On the Road with
Kristine Alicia: Conscious Reggae Artist Rebuilds After Husband’s Death
By Shelah Moody
March, 2022 was monumental for women in reggae. After a series of technical difficulties, Streetwise Radio is back up and finally able to run these blogs.
Multiple Grammy winner Stephen Marley released a reggae tribute to icon Nina Simone, featuring notable female artists such as Queen Ifrica, Cedella Marley and Etana, and Etana and dancehall star Spice prepared to attend the 2022 Grammy ceremony as nominees. Dancehall star Shensea released her debut album, “ Alpha,” and Koffee, the first woman to receive a Grammy in the Best Reggae Album category in 2020, released her sophomore album, “Gifted.”
Enter conscious singer Kristine Alicia. Although she’s an indie artist who’s not yet signed to a big label, her voice is just as powerful. A former gospel singer, Kristine is currently making waves on the roots reggae circuit with her new single and video, “Hold Strong.” https://youtu.be/pm9VMJuw9Tk
To watch the full interview with Kristine Alicia, go to: https://youtu.be/_7IV8PuO4fw
Streetwise Radio: Where are you from and where did you grow up?
Kristine Alicia: I was born in New Kingston, if anybody knows Trafalgar Park near Arden High School. I went to a private Christian school called Covenant Christian Academy. My dad was a music teacher and a pastor and my mom was a school teacher and she also taught at the school I went to. I studied a lot in books but my dad really taught me music; he’s the one who got me into playing the piano and groomed me in classical music, and of course, church music.
I spent my teenage years in south Florida. I spent most of my adult years in Florida. I recently moved to Houston, Tx.
Streetwise Radio: Talk about your role as a music teacher in Houston.
Kristine Alicia: I teach elementary to students in the Houston region. I’ve also taught in the schools in Florida. It’s a lot of fun; I’ve been doing it for nine years. I teach ukulele, xylophone, boomwhackers, handbells, music theory and performance. It’s my joy, my love. I also have one- on-one lessons teaching voice and piano.
Streetwise Radio: Tell us about some of the women who influenced you.
Kristine Alicia: My mother, because of her strength and determination. I’ve seen her rising up as a strong woman despite how people have looked at her. She’s always a pioneer; always going into new ventures. Her heart is education. Musically, I would say Sade and Marcia Griffiths. To me, those two singing icons have always represented class and longevity. They were able to demonstrate their musical skills without selling out anything. I respect them.
Streetwise Radio: What were some of the challenges that you faced in the age of COVID-19?
Kristine Alicia: Where some saw the lack of getting gigs during this time, I used it to focus on writing and recording music. When we were told to stay home and I had to teach online; it gave me the opportunity to take care of my husband, who was fighting cancer. That was a blessing, I’m not gonna lie. It also taught me to look within myself and gain strength.
Streetwise Radio: Have you written and dedicated any of your songs to your husband?
Kristine Alicia: “Black Diamond'' is a song that really represents how I was pushing through that time and I think that other people can relate to coming out as a black diamond because of the struggles that push against you. You know, the symbolism. And then there’s a song called “Eternity,” that came out as well during that time period. It forced me to look at how we view the afterlife and what peace is truly about. Given that my husband was fighting for his life; it led me to realize that the present is more important than focusing on the things that we are not sure of and what’s going to happen and focusing on the time that we have with our loved ones.
Streetwise Radio: How does your gospel background influence your current music?
Kristine Alicia: Having a gospel background helps my writing to always have a message of love and inspiration and reliance on a higher power. Conscious reggae, to me, is all about being inspirational and giving a positive message. The messages of my music still circle around giving hope and sending positive messages to light the darkness.
Streetwise Radio: What projects are you currently working on?
Kristine Alicia: I just released the single and video “Hold Strong” and am about to release a few more singles and begin preparing for an EP. You can find my music on ITunes and Spotify. I have my own YouTube channel, where all my videos are featured. I love making videos; I’m blessed to work with good videographers who can match the videos with the song.
Streetwise Radio: Tell us about your work with renown reggae and dancehall producers Rory Stone Love and Mikey Bennett.
Rory and Mikey helped with the production and writing of my album, “Songs from Zion.” It was actually written during the time when I had just met my husband then we got married. The compilation of songs talked about my struggles to find answers from God; and my journey in the music industry. Rory was in charge of the production and getting all the right elements involved as well as recording and approving my vocals. Mikey was the one that approved the lyrics. It was a great combination; Rory’s experience producing dancehall and roots music and me coming from gospel made a great combination. Rory brought rhythms to me that were classic and modernized them. Of course, Mikey Bennett is a veteran songwriter; so it was a blessing to work with him. I grew a lot and I learned a lot.
Streetwise Radio: What advice do you have for women working in the business of reggae music today?
Kristine Alicia: We are all unique with many dimensions and beautiful energies. We should be proud of our diversified contribution to the industry and never have anyone compare us or keep us in a box.