Kerina Alex has a pop star sound and rock star dreams.
The petite 26-year-old Arima-based singer/songwriter, born Kerina John-Alexander, isn’t shy about expressing her desire to one day live the lavish lifestyle of the American R&B and hip-hop stars she grew up seeing on her TV screen.
John-Alexander, however, isn’t delusional about the task ahead. She fully grasps the commitment and dedication to her craft such success will require. And, says she is taking the necessary steps to inch closer to making it all a reality.
“I’m a 90s baby, the late 90s showed R&B and hip-hop artists living a lavish lifestyle, that I was instantly attracted to it by watching MTV and BET. I always wanted my music to reach a wider range, I always wanted to live a different life, have surreal experiences and I dreamed of being up there with my idols. And as the years went by I became even more passionate about my craft,” the supremely confident singer told the Kitcharee during a WhatsApp exchange on Thursday evening.
Kerina Alex’s debut album The Wave (2019) has been well received. In an era when online metrics provide a true indication of a musician’s traction, she has piled up over 300K streams on SoundCloud, over 100K Views on YouTube and 1m streams on Spotify. The St Joseph College graduate credits her success to a well thought out plan “to infiltrate the American audience” using social media and streaming platforms. While she isn’t keen on sharing the details of her strategy just yet, the metrics show that it is working.
“I had to look at the business side of things. Social media was now becoming a thing, especially streaming platforms, so I just did my homework, had many sleepless nights and was determined to gain the resources to attract the fan base that will appreciate the sound and provide the push I needed. My method is confidential, but my results is public for all to see,” she added coyly.
A born performer
From as far back as she could remember Kerina has always been the entertainer in the John-Alexander household. Her penchant for drawing and holding the spotlight was applauded and encouraged from a young age and within that accepting and nurturing ecosystem her talent flourished.
“I have always naturally been drawn to music. As a child and even to this day my family has always gifted me microphones or speakers. I remember particularly singing at annual family functions and it has always been a natural passion of mine,” she recalled.
That unwavering emotional and tangible support from family and friends has kept her on task even during the most uncertain and difficult times, she said.
“What has inspired me to keep creating are the few that show support. I enjoy the process of writing and relaying experiences in my songs. It has become my therapy even if the music isn’t heard,” she continued.
Musical therapy became lifesaving during the long isolating months of lockdown and restrictions during the height of the pandemic last year, she shared. Unable to physically connect with her audience John-Alexander poured herself into her work during the down time.
“I think the pandemic has naturalised a part of the creative process. The most genius work comes from low, slow, or down moments. So, I’ve used the time to write, plan and prepare. The pandemic may have blocked some progress, but it definitely supported preparation,” she winked.
Kerina Alex shared video projects with her fans during the past 18 months for the singles “Handle the Wave”, “Billy” and “Dedicated 2 U”, all off her debut album. The overwhelmingly positive reception has been unexpected, she admits.
“I was scared at first, seeing that it’s my first album, but it amazed me that a lot of international people loved and accepted the project. It has been a year of growth, not only did I debut my first album, I also gained over 65K followers and got verified on both Instagram and Facebook.
“Opportunity has been knocking at my door more and more. People are dming (private messaging) me that they love me and I’m their new favourite artist. It melts my heart. It was phenomenal
feedback,” she said.
Kerina Alex recently released a new single “Dangerous”. She is currently working on a music video Pendo 46-produced track. And isn’t ruling out starting her second album project later this year.
“I am working on new projects. I’ve just released my fifth single ‘Dangerous’ which isn’t a part of my last album and I’m also working on an amazing video for it, but I am still gonna drop more videos for the songs that were also featured on my last album. For now, I’m putting out singles and videos. As for the next album...who knows,” she concluded coyly.