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Alumna artist Aleeta celebrates her comeback to UVA by releasing a new single

Virginia native Aleeta sat down to talk about her experiences as a musician and Class of 2020 graduate

As the number of vaccinated people has increased massively over the past few months, COVID-19 cases are starting to drop. Life is feeling like it is getting back to normal, including the important events in our lives that had to be completed online last year but can now occur in-person this year — college graduations included.

Since last year's graduation ceremony took place virtually in 2020, the University decided to invite 2020 alumni to this year’s graduation ceremony, so those who missed out could have the opportunity to embrace one of life’s most important moments. Once the University extended this invitation, many graduates from across the country came back to Charlottesville for their special moment, including musician Aleeta. 

Aleeta was covered previously by The Cavalier Daily for her selection as one of the local Charlottesville artists to perform at UPC’s Tiny Desk concert in February 2020. However, her journey with music began much earlier than that. While she started writing music when she was 12, her time growing up in Virginia and attending the University heavily influenced her sound.

“I mainly write about love or relationships and heartbreak," Aleeta said. "So some of [my music] was inspired by experiences that you go [through]. When I was at U.Va. there were other topics, like I talked about social issues."

During her time at the University, Aleeta enjoyed being able to connect with other musicians and producers in the Charlottesville community.

As a part of University Records, Aleeta's experience with their live shows helped her find musicians and bands from the University. She furthered this ability to connect with other local musicians when she worked at the Southern, a popular Charlottesville venue for live music.

While Aleeta had influences prior to college, she noted several major artists that inspired her during her time at the University — ones that she had previously overlooked as she grew up.

"I think one of those artists is definitely Solange," Aleeta said. "I kind of slept on her a little bit." 

Aleeta also became more interested in artists like SZA and Jhené Aiko.  Reflecting on these changes, Aleeta noted that she got more and more into R&B as a genre when she was at the University, which she found interesting given that the genre is "not necessarily the most popular music that you hear."

It’s also important to note Aleeta's newest single “Permission,” a track that highlights her phenomenal vocals as a star in the making. The mixing of her background vocals and piano underlying the lyrics of the song is beautiful. Even thematically it’s very interesting and reminiscent of “Girls Need Love” by Summer Walker. The song focuses on a romantic relationship between two people who were separated for a long period of time. The other person has been hesitant to fully embrace the relationship now that they are closer together. But Aleeta is saying she wants to cherish what they have together. It’s a great song to listen to while taking a late night drive.

As for Aleeta's future plans, she is working with her managers to release an EP soon and is excited to take advantage of live shows that are becoming more and more accessible as many people become vaccinated.

"A lot of venues and concerts are really starting to open up –– so I really want to hone in on that," she said. 

As she reflects on her time at the University, she advises current students to pursue their passions and be confident in their path.

"You'll figure things out — don't feel like you're not ready or you need to be perfect or like things need to be aligned," she said. "Don't wait around for other people to give you the go — just go and do what you want to do, even if it seems like the scariest thing in the world."