Ones To Watch #Croydon is a series created to showcase all the up and coming talents throughout the borough!
Croydon's future answer to HER, Summer Walker and SZA, we caught up with the beautiful, R&B singer/songwriter Alethia to discuss her demo, future music plans and self engineering skills?!
SDS: How have you been? What you've been up to?
Alethia: I'm okay! I've been working throughout this whole lockdown period - I work in health care, so I've been keeping up with my regular routine, but I'm getting to the point where it's getting to me now... I'm so bored! Haha.
SDS: What first got you into music?
Alethia: I've been into music for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the church choir and I feel that my love for singing and music grew a lot during that time. I grew up in a house where music was always played, a lot of the music influences that I had around me from a young age, kind of sparked my interest in the process of music, just the whole craft of music, creating music and singing. A lot of artists that I was introduced to from a young age really inspired me to want to explore that for myself. Music just always felt right to me.
SDS: Who are your musical inspirations or even just inspirations in general?
Alethia: My musical influences have changed a lot over the years. I don't have specific musical influences, I have artists that influenced me at specific times in my life. Growing up, my mum played a lot of Sade, Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Luther Vandross and Stevie Wonder. Those were the artists that kind of influenced me and made me fall in love with how you could convey emotion and feeling with your voice.Right now my musical influences would be: Summer Walker, HER, Ari lennox, Snoh Aalegra, SZA, Jhene Aiko and PARTYNEXTDOOR. That kind of new r&b sound, they inspired me a lot in terms of songwriting techniques and songmaking techniques.
SDS: Talk us through the new music you just released on Soundcloud?
Alethia: I just released a demo a couple weeks ago that I put out on Soundcloud called 'Demo One'. It's a collection of three songs that I wanted to put out as an introduction to myself as an artist. It's my first ever music project, so I wanted to put something out that would be a reflection of what I've been doing for the past couple of years, which is just making music by myself really.
SDS: Why’s it called Demo One?
Alethia: I called it demo one because I have following demos to come and I kind of just wanted to put my music out in instalments - A complete collection of demos, which should introduce people hopefully to my sound and style. Ultimately I just want to use that to start my journey in music, grow my network, meet people, connect with people, work with new people and just improve my sounds from what it is that I'm doing by myself at the moment.
SDS: You said that you created all this music by yourself on your Instagram and that you recorded it all in your garden studio. Did you also create your studio by yourself or did you have a little help?
Alethia: Yes, I recorded, engineered, mixed and mastered for my demo. I used a lot of YouTube haha, a lot of time, a lot of hours, a lot of trial and error but I didn't produce any of the beats - I'm still in learning for beat producing so hopefully soon! So my garden studio is not actually a studio it's more like an office that I've basically just put my music equipment in, so it's just a space that I record music in.
SDS: We don’t hear a lot about females singers becoming their own engineers themselves so defo big up yourself!
Alethia: I'm such a "do it yourself" person in every aspect of my life haha.
I feel like when I decided I wanted to take music seriously and start making music, the only option for me was to learn how to do everything myself. I feel like I'm setting myself up in a good position to work with other people because now that I have the knowledge, I can then guide people to help me create the sound/feeling that I'm looking for in my music. I only want to learn more and be able to do everything myself.
SDS: You also posted that 'Demo 2' was coming soon... What can we expect from it?
Alethia: 'Demo Two' is very much a continuation of 'Demo One'. The songs that I'm going to be releasing in these demos are mostly songs that I've recorded over this two year period, which has been the start of my music journey and figuring myself out as an artist. It's a very similar sound to 'Demo One' in terms of the vibes I feel that my music brings, but then also at the same time, slightly more upbeat - you can dance to it.
SDS: If you're going on a night out, what are the three most important things you would take with you?
Alethia: I feel like it's just the necessities, like if I had nothing else in my handbag, I would have to have my keys so I can get back in my house! Money, so I could spend it and enjoy myself and my phone so I can capture the memories with my friends and how good I looked that night.
SDS: If you could collaborate with any two artists, who would it be? And why?
Alethia: This question is so hard because it would literally change weekly. But for right now, I would say Octavian because I just love his music. I love how unique he is, I love how different he is, I love how unapologetically himself he is and that reflects in his music as well. He just makes bangers! I feel like we could make bangers together!
Second artist is Giveon who is a singer based in the US - He just featured on Drake's new album on the song 'Chicago Freestyle". I love his voice! I have fallen in love with his voice and it just inspires me when I listen to his songs. I feel like I can see the picture that he's painting with his songs so vividly and that would be a technique that I’d want to adopt in my songwriting as well. Also... I lowkey have a little bit of a crush on him.
SDS: Could sum up Croydon in three words, what would they be?
Alethia: Infamous, because people be hating on Croydon, people be hating on Croydon hard! I would also call it Promising. There's so much to come out of it in terms of talent, opportunities, businesses and the people that we've got in the borough; there is so much talent! My last word is Interesting. There is never a dull day in Croydon, there is always something going on. But if you're not from Croydon, then you just won't get it! Haha. But yeah, Infamous, Promising and Interesting. I love Croydon, it's home.