- Words Liam Cattermole
London-based singer, producer and DJ Albertina talks her musical firsts, from northern DnB raves to seeing a Tracy Beaker star in McDonalds.
Since the release of her debut single “Cars”, Albertina has dropped a slew of promising hits fitting for raves and after-parties alike. The British-Caribbean artist is comfortable over everything from RnB to UKG, formulating devastatingly beautiful soundscapes that harness her chameleonic vocal range. Last month, she released a sprawling EP, titled ‘Waiting 4 Life’, which reflects on her personal journey through grief and addiction.
Directed by Delphino, Molly Daniels and Alexandra De Oliviera, the project comes accompanied by a music video spanning all five tracks. Stranded at a bus stop in the middle of rural Scotland, Albertina embarks on an odyssey from her life’s stagnation and into the world of her destiny. The video’s nomadic pursuit of purpose is something we can all relate to, but graceful and abstract depictions add enchanting qualities too.
Just this week, Albertina teamed up with electronic multi-hyphenate TYSON for the raw and emotionally enriching single, “Don’t Let Me Go”. Whirring 808s and angelic vocal croons compose a slice of alluring trip-hop ready for post-rave moments. To celebrate Albertina’s prolific era, we sat down to speak musical firsts, from northern DnB parties to obsessing over hymns and dancing like nobody’s watching.
First song you ever made?
In nursery, I was obsessed with hymns and would sing “The Lord is my Shepherd” to my mum, so she got me a little karaoke machine you could record onto cassette tapes with. I made a song inspired by the game ‘What’s the Time Mr Wolf, and I remember exactly how it went… “Please can you tell me what the time is, early in the morning.” My sweet teacher Mrs Johnson made me teach it to the class.
First time you fell in love with music?
I think I always loved dancing and music. From the age of two I was dancing like no one was watching to bands on the street. My mum took me out hippy clubbing when she was pregnant. Music is in my blood on both sides.
First CD or record you owned?
It was from my auntie, but unfortunately, it was “Hey Mickey” by Lolly.
First time you realised you wanted to be an artist?
When I realised how typecast I would be if I went into acting as planned. I wanted to tell my own stories, and I was constantly freestyling, high as fuck, to phone beats around the back of college in Huddersfield. I would literally jump on the mic at any chance. I would go out up north to DnB and dubstep raves in quarries and shabby clubs. Also, I loved hip-hop. I found confidence and a home in that community.
First gig you went to?
I’m afraid to say it was Hearsay. I was obsessed.
First time you faced an obstacle in your career?
That’s a story for another day but it has a lot to do with alcohol and angry men.
First instrument you owned?
A violin and a penny whistle.
First time you felt like giving up?
When my ovaries screamed to me to have a baby and do something virtuous and less self-absorbed.
First time you felt starstruck?
I was in McDonald’s Halifax and we saw Crash from Tracy Beaker, who had been doing a pantomime. I pretended I was texting when I was actually trying to get a pic, but he could tell, so he covered his head with a napkin.
First time you ticked off a bucket list goal?
Going to LA, which hopefully they’ll let me do by the time this is released. Also – this interview! Thank you for having me!