Meet Pharrell Williams’s New Artist Alyssa Bernal
YouTube has unearthed yet another pop sensation, this time in the form of singer/songwriter Alyssa Bernal.
The baby-faced 21-year-old caught the attention of Pharrell Williams with her acoustic videos (she has over 107 million views and counting) and was signed almost immediately to his fledgling Star Trak label (via Interscope).
In a bittersweet nod to late star Selena, Alyssa was raised in a music-steeped household in Texas (San Antonio, to be exact) and while her father was the drummer for a groundbreaking Tejano band, her parents had to push her towards a music career. “I was so shy!” she says. “My parents would dress me up and make me sing but I hated it.”
She taught herself to play guitar and after uploading homemade videos (including covers of songs like Rihanna’s “Take a Bow”) she built a rapidly-growing fan base around the globe. “People would message me and say that they had a horrible day and my songs changed their day,” she recalls. “It’s pretty touching. After a while I had to stop reading all of my messages because it got so overwhelming, but I always tried to open the ones from soldiers in the service.”
Pharrell was one of those admirers, even going so far as to reach out to her high school when there was no response to his repeated requests. Alyssa’s mother finally spotted an urgent MySpace message from Star Trak and 24 hours later, they flew to meet Pharrell and Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine at the Star Trak headquarters in Los Angeles. She impressed them with “Hey Love,” one of the first songs she ever wrote (now featured on her album, In Love Again For The First Time) and signed her deal.
“Finding a new talent like Alyssa is so exciting to me,” says Pharrell. “There are a lot of young singers out there who can carry a tune, but Alyssa is the real deal. She is a true musician with an incredible voice.”