Alison Hinds performs at Chukka Cove during last year's carnival season. -Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
The unofficial Queen of Soca, Alison Hinds has the distinction of being one of the most popular soca singers, topping the charts in countries where people do not widely listen to soca.
With dance moves that could bring a grown man to his knees, and catchy lyrics, she has made a name for herself in the music industry, crossing beyond the boundaries of Barbados.
Born in England, Hinds moved to Barbados at age 11 after her parents separated. In 1986, she joined the soca band, Square One. After getting a start by performing mostly in bands and bars, the group grew to become a top soca band. Hinds produced her first hit in 1996 with Ragamuffin, which was the winning road march song that year during the Barbados Crop Over. The following year, she repeated the road march victory and also won The Party Monarch title with another hit, Twister. Alison was the first woman to ever win these titles in Barbados.
Square One's album, Full Bloom, which includes the massive hit, Faluma, took over the Caribbean, most Jamaicans at the time catching on to "Faluma Ding Ding Ding", as Hinds proved that Bajans can wine as well as everyone else. This led to Hinds' role as the lead singer in the band. Faluma became a top song in the Caribbean for 1999-2000, topping the charts in Guatemala for 49 weeks. It was during this period that Hinds' popularity grew. Square One continued to produce hits until 2004 when it broke up - partly owing to Hinds' departure.
In an interview with The Sunday Gleaner in April last year, Hinds gave her reasons for her temporary departure from the music scene.
"I had a little girl -she's about to turn two - and I got married. I did a lot and I was basically concentrating on my family. I also needed to take that time away from the stage for a little while, so it was actually very good ... I needed to take a break and look at things from a different perspective and see the business from another way and having my daughter also helped me to look at the world completely differently ... She is my motivation," Hinds said.
Alison Hinds lives with her family, husband, Edward Walcott, and daughter, Saharan, on a ranch in Barbados. She has her own band, The Alison Hinds Show, formed in 2005 when Hinds returned to the soca scene with the hit song, Roll It. although very catchy, Roll It is also an anthem for young women, encouraging them to have pride in themselves.
"I also think I've grown in so many different directions ... I wasn't sure exactly what was going to happen ... but then when I came back, people were saying, 'Oh, we're happy that your back on-stage' and it really gave me a boost as a performer. I'm a lot more confident now that I've experienced the band and I have a repertoire of songs and I have a fan base there that was just waiting and I want to build and expand on that fan base," Hinds said.
In 2006, Roll It was a huge hit throughout the Caribbean, ushering Alison Hinds back into the soca limelight. She also produced a song called Love Affair. Since she returned to music, she has recorded a collaboration with Machel Montano for the the remix of Roll It. Performing during the carnival season in Jamaica, Hinds showed her grasp of local dance moves as she 'thunderclapped' and more.
She is very popular for her live performances and ragamuffin style, which can move a crowd of West Indians easily. She wines a lot (quite well) and sometimes calls men to the stage for wining competitions. Alison Hinds' most popular songs are Ragamuffin, Aye, Aye, Aye, Twister, Faluma, Togetherness, D.J., Fireworks and Roll It.