Jamaican Music Music Interviews

Interview with R&B and reggae singer, Kimberly LaLa Nain

This week we interview Jamaican R&B and reggae singer, Kimberly LaLa Nain. Ever since her birth she was thought to become a great singer, a talent she would have acquired from her father, Audley Nain who used to be a member of the ‘Jamaican Folk Singers’. Ever since her first note, Kimberly always aimed at being the centre of attention when in a crowd.  In 2008 she wrote and recorded her first song “Angel” at Anchor Studio by Delroy “Phatta” Pottinger. She has since continued her works in the music business having recorded at several studios namely, Cashflow, Grafton, LMR Productions, Kronik, Steven Stanley and House of Hits.

Is seemed you were destined to be a singer. Tell us about your background family’s background in singing and how you got started?
Well my father was once a member of the Jamaican Folk Singers and has been an active actor in theater back in the day, the gift of vocal incredibility and stage personality, I think came from him mainly. My mother cannot sing to save her life [lol] but she has been my greatest critiques who has helped me develop stage presence alot. I do have other family in the business some are, Jermaine Edwards-gospel and Andrea Burgess-Reggae[in the US] and quite a few others. They have all been extremely great support in every way.

Initially I started singing back in my St. Jago High school days in the ‘School choir’ with music teacher, Mr. Mannings where I received extensive vocal training by singing traditional choir songs but eventually I moved on to the ‘Santiago Singers’ led by our principal, Mr. Keith Noel. It was in this group that I was able to discover my very unique vocal potential being named lead singer of the group. From then on I sung with the choir at several events and competition winning many gold & silver medals; from these experiences I slowly developed self-confidence and my nervousness reduced each time.

It wasn’t until College, at The Mico University College that I really sprung out as a recording artiste. I took it as a hobby to make recordings of myself doing a few covers and posted them online. Eventually I was noticed by a big time producer in New York, Sean  Due CEO of Goodthyme Click had recognized my vocal abilities and my link was made on myspace; it was from this recognition that I was linked to do “Angel” at Anchor Studio, the first song I had ever written, arranged and recorded on my own, since it was my first studio experience. I have continued to work hard at music ever since. 

Because you had singers in your family did it give you a greater understanding of a career in this business?
In some ways yes, in some ways no. I have had a lot of support from family members in the business but you tend to understand the entertainment industry more on-the-job rather than just being told what to do and when. My family can only advice me about making certain decisions; they help me see through the pros and cons, however the decision is rested upon my understanding of where I lie in the business adhering to the advice given to me by family members. So the answer to this question is between a yes and a no.

You have a few singles and collaborations out there. When can you we expect your album to be released?
WOW! Well, considering the fact that I am enrolled in Law School at the moment, I would certainly hope that my album begins its first phase in pregnancy within the year 2011 and would give birth Gods willing in 2012.

I read somewhere that your sound is a fusion of Toni Braxton, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Rihanna. I personally thing you have a unique voice of your own. Which one of these ladies do you most like to be compared to?
Thank you! I believe that is what is so unique about my voice, it is hard to find just one person to compare my sound with. I believe the explanation for the ‘fusion’ description is that my vocal strength is like that of Jennifer Hudson, the smoothness like that of Toni Braxton, the soulfulness of Alicia Keys (my idol) and the stylings of Rihanna.

You sing both reggae and R&B. Do you have a preference?
I have to admit, I absolutely adore rhythm and blues, most of my musical influences arose in this genre. My love for R&B is with the  soulfulness, depth lyrically and smoothness. However, I also wanted to stick with my identity as a Jamaican, thus I try my best to intertwine my roots into any and every genre of music I may get to work on. Jamaica is my country and I am very proud of it, I try to stick it out in all my music no matter what the genre may be.

What can we expect to hear on your album and equal amount on both?
Oh!..I really wanted Michael Jackson on my first album but may his soul rest in peace. Big dreams I had for that collaboration. Well right now its difficult to say, but my vision is that I would add new flavor to the charts worldwide so I would bring something different to the floor I just need the right beats to put my lyrics to.

