.