Next Wave #952: Alaina Castillo
Rapidly rising artist Alaina Castillo wants her music to be an escape, creating a safe space for listeners. Hailing from Houston, Texas, the bilingual pop star (who sings in Spanish and English) uses her music to break through deeply-held tendencies to overthink, with current single ‘just a boy’ speaking of her endeavour to let go of self-doubt and trust issues.
Speaking of the track, written alongside Sam Roman (RØMANS), she says “‘Just A Boy’ is about the heartbreak that stems from trust issues in relationships. I tend to overthink a lot so when people say they won’t hurt you it only goes so far as to assure me, because actions mean more. This song is about someone who has been damaged by relationships and life, but who is now taking lessons from it and growing.”
The single dropped a few days ago, and it’s taken from Alaina’s forthcoming EP ‘the voicenotes’. Delving into the concept and message of the EP – inspired by snippets of song ideas recorded on the voicenotes of her phone – she says: “The EP consists of very open songs that looks into my vulnerabilities and problems, which is something I rarely do. I wrote a lot of these songs it was late at night and the messages were very raw because my guard was down; it details things like relationships, mean friends, social media etc.”
“This particular collection of songs is quite different because it’s something that you feel uncomfortable about at first listen when you get a hint of how raw it is, but if you soldier through and keep listening you’ll find yourself learning the lesson of letting go.”
On the topic of letting go, she reflects on her past self, and imparts a piece of advice that her younger version needed to hear. She says: “I would tell myself to live in the moment and keep going. Enjoy what you’re doing rather than analyse things. That’s what I do now, I remind myself that I have people who love me, that I can the enjoy the good moments without thinking too much about what’s to come.”
Adding on she explains that her personal favourite track of the EP ‘Pass You By’ is one that she automatically turns to in times of stress for the message of “being free and letting go” that it holds. She hopes for her listeners to adopt a similar outlook to life.
Speaking on the message she hopes to convey through her music, she says: “I don’t allow myself to forgive and forget so I want to let people through my music know it’s okay to let go and free themselves from any issues or damage they may been dealing with. Grow from your hurt instead of holding on to them”.
Moving on from the lyrical significance of her music to its sonic evolution, she says: “The best part is nailing down the vibe and melody of a song and feeling it like all sounds good. The process becomes such a pleasure.”
“On my debut EP ‘antisocial butterfly’, I focused on a sound that was latin-infused with mix of pop-R&B. With this one it’s acoustic-heavy and guitar-led, so it’s more simplistic but so much more vulnerable, expressive and wholesome.”
Professionally inspired by the likes Andrea Bocelli and Rosalia, her latest EP which will be released in both English and Spanish, is a raw and honest representation of not only Alaina’s evolving sound but her heritage, personality and the love she has for her family.
Explaining the inspiration she draws from her family, she says: “I’m very close to them. I may not see them very often but I can call them and always feel love that’s more than enough to keep me going without holding onto my problems”.
Alaina’s career has seen a meteoric rise in recent times. Surging across streaming platforms, Alaina has cultivated a die-hard online following of millions and racked up a similarly awe-inspiring number of streams across various platforms. Reflecting on the past year of successes, she says: “So much has happened in the last year but touring in December was my most favourite part of it. The biggest highlight however is simply the fact that people accepting my music.”
As she works through her tendencies to overthink – alongside many other anxiety-ridden individuals- during this pandemic, Alaina maintains optimism expressing that while her priority is her own safety and that of others right now, there are live shows and new music coming in the near future.
Making music that helps her overcome her own problems, Alaina Castillo wants to craft a world where people can be free from the burdens and insecurities of life, losing themselves in the cocoon of her music.
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'the voicenotes' is out on April 24th.
Words: Malvika Padin
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