Friday, July 31, 2015

Alysha Alleyne

Rewriting her future


Ms Alysha. Photo Ishmael Salandy

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Born Alysha Alleyne, she's known as 'Ms Alysha' in the music industry. Her entertainment career began with her as a member of a dance group called 'Votally Togue' (not a misspelling), and she appeared on the hit talent show of the 90s, Party Time, a local competition-styled show which featured lip sync, dance and vocal acts.

She heaped praise on the 'men of the show', Wendell Constantine and Linus Pitt. "I learned so much from them. They taught us management and how to carry ourselves."

Talented in many regards, she has solely written and co-written songs for several artistes over the years. One of the most memorable ones is the one sung by Andy Stephenson, the Trini 'Michael Jackson of Soca', in the 90s.

Faith and her fans encourage her. In 2006, she collaborated with soca heavyweight, Fay-Ann Lyons-Alvarez, for the song, "Party". The track afforded her many overseas gigs and she was 'pleased as punch' in Canada to learn that the club where she was to perform was packed with people waiting to see her. "That really made me feel good!"

With Carnival around the corner, she is already enjoying much airplay with her song, "Whole Day", which is featured on the 'Soca Future" riddim.

"I wanted a happy song, something that would uplift me and pick up my spirits. I wanted a song everybody could vibe from. I said that even if deejays didn't play it, I would play it!"

This 'happy' song though, was inspired by a heartrending event. In May of this year, Alleyne lost her first child; she was in her third trimester at seven months.

"People were wondering why I was so quiet last Carnival. I was pregnant so I was just taking it easy." she began. "I was having problems with the pregnancy the week it happened. I was back and forth to the hospital with complications. One day, I realised that I wasn't feeling him. You know they say something is wrong when you don't feel them kicking or anything? I was at home and decided to go and do an ultrasound. Then they broke the news."

"For me, time just stopped. You know how in the movies, people would get bad news and things just start moving in slow motion? That's exactly how I felt. I felt lost. He wasn't born but we had a bond. I mean he was seven months." The doctors removed her son, the baby she would never feed or clothe, via a Caesarean section. "So I'm still recovering from that even though I didn't really have a baby. I will never forget it."

She maintained her composure while speaking of the tragic incident. "My family was so supportive. My boyfriend, Kenneth, was super, super supportive. The support from everyone was fantastic. I couldn't be here if that wasn't so."

"I decided to have an optimistic point of view. I am still thankful. You can't question what the Father has for you. I will be a mother one day. It will happen." she said emphatically.

Looking forward to the future in her music career as well, she just celebrated SASS' one year anniversary with her fellow band members, and she's excited about the upcoming season as a solo artiste and as a member of SASS where she is the sampling agent.

Assuming that position took some gumption. "When Nadia (Batson) asked me to do it, I said, 'Okay, Nadia, as is you, I'll do it.'" The thing is, Alleyne had to do a crash course in sampling to learn the intricacies of the job. "I learned it in six months." She is the first and only sampling agent not only in Trinidad but the entire Caribbean. "Oh, we checked!" she affirmed as she reclined, giggling.

The alumna of the Five Rivers Junior Secondary and St Augustine Senior Comprehensive Schools, will be releasing another power soca track soon and she plans to enter the Soca Monarch competition.

Of her work, she is proud to be considered a lyrical queen. "I play on words well." Of her many double entendre songs, she admitted, "It's sexy to be fun. That's where my sexiness comes from. I also experiment with different distinctive styles and I'm a leader with my music. I think I changed how women approached dancehall soca. I like to mix it up."

She believes that everyone has something good to offer. "I am a fan of soca on the whole. I wait to hear what this one and that one is bringing just like everyone else."

Known for her laid back style of dress, she is now re-inventing her image. Smiling broadly, she admitted, "I'm trying a little something. I really have to give props to my stylist, Kafi Romeo. She really knows what I like."

Many pockets of sunshine are present but she has had her share of personal dark moments. "Once there was a rumour that I was gay. No offence to the gay community but that really bothered me. It was one of the most challenging things I ever had to deal with. I cried over it because when you know something isn't true and it's being taken as the truth…"

Embracing positivity, she puts her energy into what matters. "I have to thank my management team and my work supervisors are very understanding with a lot of things."

On each occasion that I've met 'Ms Alysha', she has a ready smile and is accommodating. I complimented her on that and she responded with, "What you see is what you get. I believe fakeness will come back and bite you. I don't have time for that."

"I don't know what life has planned but I'm enjoying the journey. I'm always trying to one-up the last great moment."