We have a new Spotlight – Alaina Castillo. We got to sit down with this talented artist to talk about her music and new release Tonight. Alaina also gets candid about her time spent under quarantine. Let’s take a look at what she has to say.
You are based out of Los Angeles now, but are originally from Houston. What was it like growing up in the south?
I remember Houston being full of culture and music, but I was young when I lived in there, so my music taste didn’t really develop until we moved South of Houston and I met new groups of people. I always kept to myself so I didn’t really go out or experience city life but when I would go with my family, it always felt super connected and at home.
You are the only girl in your family, with three brothers. What was it like growing up with them? Do you think their music tastes influenced yours and vice-versa?
Growing up with three brothers meant that I had to always compete at everything with them and that helped me for everything that I’m doing now because I know how to work around things. A lot of the music they listened to was also what my parents listened to which was Christian music and the classics, but my little brother eventually started listening to r&b music, so I think him, and I ended up having similar tastes.
Who do you consider the artists that influenced your sound? It can be artists you grew up with, influenced you when you were younger, or contemporaries that you admire.
The artists I grew up with were Elvis, The Beach Boys, Whitney and then later on Adele, Usher, Rihanna & Drake so I think those are the people that have influenced a lot of my music today. I like to have some aspects of pop and r&b but at the same time, I could throw in some classical instruments or sounds that take you to an alternate feeling.
You have had quite the musical journey. You got started in choir, and then transitioned into ASMR. Those two art styles could not be more different, walk us through that journey.
Choir was the only form of singing that I had in middle school. Also part of high school because we didn’t have a glee club (although I tried to start one) or anything like that. When I decided to go after singing, YouTube was the clear option. It meant that your video was on the internet and people could find you that way.
I was doing as many videos as I could and trying to catch on to any trends. ASMR was a big one, so I decided to make it my own and do sing you to sleep videos. Didn’t expect such a good reaction. When my channel started growing because of it, I decided to continue doing those as well as covers. I wouldn’t consider myself an ASMR artist because that’s not how I really sing. However my sing you to sleep videos really helped me grow.
You really skyrocketed on socials, with your YouTube account getting almost a million subscribers in a few months. This coincided with the release of your massively successful single “I don’t think I love you anymore”. What was it that you think resonated with people?
People go through a lot of things. I think heartbreak is something that everyone hates to go through, so this song just allowed people to feel the pain and admit that it’s time to move on. It’s a confusing song because its saying “I don’t think” instead of “I don’t love you”. That’s what a lot of people feel sometimes because they are hiding the fact that it’s time to move on.
Describe the flurry of emotions you must have felt just watching that number count grow and climb higher.
I never really realized how different each milestone felt. I looked back and saw what my goals were for a few weeks before that and how insanely high the actual numbers were in comparison to it. Watching your dreams come true right before your eyes feels like a slap in the face because you’re being shown that you can actually do what you want to do.
Your debut EP, Antisocial Butterfly, is a bilingual album between your father’s native Spanish and English. Growing up you didn’t speak Spanish though. Was it an emotional process to rediscover that part of yourself and then have that available to the public?
Because I had to learn Spanish, I feel like I became more proud and connected to my music, my culture and my family. Being able to understand something that you couldn’t before makes you feel grateful to be able to connect with something like that. I’m still scared to speak in public because I’m still learning but it’s all about the process and this is part of it.
For you, why is it important to record music in both languages?
I think it’s important to feel close to who I am because creatively, I like to think in both English and Spanish when it comes to music. I also want to be able to share my music with more people so that they can have something to help them when they need a break from life and its problems.
You were recently announced as one of the Spotify US RADAR artists. What did that feel like to see your name on their platform now that all those years of hard work have finally paid off?
I used to listen to Spotify when I was doing workouts or walking through the halls in my school or working at subway as we were closing up the shop so to then hear two years later that I’m the radar artist is just insane because its Spotify. how does that even happen. It’s opened up so many doors that I never thought would be opened so soon and I’m super thankful for that because it showed me that people believe in my dream just like I do.
2020 has been a BIG year for you, with the release the double EP “the voicenotes” and the Spanish counterpart “mensajes de voz.” What inspired you to release the same tracks in both languages, rather than combine languages as you have in the past?
This ep was special because it was a lot more vulnerable that any of the music I’ve put out in the past so I didn’t just want to mix the songs with English and Spanish, I wanted people to have something they could really use and escape into. I did a full ep in Spanish because translating the English songs to Spanish added a new kind of poetry that I wanted people to hear and relate to.
Following the success of the double EP, earlier this month you released your new summer jam “Tonight” which is a banger of a track. What was the inspiration behind it?
When I first sang on tonight, the lyrics that came up first were, “tonight, tonight”. That clearly makes way for it to be a song about partying but because I don’t like going out or talking to people, we decided to make it about staying in on your own and having fun with music, food, dancing, neon lights, and whatever else you’re in the mood for. It talks about my everyday life and how I want to go home when I’m out because that’s where I’m the happiest.
Tell us what it was like working with RØMANS, who has worked with nearly everyone in the industry?
A bit of a music hoe amiright. Romans is a sick producer and writer and singer. Working with him has taught me a lot of things about music and my sound as an artist. He has a lot of experience and it shows in the music we make. I got lucky with him because he also has a sense of humor and is fun to be around.
As a young female musician, what are some words of advice you would love to share? What do you wish someone had told you when you were first starting?
Don’t let people tell you what to do!! Don’t sit by and forget that you have a voice because you do and when used properly, it can overcome whatever shit other people say. I always stay quiet until I have something to object but that’s not the way to do it. Be the person in control of your life and be the person who creates your own happiness.
How have you been keeping busy and sane during COVID-19?
To be honest, I don’t think I’m sane anymore thanks to COVID. I’ve been keeping busy by going to the studio, tanning, taking walks, painting, cooking, shopping hehe, and watching Netflix with my cat. I also really want Christmas to be here because I’ve been feeling very nostalgic lately. For the most part, I’ve just been working on music and myself. I’m also trying to find an inner peace whenever I feel stressed out or anxious.
With things slowly reopening is there any of your local favourite bars/restaurants/hangouts you are especially looking forward to?
I don’t go out. 🙂 But I am dying to go back to Texas, see my family. To play tennis with my friends, sit outside my house and chill in the sun and just relax. Quarantine has made me appreciate all the things I took for granted before. I’m just trying to live life, be happy and travel. Also really want to be able to do shows and tour around. It all started right when we were getting ready to do so.
With 2020 coming to a close can we expect any more surprises from you?
Yes. 🙂 I love releasing music and creating it. That’s what we have been working on for the past few months. I’m excited for everyone to see what’s coming. This new vibe and aesthetic is my favorite yet and I can’t wait to put it out there.
Is there any message you would like to share with your fans?
From the very beginning to now, I love you guys and hope you know how important you are in making me happy and confident enough to do what I love. CAN’T WAIT TO TOUR AND SEE UUUUU
Spotlight – Alaina Castillo is over. Big thanks to Alaina for taking the time to talk with us.
Keep up with everything Alaina Castillo here.
Make sure you check out Tonight which is out now!
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