LOVESICK

The singer says keeping her accent is somewhat revolutionary due to the music industry.
Ashley Naomi Campbell

There’s a new Caribbean songstress on the block!

And she is trying to maintain the island flavor in mainstream music. Trinidadian singer Arita, recently released her debut single and EP “Lovesick.” As a singer, she wants to reintroduce the music industry to its Caribbean influence. She said many artists of Caribbean heritage played a huge part in American music throughout the years — but going mainstream often erased that and now she wants to be one who challenges it.

“I am Caribbean and I’m from Trinidad and I have a love for the blues, soul, and reggae, but I also love my Caribbean music and I want to be that representation for Caribbean people who come into the industry and think they only have to sing the American way,” she said Arita. “I want to take Caribbean music and make it mainstream — it’s always been there but we often fuse it together and I want to keep my accent in the songs.”

Her musical inspirations are Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and Heather Headley — who is also of Trinidadian descent. Even though Headley is Caribbean — Arita says many people are not often aware of that because she sings in a standard American accent, which is why speech is a main factor in her artistry because she has experienced the downsides.

“I’ve been in studios with multiple award-winning producers and some have asked me to sing more ‘American,’ or say that I need to sound a certain way, but I want to be true to who I am,” she said.

This constant encounter has made her diligent about keeping her particular style and why she advocates for Caribbean accents in today’s music.

“It’s definitely played a role because a lot of producers make you try to sing that way, and a lot of artists end up doing it because they tell them it’s faster — but now it’s no longer authentic because we are not being us,” said Arita. “We have so much to offer but the authenticity is not there.”

She cites Jamaican-American deejay Kool Herc as one of the earliest examples of Caribbean influence, and even says that Jamaican reggae singer Beres Hammond nearly sings about the same things popular American artists have sung about.

“I love reggae and it’s like soul to me — we just tell our stories in a different accent,” she said. “Before Beres Hammond came out, there was Otis Redding and Marvin Gaye and he sings about the same things they did.”

Arita said her cross-cultural single “Lovesick,” was one of those singles that will take her there.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.
Trinidadian singer Arita recently released her new single “Lovesick.” She wants her debut EP of the same name to reintroduce the Caribbean influence in mainstream.
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