Her future was certainly uncertain. The only person she even vaguely knew in town was an estranged half-brother who grew up stateside, while she had spent much of her childhood in Puerto Rico. Still, the trip was an opportunity for a change of scenery and a chance at new beginnings for her and her son.
Having grown up in a military family, Alicea was used to moving to the next port of call. She’s spent time all over the country but credits her Puerto Rican heritage for her open-minded and artistic nature.
“The people [there] are so open and friendly,” she says of her old hometown. “It revolves a lot around preserving nature, as well as being free. I think coming from that place turned me onto existing within nature and seeing things from other people’s perspective.”
Tears is a fresh face on the R&B music scene, and that open-minded philosophy has already come in handy when it came to making new friends.
“It’s a funny story,” she says. “I really just took a chance and moved to Texas without knowing anything about this place. While in Haslet, I was working as a lunch lady, and I was just really lonely. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Haslet, but it’s in the middle of nowhere.”
The North Texas town was not exactly the best place to launch a music career, but Alicea got by writing songs and clinging to her ingenuity. Music was a self-taught skill she acquired as a scene kid living out her best teenage existence.
“I fell in love with emo music and started realizing that I could write my own songs,” Alicea says. “When I was about 16 I got a grip on guitar and would sneak into my dad’s room to play piano. I wasn’t allowed to touch it because it wasn’t his. So I would sneak in and play and just make stuff up.”
With no friends in Texas, Alicea posted her demos onto the friend finder app BumbleBFF to attract some attention. Her posts led to finding a dream “producer/manager/best friend” in Abel Zamora II, aka AZ, who had some prior success working with Flexinfab and Tay Money early in their careers.
"I’ve sacrificed a lot for my dreams but I feel that it will pay off. I believe in myself that much.” –Tears
Despite Zamora’s rep, he was uninspired around the time he stumbled across Alicea. Most traveling musicians were, in fact, due to the pandemic. For him, connecting with Tears was exactly the refresher he needed.
“When I first came across Tears, I was impressed that she tracked and mixed her own records," Zamora says. "You can really hear the emotion in her words. There’s care behind each word and how it’s delivered. There’s a story told in every song. It really resonated with me and I see so much potential.”
Zamora wanted to get Tears in his studio immediately, but they'd met in the times of COVID-19, and as a new mother, Alicea was especially reluctant to agree to meet. Eventually, with caution, Alicea decided the meet-up was most likely in her best interest.
“I didn't know anyone, and I wanted to make music with other people instead of just doing it in my room,” she says.
She soon left Haslet for Dallas and started along her current trajectory, considering music seriously as a potential career.
Her latest output is a music video filmed at Lake Cliff Park, “Enuffa U,” which takes a humorous approach to a classic tale of brokenheartedness. The video shows Tears tearing up over a relationship with a garbage can. In the end, she finally ditches the trash for good and leaves with an alleyway dumpster.
“There’s a song on Sesame Street where Oscar the Grouch sings ‘I love trash’, and I was like, ‘That’s my ex!" she says.
With that idea, Zamora had the bare bones for the music video's concept. Paired with Alicea’s somber singing, it makes for an intriguing visual.
The musician sees herself taking a step up in the music game and following in the footsteps of her idols Erykah Badu, Amy Winehouse, Rihanna and Post Malone — aiming straight to the top.
“It’s hard to have your own identity when you have to care for a child," she says. "I am still working that out, but I’m getting there. I’ve sacrificed a lot for my dreams but I feel that it will pay off. I believe in myself that much.”
Watch the video for "Enuffa U" below: