Every week we ask a creative, artisan, or musician to share what music gets them going from dawn to dusk. This week, Texas native and singer-songwriter Alaina Castillo lineup songs that drive her day.
You don't need a loud voice to make an impact. Because soft whispers can be devastating too. Houston-raised, Los Angeles-based musician Alaina Castillo has built an empire being a YouTube ASMR broadcaster that instantly soothes with her lullaby song covers via her 'sing you to sleep' segment.
Now, Castillo transitioned into harmonic territory with her USP to positive results. Her first single 'i don’t think i love you anymore,' has over 3.9 million YouTube views to date, while another track, 'no importa', taken from her debut EP antisocial butterfly, attained half a million views in its first week.
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the ‘pass you by’ video is here! we filmed this in a lil retro studio right before shit changed in the world and i still can’t believe all that has happened since then. thank you, again, @spotify for choosing me as the first radar artist and for supporting me in so many insane ways. crazy how dreams come true and can even exceed what you thought they would be. the voicenotes era will always be a vulnerable side of my personality and music so thank u for listening & showing so much support. i caaan’t wait for what’s to come. hope u enjoy. ♥︎🪐 link in bio
The bilingual singer recently released her new EP, the voicenotes, with viral lead single 'just a boy' noticed and shared by hit boyband BTS's V. We caught up with the rising artist on tapping into her Latin roots and how she maintains a connection with her devoted fans.
ESQ: Tell us how did you get started with music and why pursue it?
Alaina Castillo: I started off in the church because my mom loved singing in the choir so that started my choir journey which continued through middle school and high-school. I kinda knew I wanted to sing but I had always thought it would be music that wasn’t choral so that’s why I started my YouTube channel.
The first time I started my channel, I only posted about six videos and stopped for two years and then when I was at a really low point in my life, I started it back up because I realized that I wanted to create a life that would make me happy and complete without trying to please others.
ESQ: What do you think contributed to your success and popularity so far?
Alaina Castillo: Definitely my fans. From the very start of my channel to now, just seeing how much they support me and get genuinely happy from listening to my music, I don’t know where I’d be without them.
I feel like I’ve been able to get to know them super well by talking and joking with them. It’s insane how similar our humour is. They just keep continuing to bring me up so I always think of them when making music because I want them to feel that same way.
ESQ: Why did you explore ASMR initially in your music career? Do you happen to know of its psychological health benefits to listeners?
Alaina Castillo: I discovered ASMR from the trending page on YouTube and looked at its definition so that I could get a better understanding of it.
I wanted to do something like that for my channel because I knew that it was really trending at that time (and probably still is) so that’s when I decided to mix singing with ASMR and that’s how the 'sing you to sleep' videos came to be.
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never thought my life could be as insane as it is rn. opened up about my journey from youtube to creating music in LA and all the fun, crazy & challenging things in between. thank u @spotify for giving me this amazing opportunity and thank you to everyone who has believed in me since the beginning. just wanna keep creating art that you can vibe with and that means something. this is just the beginning. 🪐♥︎ and thank you @teenvogue for premiering the doc ❤️LINK IN BIO #RADAR
ESQ: How do you define the ‘Alaina Castillo’ sound now and how does it stand out from your peers?
Alaina Castillo: The ‘Alaina Castillo’ sound is a mix of r&b, pop, Latin, a little bit of alternative and even almost a spacey sound. I want my music to be something that can serve as an escape. Something you can listen to when you want to vibe or refocus for a minute.
I think a song that I really connect with is ‘ocean waves’ because it has all the dark and more obscure sounds as well as the metaphors and imagery that I love. It reminds me of the ocean (which was the point of it) but then it carries into my emotions and some of the darker vibes.
ESQ: By recording songs both in English and Spanish, what similarities or differences did you encounter when conveying emotions and vulnerabilities through the respective languages?
Alaina Castillo: I knew it was going to be difficult because you can’t really do exact translations but I wanted to be sure that it still had the same swell of emotions.
When writing in Spanish, I feel like it has a little bit more poetry just because of the way that the sentences are formed. I was happy in the end because the beauty from the English EP was translated into Spanish and still able to have the emotion & depth that the voicenotes EP has.
