Kristina’s not shy of success
Kristina Bassett loves singing, but struggles with stage fright.
Before every public performance she shakes and sweats. The more intimate the setting, the worse it is.
“I’m a shy person,” she said. “Everyone is watching you and you are the centre of attention for 30 minutes. That’s nerve-racking.”
Still, she has not let nerves hold her back.
For the past four years the 24-year-old Bermudian has been building a music career in London. She has performed in London with artists such as British rapper Kojey Radical and her song, Playing for You, has been streamed ten million times on Spotify.
Earlier this month her career received a boost when she was nominated for an Urban Music Awards UK prize. The London awards show started in Britain 16 years ago to recognise urban music talent. There are now similar shows held all over the world. In previous years, performers such as Beyoncé, Beenie Man, Amy Winehouse and UB40 have been recognised.
Ms Bassett was shocked when she received an e-mail saying she had been nominated for the show’s best newcomer category.
“It was completely unexpected,” she said. “I have no idea how I was nominated. They must have heard my music on Spotify.”
She is up against 12 other emerging British artists such as Amelia Monet and ZieZie.
“Some of them have a fanbase three times the size of what I have,” Ms Bassett said.
The artist who receives the most votes from the general public, wins the competition, so Ms Bassett is asking her friends and family in Bermuda to lend their support.
Ms Bassett was born on the island to Bermudian parents, Stuart and Angelia Bassett, but the family moved to Scotland when she was 5, and to Sheffield, England, when she was 12.
She has been back to Bermuda twice, the last time in July.
She has not forgotten her heritage.
Four months ago she released a song called Bermuda. The word “Bermuda” is never used in the lyrics, but it is clearly about the island.
Go somewhere unknown,
to an island
one with pink sand and warm winds ...
Goslings even gets a mention.
She told The Royal Gazette she had never done a concert in Bermuda, but would love to some day.
“I’d really like to one day perform with my two uncles, Kenneth and Tony Cox, who play the drums and saxophone,” she said.
“They are both super-talented. I’d love to get them playing in one of my songs.”
Ms Bassett started thinking about a career in music at 17, but her parents were not all that keen. Instead, they encouraged her to study business. At the time, her father was in banking at HSBC.
Reluctantly, Ms Bassett agreed, but chose to study in London, knowing she would be part of a vibrant music scene. As soon as she got there, she started putting out feelers and making contacts in the music industry. In 2016, she left university to follow her music dream full time.
“Once my parents saw that I was taking it seriously and was doing well, they became my biggest supporters,” she said.
However, the road to fame has not been an easy one. To make ends meet, she works for an agency as a waitress.
“I work at different hotels,” she said. “Whenever there is an event, I do waitressing. Often I’m working at five-star hotels.”
This year, she has finally starting to make money from her music.
It is still not enough to make a living from full time, but she is staying patient.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be an overnight success kind of thing,” she said.
“In music, you don’t tend to make money back right away unless you are signed to a label and get an advance.
“I knew doing things independently, a lot of the money I made would go back into the music. I am still growing and I will get there.”
Her songs, Voice of Guitars and Playing for You, with producer Joe Hertz, have received airtime on Radio 1 in London.
“That was pretty cool,” she said. “Playing for You has probably done the best.”
The song is about her feelings about leaving university and her struggles to balance pleasing her family with pleasing herself.
It is included on Hertz’s extended-play album, How It Feels.
She described her music style as “laid-back and chill”, with elements of R&B and soul.
“My songs are mostly about love,” she said.
She released her first extended-play album 3½ years ago, but took it down after six months.
“I felt it wasn’t finished and was really rushed,” she said. “It wasn’t done correctly.”
Now she has another coming out in early 2019.
“It will be really good this time,” she said.
“I am still deciding on a name for it. I am working on a deal at the moment, and could potentially have an investor in the future, so I wouldn’t have to financially support an EP the next time. That would be a huge help.”
• To vote for Kristina Bassett in the Urban Music Awards competition. go to urbanmusicawards.co/for-voting-please-login-or-register/, register and choose Bassette. The winner will be announced on Thursday. See Ms Bassett on Instagram under Bassette Music.
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