In Featured Music

She Got Soul: Talie Ayiti interview part 2

 This is the second part of Nathalie Cerin's little chat with A l'Haitienne. Find the first part along with a short introduction  here

AL:What is the most challenging thing about breaking into the music industry? 
NC: The most challenging would be that people tend to only associate Konpa as Haitian music. I enjoy Konpa just as much as the next person, but people are really cheating themselves of wonderful musical discoveries by only limiting themselves to listening to konpa when it comes to Haitian music. Haitians tend to not be too interested in listening to something if it isn't something they can dance to. My music is more of a "sit down and relax" genre.
I encourage Haitian Americans to look up Haitian artists that are not Konpa singers and see how much their music can really touch you. 
AL: Is it harder for you as an Haitian woman?
NC: Being a woman has its pros and cons when it comes to being a Haitian singer. One of the pros is the shock factor. In Haiti, guitar is a male instrument. People are always so surprised to see me get onstage with my guitar to play as i sing. Haitian men also LOVE to hear music that flatters men, my song "Ti Neg Chelbe" describes a handsome man, and every time I sing it for a Haitian audience, the men in the crowd react as if I'm specifically singing to them. They have a soft spot for us women, and that can really be used to their advantage.
The cons of being a woman is that people might not take you as seriously, because the Haitian Music Industry really is a boys' club.

AL: I know you were in Haiti during the Earthquake. What did you take away from the experience? Tell us a little about "Revolisyon"
NC: I was in Haiti for Christmas break visiting my parents when the earthquake hit. I watched the house I grew up in fall to pieces in front of my eyes. I stayed a few weeks after and translated at a hospital for a European medical team. The song is basically about the desperation I saw during those few weeks, but also about the glimmer of hope and the need to take this as a time for revolution. A change of mindset, a time for unity.

AL: Are you working on any projects right now? Do you have any plans for an album?
NC: My current project is graduate school. I am working on a masters degree in multicultural education that I should be finishing very soon. Musically, I am simply living, loving and writing, and taking the opportunity to perform at wherever allows me to share my art. Hopefully my music projects will be more concrete, but for now I am happy with where it has taken me and the response I have been getting.

AL:What does "A l'Haitienne mean to you? What are some cool/funny things that can be considered strictly "A l'Haitienne"

NC: A L'Haitienne is doing things with your special Haitian woman touch. We're fancy. We don't just fry our eggs with salt and pepper, we season it with maggi. You can't just sneak up behind us in the club to dance with us, you have to ask first. We won't dare serve our man a sandwich after breakfast time, that's not a meal. We're just awesome. :) 

AL: Finally, is their a specific "ti neg" behind "Ti neg chelbe" it's one of my favorite songs and inquiring minds want to know lol

NC: People ask me this question so often...but believe me when I say, it's hypothetical! lol.. It's funny. I wrote this song only a few days after meeting an ex of mine. I know he still, till this day, believes that song is about him. Little does he know, I had come up with the idea and recorded the voice note for that song months before ever meeting for him. The truth is, we all enjoy the sight of a handsome man, but it's not really expected or accepted for us to "holla"...the song is more of a social commentary than anything. A regular girl who spots a handsome guy, and is wracking her brain for ways she could possibly approach him, but in the end realizes that her only chance would only be if he were to fall for her.

We really enjoyed this interview and I hope you do too! Comment and add her on (fb, twitter, youtube) to stay updated on what she's doing. Thanks for reading!

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