I want the people to know me- how fun, intellectual, emotional, tough, and critical I can be. I want this to be displayed on my first album. I don’t want the people to see the girl on the album cover, I want them to see who the girl is under the make up and fancy designer wear.

I am a very realistic person who likes to daydream a lot [lol] – that is the best way to describe me, I seem to hold personalities that contradict none in a  negative way however, but I want to show the world the best of both me’s, or three… me’s…whichever one answers when I’m writing the lyrics [lol]. All this I want displayed on my album.

I know it is early in your career but what is your proudest moment so far?
I’m really not sure, I’ve had many proud moments not sure which I would rate as the proudest. I would say its between being chosen to be host of a new television show called “Sync” that will be aired on the local channel CVM and my first call in for a collaboration with many different artistes for a song called “Jamaica Unite” in response to tragedies that had occurred in the month of May 2010. It  is an opportunity I had always hoped for – the chance to shine among already achieved big names such as D’angel, yellow-man, and Etana as well as playing my part in giving back to Jamaica through my music.

Ten years from now where do you expect to be?
I expect that by then I would have toured the world a million times, been cast in a movie or two, been on the face of many internationally known magazines and received music awards. By then I would expect to be home, doing what I can to build my country whether through investments in business ventures of my own and working alongside volunteer organizations. I will never forget where I come from, I don’t have it in me to move and go elsewhere, this is my home and thus will give back to it.

How do you juggle a career in entertainment and college?
Sometimes I wonder how I do it myself. I have to admit it is a struggle most of the time, but I keep myself determined and never take my eye off the prize. I’m constantly told I’m a professional student since I have already earned a diploma in Secondary Science Education majoring in Biology and minoring in General Science at the age of 20, and I am now pursuing my Bachelors Degree in Law which I expect to complete by age 23 (when the course ends). It is very difficult, especially since I live outside of the Kingston metropolitan area and that is where school, studios and most of my business are located.

I see myself successful both academically and musically and I have every intention of making that come true. I want to be an entrepreneur, its my aim/my focus. Even though I have confidence in my music, I personally want to finish school with at least a Degree. School does help with the entertainment business, you have more of an open eye to the business aspect of the work; when that big break comes, you want to make good choices and not be cheated, having at least tertiary acquired skills does help and I would advice every artiste to complete school. You will not regret it. Education is the key.

Who are you pulling for in the World cup? (This interview was conducted before Portugal was knocked out)
HAHA! I’m sure all the ladies will agree with me on this one, Portugal-my reason, CHRISTIANO RONALDO! I know little about World Cup, I only watch a few matches but I definitely make sure to catch the matches he plays in, HAHA.

If there is one football player you could have a one night date who would it be.
Oye vey! Just have me Christiano Ronaldo on an all-inclusive 2week cruise with me across the caribbean and my life will be complete.

What food you must have each week?
I eat anything! I love food. What I would hope to have each week though, is Popeyes….I LOVE IT!

If you were stuck on a desert island and give the choice of 3 albums to put on your ipod which artist would it be?
1. ALECIA KEYS – boy o boy I’d have all 5 of her albums on there! but if just one, it would be…*old school* “Songs in a Minor”
2. Toni Braxton – “Secrets” but I’d put “The Essential” it has a compilation of all my favorite tracks from her [LOL]3. Christina Aguilera – its between “Christina Aguilera” and “Back to basics”, I absolutely love her voice on every track!

Thanks for your time. Do you any closing thoughts?
“Live. Love. Laugh and Give God thanks for every blessing you have, you may not realize just how blessed you are until you look in on someone else’s life less-fortunate that you are.”
“Education in everything must come first.”
“Life is nothing without good friends and family, I love all my friends and appreciate my family for always being there for me, I couldn’t ask for anything better, I am blessed.”
“Music should be treated as a means of passing on a message and thus should not be abused, be careful of what you preach.. many are listening.”


Listen to Kimberly’s Music
You can check out Kimberly LaLa Nain’s music at her  Myspace website.

About the author

Glen Benjamin

I strongly believe there are 3 sides to every story. Telling each side is the challenge.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that - Martin Luther King