Continuing our series with Festival of the Nations, today we bring you Alicia Lundquist.
Alicia Lundquist, 70, originally from the Philippines came to the United States as a young bride to a naval officer.
A well-known singer and entertainer there, she was invited to the U.S. by famous televangelist Bob Hope.
“I had my own radio show, and television show and was even called the top Filipino folk singer,” she said.”I sang for him in his last Asian tour, and he invited me to come here to get my career going.”
Alicia said she’s been singing since she can remember. When she was around seven years old, she remembers sneaking out of her house to go down to the radio station to sing for prizes like new clothes and dolls.
In 1975, she made the move from the Philippines to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where her husband’s family is from.
“That was a culture shock, big time. His parents farmed, and when we landed, I saw all these lights and thought, ‘Wow, this place is really big,'” she said. “But what I didn’t know was that all the lights I saw were farm lights.”
She said the experience was an adjustment, but it was an opportunity for her to learn about America and how beautiful the people are.
Before her first child, she traveled all over the U.S. performing at American bases and hotels. While in South Dakota, she received a grant from the state’s art council and toured around the country for eight years in mostly elementary and high schools.
Just like her move across the Pacific Ocean, it was music that brought Alicia to Nashville 30 years ago.
In 1986, she was invited to come to Nashville by RCA to record her music.
“They told me I could get a travel bus, and I could get a tutor for my kids and a nanny to help me, but I couldn’t see traveling with little ones,” she said.
Alicia said Nashville has always been multicultural but said before it wasn’t as open. She said with technology and the way the city is changing, more cultures are coming together.
“Almost all of us are immigrants here, and it is so nice to see what’s going on in Nashville, especially with the Festival of the Nations to see different countries come together for this fantastic event.”
Alicia sings a lot for veterans in almost every celebration the state or national cemeteries host for Memorial Day events and other things. She also visits those who are ill and shares her faith with them.
“I was very sick at one time, and the Lord showed me that even though the body doesn’t respond, the real person is the spirit and the soul. That’s how the Lord saved me.”
Alicia said the Nashville community is a big support system, especially the churches.
“You can go anywhere in Nashville and get the support you need.”
Now, Alicia is a realtor in Brentwood and said one of her obvious concerns is housing, especially for those who can’t afford it. She encouraged builders and developers to start looking at options where people can buy a house with just a few hundred dollars down.
Alicia said that more support for those who need it, make a whole community better.
Thanks for reading Nashville!
Neat Nashville is partnering with Festival of the Nations to bring you an even more diverse sense of community. This week, we will be highlighting a few individuals around the city who were involved with the organization. Festival of the Nations is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to bring unity through diversity to Nashville and beyond. For more information on them visit their Facebook, Instagram, and website.