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From background vocals to the front line


From background vocals to the front line

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When it comes to top class-vocals, Alicia Yarde-Collins is up there with the best of them.

In addition, her spirited personality, infectious laugh and beauty help to complete her package.

At 27, she’s quickly becoming one of the most well-known background vocalists.

In a relaxed interview with EASY at a beautiful spot just outside Oistins, Christ Church, Alicia reflected on how her singing journey began, admitting that in the initial stage she wasn’t “fussy fussy about it”.

“The first time I ever sang in public was at my primary school, Christ Church Girls School graduation, so I was around 11. From then I started singing in church. Yes, I’ve always loved it somewhat. I wasn’t always too fussy about it but I always liked doing it,” she said.

From there it was full-speed ahead with singing for her.

“Then I entered NIFCA (National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts) in 2007 and I was awarded a silver medal for a duet called Mirror with Marlon Legall, who also wrote and arranged it. Then again in 2009,” she added.

In 2014, her career as a background vocalist took off and, it has been nothing but fulfilling since then.

“My background vocals journey began in the Headliners Tent which was led then by the late Adrian “Boo” Husbands. Background vocals have been going well so far. I was privileged to work with a lot of artistes in Barbados so far like Nicholas Brancker and I backed for persons like Alison Hinds, RPB, Gabby, Grynner and David Rudder. I’ve also worked with musical director Marlon Legall with the Marlon Legall Voice Project. I’ve also worked with CARIFESTA in the band led by ZigE Walcott, Aja and the Reemergence band as well as Black Banana band, just to name a few,” the bubbly singer said.

The highlight so far, she said, has just been getting to work with many artistes whom she grew up seeing on television.

“Being able to share the stage with them and singing their songs has been really great so far,” Alicia said, beaming proudly.

It was only last year, though, that Alicia finally made up her mind that she wanted to pursue a singing career full time. These days, she’s working hard at making that dream a reality. In her words, when it comes to her solo career, it’s going to happen “just now”.

“I’ve just been working on some stuff personally, trying to put things in place for what I do want to achieve. I’m definitely working on going front line in the very very near future. In five years I definitely see myself as a recording solo artiste, putting out albums and so on. But I’m really hoping to step out on the front line soon,” she said.

She’s not certain what area she will focus on, but admitted she really loved neo soul and jazz and R&B.

One thing is for sure: Alicia has huge dreams when it comes to her future career and she has no intention of stopping until every last one of them comes true.

“If it takes me out of Barbados to pursue a full-time career I would definitely go. I would love to record a song with John Legend. I could see us working together and doing some dope stuff. Or maybe even like a Sam Smith,” she said with a dreamy smile.

And there’s one local song she is dying to get the chance to perform.

“I would really like to perform Hold You in A Song by Alison Hinds and John King. I really love listening to it,” she added.

As for soca, don’t ever expect to see her out front and centre in that genre.

“Everyone asks me if I would become a soca artiste, but I really can’t see myself on top the stage, like, ‘yeah yeah put yuh hand in the air yeah’. I can do that in a party, yeah, but that’s definitely not my feel and definitely not me. Unless I’m doing background vocals and I’m having a really good time on stage,” she said.

Alicia, who is also a make-up artist, added, “I’m more of a lounge type, interact-with-you, very intimate kind of feel.”

Alicia also took the time to thank all who have helped her along her journey thus far.

“I would like to thank my parents for encouraging me daily. Also like to thank everyone I’ve worked with so far for giving me the opportunity to work with them,” she said. (DB)