ESQ: In the age of digitisation and social media, how do you use that to your advantage in getting songs to your target audience and having a connection with them?
Alaina Castillo: I feel like it’s helped me build actual relationships with my fans because of the number of opportunities that allow us to really reach out to as many people as possible. I never thought I’d have so many people listening to my music but when we hear a song and feel a connection to that song or the artist then that starts the train of listening to more of their music and having it there to help when we need it.
My fans have helped me from the very start over social media and its that support that gave me the ability to be where I am today so I try to use my socials to get closer to them and let them know I appreciate all they've done for me.
ESQ: What can we expect from your upcoming debut album?
Alaina Castillo: The music that Romans and I are working on now is totally different than anything we’ve ever done but it still has a space vibe to it so it feels like an ethereal experience.
We are working with Spanish and English and I can’t wait till we are able to start putting music out! This album is on my mind every day because of how much it resembles my personality & I’m so excited to see what all my fans will think.
“Usually when I wake up in the morning, I want to go back to sleep so I try to always listen to things that will hype up my mood. Music really helps how I feel in every situation and since I am not a morning person, I always try to make sure that I have the perfect remedy for wanting to go back to bed."
1. 'Ain't No Sunshine (feat. Scarlet) (Deep Chills Radio Edit)'—Simioli & Provenzano
"I’ve always loved the idea of travelling to a tropical island and listening to music while laying on the beach so I made a playlist called ‘tropical fever’ and this is the song that really made the playlist what it was. It’s a nice 'lil remix to get you not too ready for the day but ready to start getting ready for the day."
2. 'Let Me Love You'—Mario
"I’m almost at the point where I’ve overplayed this song but anytime I listen to it, it gives me a lil groove to carry with me through my day. It’s a throwback so it gives u that nostalgic feeling but it’s also such a vibe so it makes you dance which helps up the energy for the day."
3. 'The Ocean (feat. Shy Martin)'—Mike Perry
"This song instantly kicks me in the face with memories of summer and not fearing anything because there were no worries so if this comes on in the morning, it’s instant happiness."
“I’m in the studio during the day so a lot of the music I listen to is whatever we are working on but if I’m driving home or just outside listening to music then I like to listen to things that can keep me in a creative mood.”
1. 'Sativa (feat. Swae Lee)'—Jhene Aiko
"This song is such a vibe & love singing different parts or harmonies whenever it’s playing. It’s another song that makes me feel like I’m on my own and just vibing with the music so it’s kind of like a reset."
2. 'Had Enough (feat. Quavo & Offset)'—Don Toliver
"This song is my shiiiiit. I’ve listened to it about 300 times and I still haven’t gotten sick of it yet. I feel like it has an old school vibe because the production is slow but at the same time it keeps you dancing and waiting for the next feature."
3. 'Better' and 'Motion'—Khalid
"The only reason I put both songs is that in the bridge of ‘Motion’, they put a part of ‘Better’ into it and it sounds so sick. Because it’s slowed and the reverb gives it a darker feeling, I’m not sure which one is my favourite as they are both so good. It’s a throwback song for my friends and me which always puts us in a chill mood."
“I’ve always loved a chill night just laying on my bed or sitting outside while listening to music full of swells and sounds that make you feel like you’re floating or vibing out. These songs almost cover the two moods I have at night which switch from EDM based to more of the chill music but I decided to just put the vibes that I listen to more often. ”
1. 'No Less (feat. Lewis M^ttrs)'—SG Lewis
"This song is super relaxing but in its own unique way. It’s like a slow dance song that just makes you think about everything in the duration of the song so I like to listen to it when I’m just chilling at home or driving at night."
2. 'Faded '—Zhu
"This song is a little more upbeat. But when I’m home just doing things around the house or getting ready for bed with neon lights on and music playing in the background, this song also is great because it makes me want to dance but in a relaxed vibey way."
"I always put this song on before I go to sleep because the way the instruments and vocals come together just sounds so calming and relaxing. I think this whole album/ep is used for my sleeping playlist because each song sounds like a lullaby but sometimes I get caught up in the lyrics because the storyline is sweet but also melancholic."
Enjoyed the tracks? Check out our other ‘Dawn to Dusk’ playlists curated by guest artists each week and follow our Apple Music profile to access our playlist first when it's out.