Party of One: Alaina Castillo

At a time where staying connected is more important than ever, House of Solo has launched ‘Party of One’, a series providing intimate insight into how your favourite artists are dealing with isolation and what we can expect from them during lockdown. 

Houston raised and LA based R&B singer Alaina Castillo is back with some more lyrical gems, with both her newest track ‘pass you by’ and new EP the voicenotes having been recently released. The EP has already amassed over 5.5 million streams and the Spanish version will be out later this month. We caught up with Alaina over email to chat about how lockdown has been a creative time for her and how she’s spending her freetime dancing around her room to dubstep. 

How’s your day going so far? Do you try and keep to a schedule whilst in lockdown or are you more free form?

Pretty good, thank you (: During the weekdays, I usually have a little planner of everything I need to do as the day goes on but I’m also in the studio everyday with Romans just working on music because we are co-quarantining. On the weekends though I usually just sleep a lot, clean on Saturdays and try to relax inside or I might go onto my balcony to chill.

Under lockdown it seems difficult to differentiate between different times of day as we’re all staying in the same space. How do you signal to yourself that your working day/week is over? 

I think the thing that lets me know I’m done is when I go home from the studio and all my little boxes are checked off for the day in my planner. I still lose track of time but I think doing all the little things to keep me busy throughout the day is almost like a clock within itself.

Your first EP was entitled antisocial butterfly, named after how you yourself dislike talking to new people but find it easy to open up through music. As a self-professed anti-social person, are there parts of quarantine that you’ve enjoyed? 

It’s not that I dislike talking to new people, I just always get nervous so it’s nothing against the other person, it’s just me and my overthinking self. I’m the type of person who stays in all the time so whenever they announced the quarantine, besides not being able to tour or see my family, I was pretty excited to stay at home. Now that I’ve been quarantined for almost 10 weeks, all I want to do is go to the beach or just travel but I think I enjoy staying at home because that’s when I just relax and also get creative little ideas.

Your EP the voicenotes will also be released in Spanish. I understand that learning and singing in Spanish is really important to you due to your Latin heritage. Have you continued practicing in lockdown, or started to learn any other new skills? 

Because I’m not fluent yet, I have been practicing Spanish because I really want to be able to talk the same way I sing in Spanish. I watch a lot of shows in Spanish because that’s something that can get me used to hearing it but is also fun. I think the only other skills I’ve been working on are my eating game and trying to expand my music because I stick to a lot of the same songs so I thought now would be the right time to try something new.

Like many artists from your generation, you found your fame via Youtube, connecting with people through the internet. Do you feel like you’ve managed to maintain the relationship with your fans throughout isolation?

I feel like the isolation has brought my fans and I closer together because I can just chat with them during the day or do instagram lives and we are all kinda there for each other during everything that’s happening right now.

You released your single ‘no vuelvas a mirar atras’ last month. Tell me what this song means to you and what it’s like to release a track under lockdown.  

So, I overthink a lot. Sometimes everything that’s going on in my head can take the happiness away from the moments around me so ‘no vuelvas a mirar atras” is a reminder to just forgive and not hold onto the past or anything that’s upsetting you at the moment and to just let go. Releasing it during the lockdown kinda goes along with the theme of the song so I hope when people are listening to it during this time, they can just stop for a second and relax because I think music is what everybody needs in a time like this, except for also needing to be healthy and stay inside. 

I love the playful ‘dancey’ vibes in your cover of ‘besame mucho’. What songs have been making you move around your bedroom?

Thank you! My room is full of little LED lights, so it’s the perfect set up for dancing, just me and whatever song is playing on my speaker! My top dancing genres or songs at the moment are probably more EDM/dubstep (super different but amazing), so: ‘Let Me Love You’ by Mario, ‘Faded’ by Zhu, ‘Better & Motion’ by Khalid, ‘Summer’ by Calvin Harris and ‘Pressure’ by SG Lewis & James Vickery.

The concept for the video of ‘Valentine’s Day’ is hilarious, and potentially foreshadows what a Valentine’s Day under lockdown could be like… Can you tell me a little bit about what the video was like to film?

The ‘Valentine’s Day’ music video was super fun because I basically had this mannequin that was not flexible at all and I just had to carry him around throughout the day. In one of the scenes where we had to dress and undress him, it was such a process! People had to take off his arms and then slide the shirt over and then put back on the arms. He was very high maintenance.

What’s inspiring you to create at the moment?

So many things. I think I’ve really been connecting with what matters most to me so I’ve been able to find out when I am most creative and then use that to come up with ideas or just vibe. I think sitting outside for at least 10 minutes really helps me because it’s super calming but then also just vibing to music in the studio or my room can inspire a lot of ideas.

What do you miss most about non-isolation life and have you got something big planned to celebrate the end of it?

I miss seeing my family, planning tours, going to the beach and so many other things but I think when it all ends, whenever that may be, I might just plan a trip so that I can go and see new things and have new experiences. Or, who knows, maybe that trip might just be included in a tour that we hopefully do super super soon!

After this derailment due to COVID-19, what has the rest of 2020 got in store for you? 

I can’t wait to see all my fans in person finally and sing with them. It was sucky timing because it was about three months after I finished my first tour that this all started, so I was really ready to start doing shows again. But hopefully, after all of this, I can share all the music I’ve been writing with them and eventually have them sing it back to me at shows! 

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