“Soca captures the best part of me. That part where you just want to have fun and fete. When the fete is over, you are like okay back to reality but the time you are in that part, anything goes.” – Alison Hinds.
Mother, friend, wife, sister and unapologetically dubbed the ‘Queen of Soca’, British-born Barbadian Alison Hinds has been making her mark in the music industry for years as an expert singer on the soca scene. While she isn’t a Caribbean native, she has Barbadian blood in her veins as both parents were from the island even though she was born in London on June 1, 1970 and was raised in Plaistow.
“I’ve always been interested in music; as a kid the radio was my best friend and it kept my company a lot. It was British pop and rock at the time because I was in Britain, and it just grew from there. When my parents split up and my mom moved me to Barbados in middle school, soca was kind of the last genre I got into because I started originally in pop ballads and reggae; soca and I connected after that because it has a very special place.” – Alison Hinds.
In Barbados she competed and placed third in the Richard Stoute teen talent contest in 1987. That same year she joined the popular band, at the time, Square One, and recorded several albums and in 1992 she sang a duet with John King entitled “Hold You in a Song” and won the Barbados Song Contest. She participated in the 1996 and 1997 Road March in Barbados and Party Monarch competition in 1997. She left Square One in 2004 when Saharan, her daughter, was born.
“My inspiration came from my family and my fans, in addition to my fans now it’s my daughter and my husband they give me 100% support and it is all of that comes into play in making great music and I have been very blessed to have songs that are now considered classics. I love when fans come up to me and tell me they love my music. “I love music and I love entertaining people and I want to do it as long as I possibly can.” – Alison Hinds.
Alison Hinds lives with her husband, Edward Walcott and daughter in Barbados and she is the leader of her band, comprised of dancers and musicians – “The Alison Hinds Show” which she formed a year after leaving Square One. In collaboration with Kevin Lyttle in a remix of his single “Turn Me On”, she made her debut back in the soca lime-light with her hit “Roll It Gal”. The song empowers and praises women and promotes their independence and was an enormous sensation across the Caribbean and was launched in the United Kingdom in 2007 in light of her album; she also did a remix to the song with Machel Montano. She is well known for the latest hits ‘Born With It’, ‘No Way’, ‘Baddy’, ‘A Ladies Anthem’, ‘Brace and Wine’ and ‘Gals Want More Iron’ alongside collaborations and being featured in many music videos and remixes.
She went on to release her album ‘Soca Queen’ in 2007 and her follow up album was released in 2010 which she entitled ‘Caribbean Queen’ where she collaborates with Richie Spice, Shaggy and Jah Cure. Her album ‘Soca Queen’ is a selection of tunes which are rhythm oriented and standout from the other artistes on the soca scene. Her music has been released in many countries including North America, Europe and the Far East, not just the shores of the islands.
“I like to think that I am leaving a positive imprint on the world in some form, either through my music, my interaction, not just through direct interaction but through social media; I am a little bit of everything.”
Her powerful and emotional vocals and lyrics have made her legendary worldwide and her journey has taken her throughout the Caribbean islands and on tour in many countries. She has set the stage for how she wants to be portrayed; even to her daughter when she performs:
“We do West Indian music, it’s wining and gyrating and waistline movement, but there’s a way to do it that isn’t offensive to people and doesn’t go overboard, y’know? I have a daughter, so I have to also think about her. I want her to feel comfortable and happy that she can see her mum perform on stage and think: Yeah, that’s my mum and not have to hide her face and be like: Oh… My… God!’” – Alison Hinds in an interview.
