Earlier this year, soca queen Alison Hinds delighted local audiences at the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival in Montego Bay and the Rebirth concert and beach party in Ocho Rios. While she’s not on the Bacchanal Jamaica line-up this year, the Barbadian sensation will definitely be returning to the island for at least another show to appease fans who missed her previous dates or simply want more of Alison.
Shortly after her Ocho Rios performance at Island Village in late February, Alison was gracious enough to accommodate questions from Pree Jamaica via email on a range of topics. So without further delay, strike up the band and hail the queen!
1. Your annual show dates in Jamaica appear to be growing, which is a clear sign of increased demand for Alison Hinds here. How do you feel about your ever-increasing popularity and the consistent outpouring of love and support that you get in Jamaica?
I’m thrilled that the demand for me and my performances is growing. To be in such high demand as a soca artist in the land where reggae was created is an absolutely amazing feeling. The appreciation, love and respect I receive also amazes me. That regular Jamaicans, who are not necessarily soca lovers, know who I am is great.
2. What do you enjoy the most about performing in Jamaica?
I love the response I get in Jamaica from the audiences I perform for. It’s always so high energy. From note one, everyone is just raring and ready to party and have a great time.
3. As someone who has seen the evolution of carnival in Jamaica through the years, what is your perspective on how far it has come?
From what I have seen, it’s definitely grown and is more a part of the general population’s psyche. The fact that a lot of the performances are televised after the actual live show, brings soca and the carnival atmosphere right into people’s homes. The fetes also seem to be getting bigger, better and more organised, which is great for the patrons.
4. You’ve done collaborations with Richie Spice, Shaggy, Jah Cure and Gyptian. At your last show in Jamaica, you shared the stage with Tarrus Riley. Is there any other reggae act that you would be interested in collaborating with?
Well, in the works is an actual collaboration with Tarrus, who I have been so wanting to do one with. He and I have discussed it for a while, so I’m hoping that this year it actually happens :-). I would also love to do collabs with Etana, whose voice and vibe I love…Queen Ifrica, who I think is just awesome, and Tessanne Chin. She knows this already because we started something, but we have to finish it. I have another collab that’s already finished, with Voicemail…if it’s not there in Jamaica already, we’ll make sure it’s there soon….lol.
5. What new projects have you been working on?
In addition to the Voicemail track, I have another collab with a young lady from the Virgin Islands called K- Victoria. The name of the song is “Girl Power”, which I think is self-explanatory. My fans know that I’m all about female empowerment and I also get the opportunity to link with a new and vibrant young female artist. We’ll be filming the video soon as well. I’ve also done a song with a Haitian band called Harmonik. The song has since been released in the various French markets and is doing very well. We’re shooting the video for that within a week or so, so look out for it. These songs and more will be on my next album, scheduled for release in the next few months. We don’t have a title for it yet but, I’ll let you know.
6. You are on Facebook and Twitter. How important and relevant has the use of social media become for artistes today?
Social media in its varied forms is very important to me as an artist. It allows me to reach out to my fans worldwide in a way that I couldn’t before. I can keep them informed directly and I can interact with them, which is very special. Not only am I on Twitter and Facebook (I actually have a few Facebook pages), my MySpace is still active as well as my website, www.alisonhinds.com. The web is ours to explore and as performing artists, it’s vital that we keep that connection going with our fans and supporters.
7. Your outfits are always fabulous. What informs your sense of style?
I have a wonderful, talented and visionary stylist by the name of Jewel Shannon of Jewel Shannon Designs. She makes a lot of my stage outfits and also deals with my everyday and appearance wardrobe. I don’t make a move, clothing wise, without her say-so, lol. You can check her out on Facebook also to see more of her amazing stuff. She and I also have something in the works together but, I’m going to keep that to myself a little longer.
8. One of the Caribbean’s top artistes, Buju Banton, is going through a very difficult period right now in the US courts. Would you care to share your thoughts on the matter?
I don’t know him very well but, I did get to meet and perform with him a couple of weeks before his arrest and I’m truly sorry that he’s going through this situation right now. I can only say that his presence and his immense talent will be missed from the musical landscape and I pray that his faith will see him through.
9. Your show night at Bacchanal Jamaica is one of the hotly anticipated events of the Jamaican carnival season every year. Is there any special message that you would like to convey to your Bacchanal Jamaica fans?
As always, I look forward to performing for the Bacchanal Jamaica posse, who are an energetic and amazing audience, but it would be remiss of me not to mention that I haven’t been confirmed for that show as yet. I don’t want to mislead my fans and until or unless we are informed of such, my fans may have to come see me perform elsewhere in Jamaica.
10. When your busy schedule allows, what kind of recreation do you enjoy in Jamaica?
When I get the chance to have some recreational time in Jamaica, I’ll let you know…lol. Unfortunately, my trips are so short I don’t get the opportunity to see the island as I would like to, but maybe one day soon.