Testing… 1, 2, 3… on the mic with #DoBizJA is the very talented Jamaican singer, Alaine Laughton.
Jamaican music, which is one of the country’s largest cultural exports, has long told numerous tales of comedy, grandeur, socio-economic turmoil, personal opinions and inspiration. Mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae and dancehall, much like the heart to a body, provides life and rhythm to the Jamaican people. The experiences of our musicians vary. However, the fact that many continue to find success on the international stage, by carving out their particular niches, indicates that the music industry is ripe with potential. Alaine shares with us some of her experiences:
Q: When and how did you start out in the music industry?
A: I started singing professionally in 2004. I have always been singing and playing the piano and was in commercials and TV shows growing up. After I got my degree, I moved to New York, and worked at JPMorgan, and although I was doing well at the bank I wasn’t happy. I’d live for the evenings when I would go to various studios around New York trying to get my songs placed with artists. Finally, in 2004, when I was promoted to the Assistant Vice President team, I couldn’t juggle music and banking anymore and had to choose. So I moved home to Jamaica and began recording with Daseca.
Q: What are some of your greatest achievements/proudest moments?
A: The first time I performed in Kenya. I was blown away at the size of the crowd that came out to see me. Thousands of screaming fans singing songs I had written on my couch, word for word. I remember when I got back to the hotel room I just cried and jumped on the bed for joy. It was amazing. I have had similar experiences across east Africa and Japan with crowds as large as forty thousand. Just mind blowing. But what really stands out to me is the messages I get from fans that tell me how my music has positively impacted their lives. That means everything to me.
Q: What are some of the tools you use to build your international fan base?
A: I use social media to keep in touch and personally reach out to market myself and my music. It’s important to have a good team. Networking is important. I’ve been very blessed to have my music played by DJs all around the world and I am blessed to have performed across the Caribbean, South America, Japan and Africa.
Q: What are some of the challenges that you have faced in breaking into the international market and how did you work through those challenges?
A: There’s a lot of music being produced. So, it’s definitely a task to get people to pay attention. Tenacity and a positive attitude are very important. I just keep creating.
Q: Staying relevant is not easy. How do you manage to sustain such a strong career?
A: I keep creating. A positive attitude is the beginning of many victories. Sometimes it’s challenging to maintain but that’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with the right team. I give thanks for my team.
Q: Breaking into the industry is not as easy as one would hope. What advice do you have for those who dream to be an ‘Alaine’?
A: I would encourage them to dream to strive to be the best. Keep pushing forward. I don’t believe the dream is in their hearts just to stay there. Dreams manifest when you try, try, try. Go for it! Get the right team. Read as much as you can. Practice, practice, practice. Stay ready, you never know when your big break is going to come.
Q: How much longer do you plan to stay in the industry? What’s next for Alaine?
A: I love music. I will always write, produce, sing and sing some more. I’m currently working on my album and am really excited about it. I’ll also be doing shows in Jamaica and overseas and exploring other aspects of my creativity. The world is my canvas!