Only nine years old, Ellen sheds light on juggling bass, daily life, and friends.
While scrolling through the music corner of Instagram, you may come across Ellen Alaverdyan: a nine-year-old bass player whose music chops cut through your daily intake of social media. Born in California to Armenian parents, Alaverdyan began playing bass naught but two years ago. She’s since made quite an impression on social media, showing up on many an artist’s radars.
In that short span of time, she has accomplished so much. Recently she opened for the Golden State Warriors game at the Chase Center, playing bass even during half-time in front of thousands of spectators, and has been a host on Steve Harvey’s show called “STEVE on Watch.” Here she met none other than Bootsy Collins and members of Earth, Wind & Fire. Alaverdyan has also met musicians like guitarist Steve Vai, bassist Richard Bona, and Victor Wooten.
Is she small? Sure, but she packs quite the punch with her bass playing!
The Concordian sat down with Alaverdyan to talk about her music and goals.
The Concordian: What’s your day-to-day routine like?
Ellen Alaverdyan: Usually I come back from school, then I’ll eat and watch something and then at 6 or 7 p.m. I’ll practice something if we don’t have anything to record, and then after that, I’ll play some video games if I have time and then go to sleep.
TC: Picture this: it’s your first time picking up the bass, how did you feel?
EA: Guess I’m going to have to flashback two years ago. At first, I thought it was a guitar but as I started playing the notes I felt that it wasn’t a low sound but more so a bigger vibration.
TC: What would be the next technique that you are going to learn on bass?
EA: Slap. I’m learning a couple of things on slap right now. I’m working on Victor Wooten’s lesson right now. He calls it “thumping and plucking.”
TC: Do you have any hobbies when you’re not playing music?
EA: Oh yeah, my main one is drawing. I used to go to gymnastics but not anymore. I went to gymnastics in Cali and now we moved to Vegas so we’re trying to find a gymnastics place.
TC: How did the move change you in terms of music-making?
EA: It helped a lot because our old home was really small. Our studio back then was separate and we had to drive to it. Now in our new house, we made the studio in the garage. My dad still has his connections in LA and so we can still go back and record.
TC: What genre of music influences you?
EA: So right now I like funk. I’ve been getting into and listening to a lot of rock songs recently, but my main genre is funk. We’re talking old-school funk with Bootsy Collins, Kool & The Gang, and P-Funk.
TC: Speaking of Bootsy Collins. I watched you on Steve Harvey’s show, that was amazing! How did being on that show, on national TV change you?
EA: It made me feel a lot of emotions. I mainly felt surprised. I was actually kind of expecting Bootsy Collins because my parents kept telling me, “What if Bootsy Collins comes on, what are you gonna do?” but I didn’t expect Earth, Wind, & Fire would come on. I didn’t see it coming.
TC: You’ve met and spoken to a number of Influential musician figures. Who impacted you the most and why?
EA: You mean which ones made me most surprised and happy? The first one is Earth, Wind & Fire and the second is Steve Vai. I was imagining him with his long, black, curly hair in the movie Crossroads. He signed a pedal for me too, and we’re gonna keep it safe.
TC: I saw that you played bass for the Golden State Warriors game two weeks ago. What was your first thought when you were told you were going to play in front of thousands of people?
EA: When I got on stage my first thought was “How was everyone going to react?” I wasn’t exactly nervous, moreso excited to play the bass. Once I started playing I could see people recording me and it made me feel a lot of things, mainly that they liked what I was playing. I was worried I would play the wrong note but even if I did, it’s not that much of a difference!
TC: What’s next for Ellen Alaverdyan?
EA: We have a couple of shows. Actually, a drummer from Japan is coming to play with me. For my band rehearsal a couple of students from the School of Rock, the singer and guitarist. We were going to go into a separate studio because my home studio can’t hold all of us. Basically in two months, we’re going to have a show and we’re playing mainly Led Zeppelin songs; “The Ocean,” “The Rover” — and “No One Knows” by Queens of the Stone Age.