Earlier this year, LAYA Face from Staten Island debuted her boundary-breaking EP, Um, Hello. The multi-talented artist is pushing boundaries with her creative vision. LAYA wears many hats in the music industry. While she might be known for singing, the rising artist is also a producer, songwriter, creative director, and visual artist. As her career continues to evolve, LAYA’s catalog is also expanding with her melodic work composed of lush, smooth vocals and signature harmonics.
On June 14 via Warner Records, she returned with a new music video reinventing Missy Elliot’s hit “Sock It 2 Me”. In the video, LAYA takes on many forms and faces as she croons about a “late night creep” with her significant other. It’s no surprise to see her stepping out of the element with edgy scenes throughout the entire video.
Um, Hello EP has received 10 million global streams and 1.7 million YouTube channel views. You can expect her to join Teyana Taylor in NYC on the “The Last Rose Motel” tour. Upon the release of her EP, we had the opportunity to catch up on a few things…
Lyrical Lemonade: How was your childhood growing up in Staten Island? Who were some artists that influenced you early on?
Staten Island is the forgotten borough of the city. People from SI have to work twice as hard to make a name for themselves because the name of the borough doesn’t do that for them. I can definitely say that has played a part in the way that I attack things. I’m gonna make you notice me whether it is sonically or visually.
Growing up I was heavily influenced by R&B singers and groups. The 90s and early 2000s R&B always spoke to me. I was obsessed with Destiny’s Child, 702, Brandy, Mya, Aaliyah, Jagged Edge, 112, Missy Elliott and so many more.
Lyrical Lemonade: What was the first song you created? What was your inspiration behind the track?
First song? I’ve been writing songs since grade school. I honestly can’t remember the first song I created. Creating songs is something I’ve always done.
Lyrical Lemonade: Your style is so unique. Your style rubs into your creative vision with your music. Were you always so creative or did this come about when you started making music?
I’ve always been an arts & crafts DIY queen so anytime that I needed something visual I would just create it. Whether it’s an outfit, a prop, or an entire video set, I just do it. I enjoy doing all those things because it allows me to take my vision into my own hands, map out every detail and bring it to life. It’s my art.
Lyrical Lemonade: When did you get signed to Warner? What was running through your head when you heard this news?
I signed with Warner in November of 2021. It was an incredible moment. I had been working independently for so long trying to get people’s attention and now everything was coming into fruition. I was grateful, and I still am. It was time to take the next step in my career and it felt amazing.
Lyrical Lemonade: You’re a multi talented artist. You write, sing, direct videos, edit, and much more. How important is it for you to be in control of all of these aspects in your career?
It’s important to me because I consider myself more than just a recording artist. I’m an artist in every sense of the word and music is my vehicle. I enjoy creating moments, environments, and feelings beyond the music, so playing a part in the creation of them will always be something that I do.
Lyrical Lemonade: How was it collaborating with Fivio Foreign on “Brag,”? Why did you choose him for this track?
I didn’t choose him. He chose to get on the track himself. He heard the song before it came out and wanted to hop on it. How could I say no? We linked up in the studio, he laid his verse, then he pulled up to my place so I could shoot him for the video. That part was interesting because I was in this tiny NY apartment with a green screen and lighting kit, and I had him performing on my iPhone. I’m sure he thought it was ghetto as hell but in the end it came out great.
Lyrical Lemonade: ’Um Hello’ is the first project you released with Warner Music. How was it like putting this project together? What was your favorite moment about seeing this EP become reality?
This is actually a re-release. I had originally released it when I was still independent while I was still trying to get the world’s attention. That’s why I called it Um, Hello. When I got signed, Warner loved the EP so much that they wanted to give it a proper roll out so it could really get its flowers before I jumped into releasing new music. This was another incredible moment because the same EP that I released with the intentions of breaking through and getting people’s attention had actually gotten the attention and was now changing my life.
Lyrical Lemonade: What is your favorite record on ‘Um Hello’ and why?
It’s hard to pick one but I really have a soft spot for Calling Me. It was the last song I added to the EP and was created after the initial release. This song made me feel how far Um, Hello had taken me. No one knew who I was when I started this project but now they’re calling me.
Lyrical Lemonade: What artist do you hope to collaborate with during your career?
There are so many but one of my all time dream collabs would be with Tyler The Creator.
Lyrical Lemonade: What can we expect from you for the remainder of the year?
I’m gon’ be everywhere! Lots of shows, campaigns, and new music! Um, Hello is only an introduction so get your popcorn ready because the show has just begun.
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