"Pharrell Williams gives Alyssa Bernal a reason to sing." – Interview

Like many striving musicians the internet is a means to get your work seen by millions of people. For Alyssa Bernal, one of those people was producer Pharrell Williams. Not only did Williams see potential in Bernal, he went out of his way to find her and sign her to his label. The singer and songwriter recently stopped by to chat about her music, her album and her upcoming tour with Lifehouse and Kris Allen.

Q – Alyssa, thanks for doing this.

A - :) You're very welcome.

Q – Wow, is all I can say regarding how you were discovered. What did it feel like when Pharrell Williams called your high school looking for you?

A - When I learned that it was Pharrell's people calling my high school, that made me feel soo important and blessed. Gave me hope to know that he wouldn't give up on me, and like I was a missing ingredient to his label, StarTrak!

Q – Was there every any thought that this was some sick joke?

A - Initially, yes! I had previously had many disappointments with my music, but I thought I had nothing to lose if I got into contact with StarTrak. :)

Q – You were discovered via YouTube. Most people put up cute videos of kittens for friends. What was your reason for establishing a YouTube account?

A - At first, I signed up to upload videos of friends and me acting silly. I had a few random videos up there before I discovered that there were actually videos of people singing covers. So I just thought I would try the same and see what kind of feedback I got. And it was pretty good!

Q – What do you think separated you from all the other striving musicians that use YouTube and MySpace as platforms to showcase their music?

A - When I first started, what really separated me from the other musicians were the songs I would cover. I leaned more toward the soulful and acoustic stuff, like Corinne Bailey Rae and Joss Stone. At one point I had like 10 CBR covers up! They may not have been the most popular songs, but that's why I think people liked me. Nowadays, I try to cover the stuff on the radio because my fan base is more international, and I get many mainstream requests. But, I still try and play the music I love most. :)

Q – How would you respond to those who say that YouTube isn’t a legitimate way to be discovered and that you should work clubs and send in demos to reach stardom?

A - I'd say I don't necessarily think there is a right and wrong way to be discovered. But I do think the internet plays a huge role today and it is definitely being watched by people who want to discover a new artist every day. In my case, YouTube was very legitimate! Haha.

Q- Your debut album is titled, “In Love Again For The First Time.” Tell me about the writing and recording process.

A - Wow, it all came so natural. I worked with an amazing team of musicians and writers. Basically every day, someone had this amazing idea for a melody or chord progression, and we'd just think of a concept for the song and write. I was encouraged to write from experience, which made it so much fun and easy. I can't believe I finished an album in two months.

Q – The first single is “Cali, Cali, Cali.” How did you decide that this should be the first single?

A - It's just so catchy and written beautifully! Everyone seems to love it. And who doesn't love California?

Q – Will there be a corresponding tour with the album?

A - I'm going to be touring with Lifehouse and Kris Allen in October and November! I will promote the album then.

Q – Thanks again. Is there anything you wanted to add?

A - Nothing comes to mind except for thank you! And take care.

Check out Alyssa Bernal on tour this Fall with Lifehouse and Kris Allen.
















BYLINE:

Jason Tanamor is the Editor of Zoiks! Online. He is also the author of the novels, "Hello Lesbian!" and "Anonymous." Email Jason at jason@zoiksonline.com.
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