Billboard Latin Artist on the Rise: Alaya Fuses Reggaeton, Hip-Hop and R&B

Lionel Deluy
Alaya

If "Bling Bling" is any indication of where Alaya is headed in music, it's safe to say she's making a career of fusing varied rhythms such as dance hall, trap and electronic, perhaps creating a new concept of international pop in the urban Latin market.

"To really define my music, I think I have to explain a bit how I am," Alaya tells Billboard, describing her sound and approach to style. "I started making music as a child, and as you can imagine, there have been many things that influenced me in different stages of my life. I like pop, reggeaton, EDM and rock, among others. When I am in the studio I take a little bit of everything to make my songs. And the result is often a very unique sound, as you can tell."

Alaya, who cites Michael Jackson, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj as some of her greatest musical influences, issued "Bling Bling" as her formal introduction to the game, her first-ever audiovisual garnering over a million YouTube views in just 48 hours. 

"I cannot even explain the emotion I feel seeing that the song is enjoying so much success," she gushes. 

Produced by Sebastián Jácome (Enrique Iglesias, Anahí, Paulina Rubio, Inna, Gloria Trevi), "Bling Bling" is noticeably reminiscent of Jennifer Lopez's 2001 hit "Love Don't Cost a Thing." Like the now-48-year-old entertainment veteran, Alaya belts out poetics about her love not being a thing for sale. 

"[It's inspired by] a situation a friend was going through with her boyfriend, a very famous artist. He begged her to leave everything to follow him on his tour, that he would take her on his private jet to Milan, and that he could use his black card to buy whatever she wanted while he worked," the Venezuelan artist explains. "In that [moment], I remembered that we already had a track that we liked, that we had not written anything for. And I asked myself, what would I do if I were in my friend's situation? And the answer to that is 'Bling Bling.'"

The single's music video is set in Los Angeles and backropped by a mosaic of neon colored scenes, which finds Alaya slipping in and out of '90s gear – a lá Aaliyah – a reflection of Alaya's eclectic flair.

Get acquainted. 

Name: Alaya

Age: 24 

Major accomplishment:  Alaya reached a million YouTube views in two days with her first single, "Bling Bling."

Recommended song: Even though "Bling Bling" serves as Alaya's darling and formal introduction to the music industry, her covers are an excellent guage of her vocal skills, especially her spin on Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's summer smash "Despacito." 

What's next: Alaya is currently clocking in the hours at the studio, working on a proper debut album scheduled for a 2018 release, which she promises risks it all for the sake of originality. In other words: prepare to be wowed.