Q&A: Arlington’s A-Wall is more than a viral TikTok

Aaron Paredes, who records as A wallhit the viral jackpot when his song “Loverboy” caught trending on TikTok. But the 23-year-old wanted more than just a moment of glory. His new album, Automatic pilot, will take you through his journey of self-doubt, anxiety and the driving passion of risking everything in an attempt to make music. Originally from El Paso but now living in Arlington, A-Wall welcomed change by not committing to the genre. Instead, he is inspired by the desire to evolve his style in many different directions. Paredes incorporates his singing and rapping while blending hip hop, electronics and R&B, while paying homage to his original beginnings in chamber pop. We have the single “Dropout” on loop when we want to get real with our inner demons.

Let’s talk music. How did you discover this passion? In college, I wanted to be a DJ. My first influence was EDM and dance music. My first gig was a rave my aunts took me to in El Paso. When I saw everyone dancing and the DJ up there, I fell in love with it. It was then that I knew.

So it was EDM first, but you don’t really do that kind of music anymore, do you? When I got to Arlington, nobody around me was listening to that. It made me broaden what I listened to – rock, hip hop, rap. It all came from living here.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it? It’s hard, but I would say alternative and anti-pop.

Where does the name A-Wall come from? Do you credit an online rap name generator? My last name is Paredes, and it translates to “walls” in Spanish. I added in the “A” because my first name is Aaron. But the real credit goes to my father. He had a username somewhere called Mr. A-Wall and I was like, “Yo, that’s a fire name.”

Congratulations to your father! Yes, I took it from him.

If it wasn’t music, what would you be doing? That’s literally what this whole album is about. I dropped out of UTA and then community college and there really was no plan B. When I was in college I was failing miserably, not because I didn’t understand, but because my heart didn’t. just wasn’t there.

I have to ask, how was that conversation with your parents? It was hard. I was hiding it, they knew I was into music, but not to that extent. It was also scary because I had so much pressure to succeed. That conversation didn’t happen until “Loverboy,” actually.

I have to mention how you went viral on TikTok. Last time I checked, “Loverboy” had 193 million plays on Spotify. What makes your song go viral like that? It was interesting, weird and crazy. I quickly started trying to finalize the album I was working on. The first month wasn’t even related to my name or my face, so I had to make people realize that it was my song they were trending with.

Naturally, you weren’t ready for this at all. Absolutely not. I was struggling to finish my album. But the song was taking off. Every day I woke up to my phone exploding.

I saw you play live not too long ago; everyone was singing during your performance. How does it feel to see people singing songs you wrote to yourself? It was an insane feeling. “Loverboy” going viral was really an internet thing, but seeing the reaction of a crowd in person is something different.

We’ve seen this growing movement with young independent Latinx artists in Dallas such as Luna Luna, Ariel + The Culture, CHROMA and yourself. How does it feel to be part of it? It’s an honor. Representing my community means so much to me. It’s like we’re part of something big that starts here.

What is the evolution from your previous albums to the new album, Automatic pilot? In Verano and Helios, I was really into the melodic and sung parts of the songs. With Primavera, which is when I was collaborating with CHROMA, they really took me out of my comfort zone with some of the beats that I was jumping on. We stayed in an Airbnb for weeks trying to finish the Primavera album. This is where there has been a lot of growth and what you will be able to see with Automatic pilot.

Are there any influences that inspired you for this album? Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean, Mac Miller, Kanye West and Kid Cudi.

“Dropout” is the first single from your new album, where you openly wrote about anxiety and self-doubt. Why is it important for you to make music with these kind of themes? People really don’t know anything about me at this point other than TikTok. This is me talking about what life would be like if things weren’t right and how I would feel like I had nothing left.

Sounds like this song could have been hard to write. This album was difficult to write.

How? I wanted people to understand how this was not just a fun and joyful ride. There was also a lot of darkness.

Do you feel comfortable sharing that with your audience through this album? Well, that’s part of the story. And I also want to inspire people who may feel like they don’t know if they can commit to being an artist.

You also have a tour coming up, with lots of dates in Texas for us to hear your story live. Yeah! I’ll be playing Dallas for Halloween at the Ruins.


Aileen Jimenez

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Aileen is the Research Editor for Magazine D and D Home. Proud native of Dallas, she happily obtains the…

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