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Meet Anisa Halliday: The Acoustic Guitarist with Passion and Purpose, Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago has a rich musical heritage. The Twin Isle continues to produce talented artists across various genres. Meet Anisa Halliday an acoustic guitarist who has performed at the Trinidad & Tobago’s Music Festival,

Trinidad and Tobago has a rich musical heritage. The Twin Isle continues to produce talented artists across various genres. Meet Anisa Halliday an acoustic guitarist who has performed at the Trinidad & Tobago’s Music Festival, and the National String Festival and thrilled audiences with her solo performances copping the eye of the media.

Anisa’s passion for the guitar goes beyond performing, she is supercharged with ideas for her future. She is currently furthering her education in music at the Academy of the Performing Arts at the  University of Trinidad & Tobago, with the hope to teach music and specifically to help children with special needs. Given she is currently under 20 years with her focus and direction she is a budding female entrepreneur whose passion and purpose can forge a path to enduring success.

How did you discover your musical talent and passion?

I discovered my musical talent when I attended San-Fernando Central Secondary School. I first started playing the ukulele at the age of 13 years and started off performing at my Secondary School’s assemblies and Christmas Concerts. At this time, my music teacher was really supportive of my playing and saw talent in me. Then at the age of 14 years, my parents graciously bought me a semi-acoustic guitar and supported my new passion for music and I began teaching myself the basics.

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in music?

To be honest, before I decided to pursue a career in music, I was really indecisive about what I wanted to study, as most musicians will know pursuing a career in music is not the easiest so finding that path or voice in my head to believe that I can make it, was necessary. So, while I‘ve had a great amount of support from my parents, teachers and loved ones and I’d definitely not make it this far without them, I’d say my biggest inspiration is myself. The passion and excitement I feel when I’m performing or practicing or building my own craft is a huge driving factor for my own inspiration.

 

You have decided to develop your skills through education? What are you studying?

I’ve developed various skills through doing my degree in music at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, Academy of the Performing Arts (A.P.A.). Thankfully my lecturers, have guided me along a path of self-improvement. I’ve learnt how important ear training is and so I’ve developed my ears and I now have the ability to learn songs on the spot. During my first two years, I’ve had a better understanding of music theory and how it applies to reading music. I’ve also learned different soloing techniques, crafted my own arrangements for various songs, analyzed music sheets when given for guitar, and how to use Musescore (a professional music notation software) to create arrangements.

 

You have performed in front of audiences before. Which performances are you most proud of?

I have performed in front of several audiences before and I’d say I’m most proud of three performances which are at Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain for  Stefan Roach’s show (one of T&Ts finest guitarists) where I performed a mash-up of “Fly me to the Moon” and “Just the Two of us.” I also performed in the A.P.A.’s student recital showcase where I performed 4 – 5 arrangements some of which I arranged myself. I also performed at Kafe Blue, Port of Spain where I performed solo pieces and performed in ensembles alongside some of my schoolmates.

 

Have you composed any songs? If so, tell us about your favorite?

At this point in my music career, I have not officially composed any songs on guitar. I have composed one song for one of my courses using the Musescore software. In this course, I was required to come up with some musical ideas and compose a piece using the software. This composition form was a verse, chorus, verse chorus, bridge and finished with the chorus which was about 2 and a half minutes long.

photo by Joshua Alexand

Tell us about your favorite international musicians/bands and any on the local scene in T&T?

Some of my favorite local musicians are D Piano Girl ( Johanna Chuckaree) and her brother Johann Chuckaree (pannist), Joshua Regrello, Andre J Donawa(violinist), Stefan Roach (guitarist), Andy Narell(pannist), Kes the Band.

 

What are some of the challenges as a musician, especially a female musician?

In this day and age, financial stability can be a challenge if one does not prepare, plan, or budget themselves accordingly. Learning essential financial skills at a young age can help avoid this. The music industry is a male-dominated industry, and it can be difficult for women to succeed as some people underestimate female musicians and may be biased when it comes to getting gigs as women face underpayment and under-recognition in this industry.

 

What are some of your hobbies (obviously apart from music)?

If I’m being honest, being a musician is today’s world, it feels like there are never-ending skills I always need to have in my back pocket so having other hobbies feels as if I’m not serious about my career. Along with performing, there is knowing about audio engineering, being a music producer and knowing about being a music director. All these roles and jobs can benefit a musician in the long run. However, while being focused and serious about my career is important, having a balance in my life is equally important. In my free time, I mostly spend it with loved ones, whether it be watching a movie with my parents or making time for my friends. I also listen to audiobooks as a way to obtain knowledge for my self-development and lastly, I exercise using a treadmill at least four times during the week.

 

What would you say to other young females about being a female in music… what to expect, the difficulties, the excitement?

I’d say to never underestimate their abilities even though others may underestimate them and constantly remind yourself that you are your biggest supporter. Being comfortable in any environment you perform in is also essential as you can allow yourself and your talent to shine, this way people will know that you’re not messing about. Remain professional, take opportunities that come to you but also don’t be afraid to say no if it’s not what you want. Taking positive criticism is good but don’t ever let it demotivate you from doing what you love.

 

What are your ultimate goals for the future and is there anything else that you would like to mention?

As I finish my degree, I’ll be pursuing my master’s in music therapy abroad and I intend to make a difference in Trinidad and Tobago as Music Therapy is not recognized much here. Once I have my master’s, I also intend to open a music school that offers music therapy services. I am currently teaching practical guitar in two music schools in South Trinidad which are Laudem Music School of the Arts and Chaibes Music School. I hope to continue my teachings and improve my lessons as I finish my degree as well.

 

What can we look forward to hearing from you in the next few months/years from your creativity?

You can look forward to hearing my own works and intricate arrangements on guitar of Soca and Caribbean music on social media. I’ll also be posting more guitar solos as this is one of the skills I’ve been developing recently. Finding my own niche and my own voice is what I’d want to focus on when it comes to social media as well.

 

 

 

Nadia Ali

Nadia Ali is a writer and a children’s picture book author - the latest being Humphrey the Egg-splorer. She was born in London, UK and now lives in the Caribbean. With over a decade of writing, she writes across many genres including travel, fashion, and lifestyle. Her work has been published both online and in glossy magazine.

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nadiafreelancewriter@yahoo.com

Nadia Ali is a writer and a children’s picture book author - the latest being Humphrey the Egg-splorer. She was born in London, UK and now lives in the Caribbean. With over a decade of writing, she writes across many genres including travel, fashion, and lifestyle. Her work has been published both online and in glossy magazine.

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