Interview Marie-Pauline Cesari & Claudia Asia Sanz

Introducing the talented singer Alysha, whose musical fusion of neo-soul and dark R&B, along with her velvety voice and intuitive songwriting, solidify her position as a notable artist to watch in 2023. Influenced by an eclectic mix of music icons like Joss Stone, Nirvana, and gospel anthems, her songs are a unique blend of genres. We had the pleasure of chatting with her to delve deep into her profound love for music and the diverse sources of inspiration that drive her creative journey.

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Alysha, could you please introduce yourself and describe your musical style? What do you think differentiates you from other artists?

I’m a half-Cuban, half-Indian artist from London. The music I make doesn’t really have a genre; I guess you could call it ‘Alternative Soul,’ but I don’t like to put myself in a box. What makes me different from other artists is that I’m me. I like to mix visual art with sonic art. My new music is a blend of soul, R&B meets goth, grunge, dark electronica with a punk attitude, heavily influenced by both my parents’ cultures. I use Cuba and India as inspiration for anything and everything. My look is also super grungey and avant-garde. I’m just happy to be here. I’m happy to be myself and grow into Alysha.

Where does your passion for music come from and when did you know you would become a singer?

Growing up, music filled our house, thanks to my mom. She had a penchant for playing tracks from a variety of artists, including Nirvana and Joss Stone, among others. These musical influences left a lasting mark on me. On my dad’s side of the family, music has always been a significant part of our lives. My dad, a percussionist and skilled salsa dancer, has been a profound influence. In fact, on my Cuban side, nearly everyone possesses musical talents – whether it’s playing instruments, singing, or dancing. I wholeheartedly believe that music runs in my blood.

If you had to choose one artist, whether alive or deceased, to sing with, who would it be?

It’s a tough choice given the many influences I have, but if I had to pick, it would either be Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins or Joss Stone. Both of them are incredible singers in their unique ways, and their impact on my voice and music has been truly profound.

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You started your career as a model. How did you switch to music and how has this experience shaped your musical style or personality? If you could change anything in the music industry, what would it be?

I’ve always had music in my soul—being a musician, a songwriter, and a singer has been a part of me from a very young age. By the time I was 11, I had already learned to play the piano, guitar, and drums, and I had been crafting songs since I was ten. Modeling was never my primary goal, but it has played a significant role in boosting my confidence, enhancing my self-presentation, and imparting valuable life skills, especially as I’ve been in the industry since my teenage years.

If I could change anything in the music industry, it would mirror my desire for any industry. I’d eliminate pretentiousness and the tendency for people to form exclusive cliques. Additionally, I’d like to see a shift in the favoritism towards musically gifted individuals over influencers and TikTokers, with record labels focusing on authentic, substantive talent. My vision is for music to return to its roots, where it’s about the art and not superficiality, reminiscent of how it used to be.

You said “Whenever I write a song, I have to feel a really strong emotion”, and it seems that from your early childhood, songwriting has always been a way to channel your emotions. Do you view music as a cathartic medium, perhaps as a form of therapy for both the artist and the listener?

Absolutely. Making music makes me feel better, no matter what I’m going through. It’s incredibly satisfying to write a solid and meaningful song. Listening to music, even when I’m not in a creative mood, is an excellent way to cope with anything. I just adore music so much; it’s undeniably therapeutic, whether I’m creating or just enjoying it.

dress LANVIN
jewellery CHANEL

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In your music you talk about a lot of different subjects, from intimate relationships to religion. What are your sources of inspiration? 

My source of inspiration is real life. Everyday experiences fuel my writing.

You found a way to adapt yourself to the lockdown situation and participated in a lot of online festival. Has the pandemic and its successive lockdowns had a particular impact on your songwriting process? 

Yes, I wrote a lot during that period in my life! However, my music has evolved significantly, and I’m currently creating a blend of goth and alternative-inspired R&B infused with elements from Cuban and Indian traditional sounds, as I mentioned earlier.

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You are also passionate about fashion and you were spotted at the latest London Fashion week. What is the place of fashion in your life and in your work? 

Fashion is very dear to me. I enjoy it almost as much as I enjoy music. I love styling, I love creative direction, and I would love to potentially design a collection someday. I feel like my fashion goes very much hand in hand with my music and is on brand with the sonic direction I’m going in.

You recently released ‘Finer Things’. Can you tell us a little about this song? 

‘Finer Things’ is a new chapter of my life. It talks about what I want to talk about which Ive never done before apart from singing about God. This song is about global warming and people turning a blind eye to what is actually important – our environment and humanity. Not brand new designer handbags or posing in front of expensive cars. Life is art and life is beauty, it should be appreciated, not be superficial. 

You replied “wait and see” to a fan on Instagram who asked if you were recording in one of your posts. We are curious too, could you provide a glimpse into your upcoming work?

I’m not sure if anyone’s been keeping up with my Instagram stories, but I’ve been in the studio day and night for the past two weeks. I’m currently taking a break before diving into a few more weeks of recording. Expect some soulful, goth-influenced, ethnic, and electronic alternative music.

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How does your perfect day look like when you are not working?

I go to the gym, have a matcha, and in the evening, I either go out with my boyfriend or friends for drinks and dancing. Then, I head home, watch a movie, and enjoy a 3 am Pizza Hut pizza.

talent Alysha @alysha_gr
stylist Ignacio e Tiedra @ignaciodetiedra
make-up Anete Salinieka @Anete
hair Marcelo Dominguez Dorado @marcelodominguezdorado
editor Timi Letonja @timiletonja
Interview Marie-Pauline Cesari & Claudia Asia Sanz @itsjustmp @claudia_aisa