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Referred to as the “First Daughter of Funk and R&B” as well as the “Rip City Soul Funk Diva,” Arietta Ward, aka “Mz. Etta” is an artistic force to be reckoned with. Raised in Portland, Arietta is the daughter of Northwest music royalty, the late pianist Janice Marie Scroggins.

“All of the music, all the songs…these are my stories,” Arietta says. “They’re stories that need to be told, and I am here to tell them.”

Arietta doesn’t define herself by a particular musical genre. Some would call her Neo-Soul/Blues, others Funk, and still others R&B. But Arietta is more focused on content and the responsibility of the artist in bringing that message. “Be mindful of how you deliver. Be mindful of your intent while delivering your messages. When you open your mouth – always hold that intent in the highest positive vibration possible,” she says. “Artists are healers, music has healing power. Music is sacred.”

Arietta has appeared over the years supporting many other performers at WBF and other venues (she has worked with such diverse artists as Esperanza Spalding, the late Obo Addy, Linda Hornbuckle, Thara Memory, Curtis Salgado, Lloyd Jones, Ken DeRouchie, LaRhonda Steele, Tony Ozier, Farnell Newton, Jimmy Russell, and began her musical journey singing with her late mother, Janice Marie Scroggins). This is Arietta’s first outing at Waterfront as band-leader in her own right. She has assembled some of the area’s finest musicians to help kick off the festival July 5, she says, “with joy and happiness.”