April 22 2016
Kristine Alicia is relaunching her musical career with the pending release of her sophomore album Songs from Zion. Her 2008 set Get Ready, produced by Jamaican gospel stalwart Nigel Lewis, earned eight nominations for the 2009 Marlin Awards. Kristine won Artist of the Year and Female Vocal Performance of the Year.
After taking the 2014 Marlin Award for Vocal Performance of the Year, Kristine is aiming for a bigger stage. Still, she says, “I believe I can sing some of my new songs on a gospel stage and people will still say ‘yeah, it’s gospel!’.”
She has not had a fast track to success. Kristine has opened for popular reggae acts Freddie McGregor and Etana and also did back-up vocals for reggae gospel artist Papa San.
She was raised and trained to be a musician as Kristine’s father – a classical pianist – taught his six children to play the piano. “One brother went very far in training, and he teaches high courses now. Another brother is a producer. He’s doing really well too,” Kristine said.
“Piano-playing”, as she playfully refers to it, is now he ‘bread an’ butta’. Based in Miami after migrating to the United States with her family at 13 years old, Kristine does singing and piano lessons for children. As she spoke to The Gleaner via phone Kristine’s voice faded slightly when she instructed a seven year-old student “get it down to E-flat. Okay, and don’t forget A-flat.”
She tried to avoid playing the piano. “I deviated for various reasons. I mean, I respect all musicians. Playing classical music is not the same as playing reggae, I can tell you that! But I’ve come back to it. I’m still learning and it’s been really great,” Kristine said.
She still benefits from Get Ready’s success. In December 2015 Kristine was invited as co-headliner for Kenya’s annual Groove Party, ringing in the New Year alongside Jamaican gospel singer Omari Edwards. “It was fabulous. We were invited to sing in front of 30,000 people. I sang some songs off Get Ready and got to sing some new material,” she told The Gleaner.
Kristine aims to regain her clout as a Jamaican singer on Jamaican soil. Before travelling to Kenya she premiered Freedom Fighters, a track from Songs from Zion, during a November 2015 performance at Redbones Blues Cafe, New Kingston. In a message of inspiration, not religious enlightenment, the lyrics call for activists, heroes and persons of moral strength to rise
Music Of Freedom
Songs From Zion is not being packaged as a strictly gospel album. Describing her new work as music of freedom and elevation, Kristine believes that Songs From Zion is relevant to Christian and secular audiences.
One of the producers Rory Gilligan of Stone Love fame. “I mean, we know he’s not a traditional gospel producer,” Kristine quipped. “I was raised in the faith, but there are some things I don’t agree with. The world is so big. I think I can sing about life and love and still bring across an inspirational musical message.”
The song and video for the next single, Hand Over Rover, is slated for release on iTunes today. A acoustic version is on YouTube.