She was awarded many awards over her years as an artistese, entertainer, trailblazer and outstanding contribution to soca music as a female:
- International Reggae & World Music Awards) Winner of Best Female Vocalist (2009 & 2010)
- Best Calypso / Soca Entertainer (2009)
- Female Entertainer of the Year at the Barbados Music Awards (2010)
- Best Collaboration for “King and Queen” with Richie Spice at the Barbados Music Awards (2010)
- 14th Annual Caribbean American Heritage Award in Washington DC (2010)
- ‘Outstanding work in Calypso, Zouk, Chutney and Soca Art Form, by the UWI, Barbados (2012)
- New York City Honoree for her twenty year career across the Caribbean and countries like Sweden (2012)
- Outstanding Past Student Award at Christ Church Foundation School (2013)
- Winner of ‘Best Calypso/Soca Entertainer’ at IRAWMA’s
- Received the key to the city of Hartford in Connecticut (2016)
Hinds is also an Ambassador for various organizations as she advocates for causes close to her – women’s rights, AIDS and Cancer awareness, physically challenged and disabled children and diabetes foundation to name a few. In 2013 she was dubbed the Christ Church Foundation School’s Ambassador in Barbados. She was also the face of the Watch Hunger Stop campaign by top fashion designer Michael Kors as well as raised awareness for “World Food Day”. In 2014 she became International Federation of Business and Professional (BPW International) Goodwill Ambassador after being nominated for the post by the BPW Barbados Club.
“This is first time a Goodwill Ambassador has been selected from the Caribbean, and it widens Barbados’ international scope and outreach, as we promote and export our talent, culture and country. We are very proud to be a part of this, yet another first for Barbados.” – Alison Hinds.
In 2014 she debuted in her first movie, the first psychological thriller entitled Two Smart, which released in July at Olympus Theatres in Barbados. The movie was well received by her viewers and the stepping stone for the Bajan to be casted for more films.
Alison Hinds will be performing at the first annual YOWronto Music Festival, in Toronto, Canada on July 1, 2017.
YOWronto Music Festival is a music extravaganza, in its first annual season, launching this year to coincide with the celebration of Canada’s 150th year of Confederation.
This Festival will be held at Woodbine Mall on Saturday July 1, and Sunday July 2, 2017, and will boast a variety of activities as a tribute to Canada’s diversity.
The YOWronto Music Festival will have performances from various music genres including International performing artistes Baby Cham, Tessanne Chin, Romain Virgo, Lieutenant Stitchie, Eric Donaldson, and Professor Nuts.
A host of Canadian performing artistes such as Kim Davis, Jay Harmony, Michie Mee, Jimmy Reid, Ammoye, Tasha T, Xola, Aquilla Roots, Blessed, Elle Trema, Carlos Morgan, Jason Lindo, Tony Anthony, Kenny C, Captain Love, and many more will be included to complete the event and its purpose. Wally British will make a Special appearance and the event will be hosted by some of the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA’s) best radio and entertainment personalities.
There will be representation from the Sick Kids Hospital, The Sickle Cell Foundation, Angels of Love, a Speaker on Childhood Obesity, a Speaker on aspects of the Law, Hope Crossing Borders, and other speakers.
At the YOWronto Music Festival there will be Spoken Word, drumming, dancing, and fun activities for the kids. The festival is perfect for the entire family, music lovers, other artistes, or anyone who wants to have an awesome experience.
Topping the list of sponsors is FLOW.
FLOW was formerly a brand of Columbus Communications providing residential and business telephone, Internet and television services across the Caribbean. The brand was used by individual companies operating in each country, registered under the Columbus Communications name.
Cable & Wireless Communications however, purchased Columbus Communications in 2014, and began to replace its existing LIME-branded services under the FLOW brand beginning in July 2015 (in Barbados).
FLOW is now the consumer-facing brand for CWC’s operations in the Caribbean in Barbados, Jamaica, The Cayman Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Montserrat, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Anguilla, Curacao, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
Learn more about FLOW
Alison Hinds is a force to be reckoned with, tours worldwide with her group and made appearances on segments like ‘Where in the World is Matt Laurer’ and performed at many West-Indian carnivals and festivals inclusive of The West Indian American Carnival in Brooklyn, New York and Sumfest in Jamaica, among others. Through her album releases and singles topping the charts, she evolved into being one of the most popular Soca singers in the world.
With two albums, forty singles and seventy-five concerts to date, some might call her fame her destiny while others call it buck-ups but whatever it is, it is undeniable that Hinds has sheer raw talent that makes her sought after and loved by millions.
By Alexandra Daley