Wonderland.

NEW NOISE: ALAINA CASTILLO

Meet the Houston-hailed Youtube star turned pop disrupter making waves.

Alaina Castillo press image hat
Alaina Castillo press image hat

The top comments on a YouTube video are very indicative of an artist’s fanbase; think of it as a stan meter if you will. And if Houston native Alaina Castillo’s are anything to go by, she’s about to hit the big time very soon

And it’s no surprise with the Mexican-American’s unique fusion of pop, R&B and hip-hop – effortlessly incorporating nods to her Latin roots.

A Youtube prodigy turned bop churner, clock the heat-stopping, soaring vocals showcased in “I don’t think I love you anymore” to the fiery pop prowess of bilingual track “no importa”. Trust us, t’s about to blow up. Watch this space.

We caught up with Castillo below…

How did you first get into music?
If we wanna go way back, I joined the elementary school choir and loved when I would get little solos here and there. But I think it really started in high school. That was when I started posting covers on YouTube because it was something I could go home and do in my room by myself. I was and still am pretty antisocial, so I was in my element – just singing all alone and then posting it for the world to see. I also remember singing in a pop show during my senior year of high school and right when the lights went down, I could just feel myself starting to tear up because I just knew that was what I wanted to do and I wouldn’t stop until I made it.

Who did you grow up listening to?
I grew up in a Christian home so I was more or less only familiar with that kind of music. I think singing in the church was probably the first time I was like… oh.. ok. It was also a wide variety of music like the Beach Boys, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and then when I got into middle school, I started listening to R&B music, pop, and a whole lot of artists that I had never heard of before until then. Usher was a really big part of the transition of music genres for me. His style, voice, & music was like a whole new world to me. I think that’s why I love a good old school classic vibe.

How would you describe your genre?
My music is a mix of pop and R&B with a Latin vibe thrown in there. I think it depends on what I feel like doing but it usually stays within those lines. I’m super into a synth with a drum beat but I could also go for a bass guitar and an all real-instrument track. Honestly, it’s up to how I feel because if I’m sad, I’ll be all over something with a synth or slow melody on the electric guitar but that could all change if my mood brightens and you add a few more instruments.

What was the moment you realised that music was what you wanted to do for the rest of your life?
I think I had two moments of realisation. The first was in eleventh grade when life was just not going the way I wanted. I was probably considering moving away and living on a beach for the rest of my life but then I was like, “ya know what.. I’m gonna start posting YouTube videos again.” And I think the whole process of doing something that I wanted so badly and having fun with it really made me see that I wanted to do it forever. The second time was my senior year after the pop show I mentioned earlier.

Where do you get your inspirations from?
I feel like because my musical background was all over the place, I take inspiration from a lot of people. I really enjoy listening to Daniel Caesar’s songs because I really click with the production and his voice. I also love SZA and H.E.R. because of their vocals and the way they use them. Can’t ever forget about Ariana Grande because her voice sounds like an angel and she has so much vocal control and power so it makes me want to work towards the vocal flow that she has. The last one that I can think of is Andrea Bocelli. I say this all the time and people think it’s so weird but he is very classical with his music and style and practices so often so hearing that makes me want to work as hard as him.

Alaina Castillo press image hat hand covering face
Alaina Castillo press image face
Alaina Castillo press image hat hand covering face
Alaina Castillo press image face

Your debut EP was bilingual – how important was this consideration for you?
Whenever we first started thinking about doing the EP as a bilingual project, it took some thought. I am half Mexican but writing in Spanish is a whole other story. I wanted to be sure that I was able to sing it correctly. I’m so glad we did it though, because I love singing in Spanish. It makes me feel at home.

You released your first Spanish single recently “no importa” – why was it important for this track to be in Spanish?
I think “no importa” came from a session where we knew the song was gonna be in Spanish but we didn’t know what it was going to be about. I brought up an idea for the song and we just kinda switched the idea from a sad version to a lil boppy version. I feel like after “i don’t think i love you anymore,” coming out with a Spanish single was something that shows I love a little bit of sad girl but now here’s a song about not caring what other people say about your boo as long as you guys are happy. It’s a connection to my Spanish side and one my favourite songs from my EP.

You came up through YouTube – what are your views on social media and the ability for people to go viral?
Social media, for me, is like a loud ass speaker that allows people who have something to share, to share it and inspire with it. YouTube is my homie because we helped each other out in the beginning. It was me posting videos and then because I was consistent with it, there would be new viewers everyday so I just took that as YouTube helping me get out there. There are so many people who have an amazing amount of talent and stay undiscovered but social media helps show people off. If it weren’t for YouTube then I wouldn’t be where I am today, doing the things I am doing today, meeting amazing people who listen to my music and who genuinely support me. It’s something I will always be grateful for.

What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve had about your music?
Honestly, I think I’m just hearing the best feedback. At my LA show I did the other night, I looked out into the crowd and saw people singing along with me. People with their own lives, activities and stresses just singing with me and it made me feel so comfortable and happy. I never thought any of this would happen and a year after going to the studio and flying back and forth from Austin to LA, I’m finally able to give music to people who want to hear it.

What’s next for you/what are you excited about?
Right now, I am super excited to tour for “antisocial butterly”. LA was the first night and it made me look forward to the other shows. I love when the energy is up and people can just have fun and enjoy the music. I also love getting to meet everyone after because they’re so sweet. Of course, all the music we are making in the studio is getting me super excited for future release dates and music videos. I’m just living the life I never thought I would so everyday gives me something to look forward to.

Alaina Castillo’s EP “antisocial butterfly” is out now.

NEW NOISE: ALAINA CASTILLO

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