Alicai Harley talks dancehall, Notting Hill Carnival and the importance of her culture

Summer might be drawing to a close but there’s still the August Bank Holiday weekend – also known to many as Notting Hill Carnival – and rising star Alicai Harley is preparing to play the colourful weekend.

Alicai has used the flavours of her Jamaican roots and embraced her London raised culture to create a unique sound that brings dancehall and bashment music into mainstream culture.

The video for her latest single Naah Done was filmed in her homeland. She returned for the first time in 15 years and said that the experience was amazing and positive.

She said: “I felt really happy like I had a clear head.”

She added: “It was just pure vibes, the whole time, from the minute I landed to the minute I got back.”

She credits Jamaican artists for inspiring her sound but appreciates the UK and US music scene.

She said: ‘The style, it’s just everything in one so the British then the Jamaican and then the whole hip-hop influence as well.”

On her list of dream collaborations, she includes Lady Saw, Drake and Wretch 32.

Alicai said that her favourite parts of Notting Hill Carnival are the food, the music and the whole vibe.

She said: “I feel like with carnival that’s like the only place that you don’t really need to worry about how badly behaved you are in terms of dancing or how skimpily you’re dressed.”

While still in the early stages of her career, Alicai is gaining support from some of the biggest influencers in music.

She recently played at Brighton’s iconic The Great Escape festival, toured BBC Introducing and just played at Hype Festival in Germany.

When asked what was next, Alicai simply said she wanted to do a new project.

“Something quality, of just pure talent and creativity in it,” she said.

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