Los Angeles based pop artist Alaina Castillo, recently released her new single “Tonight”. Carrying a bold bilingual blend of alternative, R&B, and pop through her dusky delivery, Alaina Castillo invites the sort of intimacy reserved for 3AM texts between lifelong friends—or lovers. Named Spotify’s US RADAR artist of 2020, streamed and viewed over 100 million times, and dubbed “ready to blow the roof off” by LADYGUNN, the Houston-born singer and songwriter builds a wonderful nocturnal world of her own design.
We had the opportunity to chat with Alaina about her latest single, her creative upbringing, and what she’s learned along the way.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your latest single “Tonight”?
Alaina: The production played a big part in finding out what the song was going to be about because it has a disco kind of feel to it and it’s a lighthearted fun sound. The first lyrics that came to mind were, “tonight, tonight,” and from there it was just figuring out how we were going to write about a night of fun for someone who never goes out. I’ve always been the person that stays at home and makes the most of it with movies, food & fun lil games so that’s what ‘tonight’ talks about. It goes through me wanting to go home when I’m out and then just sums up all the things I do at home with my music and neon lights for the perfect night vibes song.
Kat: You had a creative upbringing with a growing passion for music, and in high school launched your YouTube channel where you began posting covers of popular hits, building a fan base of almost 1 million subscribers. You’ve been noticed by GRAMMY® Award-nominated producer and songwriter RØMANS (Khalid, Lewis Capaldi, Demi Lovato, Alicia Keys, John Legend etc.) which landed you a record deal with Chosen People. What did you learn along the way?
Alaina: I once thought in high school that I knew almost everything I needed to know about life, but I was so wrong. Being able to do what I’ve always wanted to do has been such a surprise that has taught me more about myself than anything else I’ve ever done. I’m learning more about music, life in general, work & what it takes to be yourself without allowing others to have a say in it. I think the main thing that I’ve been able to learn, and witness is that if you really go for something and put your all into it, anything is possible.
Kat: You’ve sky rocketed to fame over the past few years with over 43 million streams and 37 million video views. You’ve also been recognized by Amazon as 2020’s Artist to Watch, and by Spotify as the Radar 2020 Artist. What has been a highlight for you so far?
Alaina: All of the above. I have a checkpoint list in my notes on my phone & I’ve been writing in it since I first started YouTube as a, “you’ve come this far, keep going,” type of thing but recently, there’s just so many things going on that writing it down becomes a,“holy shit,” moment, each time. Seeing a billboard of myself in times square, my first tour back in December, three ep’s out and into the world, amazing opportunities with platforms that I never ever thought I would have. Life just continues to show me that shit is happening, and I just have to do my best to continue being who I am and creating what I love.
Kat: Can you talk a little bit about your musical inspirations and role models?
Alaina: When I started listening to music, it was mostly Christian music and classics like Elvis and the Beach Boys because that’s what my parents had on. Those are just the staple sounds from my childhood. Middle school is where my music taste started to change because my friends showed me rap, r&b & a lot of pop artists so I was able to pick and choose from those. The main artists for me were Usher, Rihanna, Drake, Ne-Yo & other 2000’s r&b artists. I liked the sounds and the rhythm that the music had so that’s where I take a lot of inspiration from today as well.
Kat: How are you staying connected to your fans and the industry during Covid-19? What’s next?
Alaina: I try to keep them updated on my day to day life by posting on Instagram and texting them. I also started streaming on twitch just to have another way to talk to them because from the very start, talking to my fans has been the thing that makes me happy and encourages me to keep going so I like to be able to stay as connected as possible. I have no idea when things will go back to normal but I’m definitely going to plan a tour and there will be a lot of new music!!
Kat: Is there any advice you’d like to offer other emerging artists who are just getting started?
Alaina: Keep going. Set goals, remind yourself where you started and where you want to end up, don’t let anything discourage you & keep creating and doing what you love. Take every moment that makes you happy and remember that feeling when you start to doubt because if you know you want it, then don’t stop until you get it.
For more on Alaina, visit: http://www.alaina-castillo.com