Emerging from South West London, R&B, Funk-Pop artist Alana Sukul grew up surrounded by a Caribbean culture that, coupled with an air of Hip-Hop, has influenced her image, musical style and character. Known for unapologetically breaking stereotypes within her style, she writes music for those unable to express their emotions whilst speaking up against mental health issues exploring the toll it can take on a person.
‘Closer’ is the latest track the 19-year-old has released which draws on her Caribbean heritage as she incorporates lively dancehall textures alongside feel-good pop melodies with an R&B feel. Staying true to her signature patchwork genre style, it’s one of those songs you want to play loud on a warm summer’s day whether hanging out with friends or enjoying in your own space. In contrast to Sukul’s last single, there’s no sense of self-doubt or insecurity this time around, ‘Closer’ is pure confidence.
Listen to 'Closer' below
When did you find out you could sing?
I grew up listening to a variety of music including Beyonce on the TV and Destiny’s Child. Then I started singing classes, having little showcases for my family and singing cover songs. Eventually I started singing in school and having little performances.
How do you write your songs?
I used to buy the beats from YouTube and whatever comes to mind, I write off of that. I usually take a lot of inspiration from things that I’ve been through, I try not to sing about heartbreak or love songs because I just feel like there’s a lot people who can relate to my experiences. I took a lot of inspiration from ‘Drivers Licence’ by Olivia Rodrigo recently and this really blew up because its sometime that everyone goes through and that’s something, I want to do for people too.
Who inspires you?
Vocal wise I would say Ariana Grande, growing up I used to train my voice to try and get as high as hers or attempt some different skills that she would do and then it just stuck with me. I used to listen to a lot of R&B artists like Kehlani, H.E.R, Beyonce, Destiny’s Child, all the 90s R&B and Hip Hop. The type of music I make now is like Funk-Pop, so it started with listening to a lot of Charlie Puth until I discovered K-Pop. The way they make music is so different from Western culture. Western culture is very simple, the melodies are very catchy but with them [K-Pop], they’re not afraid to be very complex and that’s what I want to do.
Who’s your favourite K-Pop artist at the moment?
My favourite group is BTS, they inspire me a lot. They’re very hard working and engaging with their fans during their live performances which is something you don’t really see with a lot of artists.
How have you coped with the last year or so?
It was good and bad; bad because I think a lot of people have lost a lot of loved ones including myself. It’s also been so hard for people with mental health issues, I have depression and anxiety, so it took a toll on me but at the same time it’s been really good for me because I started recording my music. I had time to think about what I was doing wrong, what I should do better and when I understood that, that’s when I started making music.
Did you write your recent songs in lockdown?
Yes, ‘Healing’ and ‘IDNYT’ are the first 2 songs I released during lockdown. A few months later it was ‘Attention’ and ‘Be friends. My latest single is ‘Closer’, it’s about finding your self worth, confidence and grasping onto that, pulling it closer.
Do you do make your own beats?
I usually have my producer who sends me all the beats, then I record it all myself.
If you had to collab, who would it be and why?
That’s so hard, I would probably say Ariana Grande who has heavily influenced me and Rihanna because we are both from the Caribbean.
What’s the hardest thing about being an artist?
It’s really hard in terms of my culture and tradition, my Caribbean parents weren’t too happy with me pursuing music and it was often a struggle for me, they would say it’s such a big industry I’m probably not going to make it. I’ve been through quite a lot but at the end of the day it’s something I’ve wanted since I was young and I’ve never given up on it. There’s always going to be someone who brings you down, there’s going to be a lot of jealousy and people trying to pray on your downfall but at the end it just fuels the fire to make sure I’m going to still work hard for this.
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