It is always an exciting prospect when you observe first-hand, the evolution, graft, and undeniable talent of an artist, no matter how popular. In the digital age, countless extents of talent have been noticed through this approach, where we, the audience can tap into who we want, when we want, and it never gets old. Influenced by the raw sounds of Amy Winehouse and Etta James, London based singer-songwriter, Alanya is no stranger to this form.
The soulful singer used social media to hone her confidence, harmonies and build a loyal audience, that is continuously gifted with her surprise freestyles and sharpened Instagram presence. Rightly so too, as her vocals feature immaculate riffs and harmonies comparable to a few, creating a much-needed warmth during what has been a harrowing winter.
2020 seemed to set the stage for Alanya, releasing singles sparsely throughout the year that were filled with love, passion, and meaning, she is determined to make a name for herself this year.
Here is what happened when we connected on Zoom:
Hi Alanya! I can’t lie, I’m excited to interview you because I feel like we’ve been following each other for ages but not had the chance to speak. How have you been finding everything going on?
I feel like it’s been kind of stressful. It was more stressful at the beginning because studios and stuff were closed so I had to make do with what I had at home. But now it’s easier because my studios open.
To You Ma is such a beautiful song, how has your mum inspired your journey?
She is the only musical one in my family, so I’m already inspired by her anyway. To you Ma, I made it at a time when she was feeling down, so I made it to bring her mood up. It was a quick song, a lot of the songs you’ll hear have been written a while ago, but this one came out around the same time I wrote it.
You caught the eye of many viewers through your mashups of different songs and covers, is audience feedback something you rely on heavily when writing music?
To an extent, it is of interest to me because obviously, I want something that people like to listen to. I’m kind of blessed because the music I am making is appealing to other people, so I don’t have the problem where I have to change my sound to fit people’s expectations.
On your single, Kick It, you go into a deep emotional place. What’s it like to expose levels to your emotions that are usually hidden?
I feel like when I write music and express myself, it’s a lot easier than actually saying it. So, when I write music it’s more therapeutic for me because I feel like now, I’ve gotten that off my chest. It feels like I’ve said it already. So that’s why my music sounds so raw, it’s literally off my chest now.
I’ve seen your videos on Instagram, how you freestyle so naturally, is that where that comes from, your emotion?
Yeah, I think it does. Like when I first started freestyling and stuff, it was just my kind of like thinking it off my head and singing it. Sometimes it won’t make sense, so I’d have to go back and tweak it. Freestyling is raw.
Do you find the words or the beat first?
The beat. I’m weird, I find the beat first then start writing it. I could never write it without hearing the beat.
What is the first song you fell in love with?
Amy Winehouse, our day will come. I like the wordplay on Alessia Cara, Here.
I love old school, Mariah, like We, Belong Together.
What is the most challenging thing starting up?
People like to see numbers. A lot of people don’t listen to the actual element of music, they’re too quick to look at the numbers. It could be a crap song but have loads of numbers, but they’ll work with them.
You released three singles last year, Hiding, Kick It, and To You Ma, which I genuinely love. How would you describe your sound and the place you want to take listeners?
Last year was my kind of experimenting, so they’re all different sounds, before I would say I was strictly RnB, but the more that I progress, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going toward the Pop side of things. So, I’d say the music is Pop, but it has influences from other genres.
So, it’s a pop/R&B type thing or a pop/garage… I have a pop garage tune coming out soon!
What can we expect from you this year and come in the future?
I think this year, more consistency. You’ll hear more songs of mine; I’m trying to build myself up as an artist. I’m thinking of doing an EP this year… I don’t even know the vibe, I have loads of different songs and vibes, but it will defiantly be meaningful. Probably very lengthy songs.