LAYA’s boundless creativity is born from an innate desire to push herself. The Staten Island-born artist has worked as a singer, songwriter, producer, creative director, and visual artist—constantly shifting forms and acquiring new skills, because, for her, that’s what growth looks like. She clings to a quote from an unknown source for guidance and sustenance: “You’ll never have what you’ve never had until you do what you’ve never done.” That powerful idea has always applied directly to her music. Her starry-eyed, vibrant yet vulnerable take on R&B and pop offers up a unique perspective on life and love, powered by a need for newness.
First, though, LAYA’s looking back a bit. The upcoming release of her EP, Um, Hello, showcases her approach, swirling lively production with meditative songwriting. Songs like “Bitter” are relatable to anyone who has ever suffered through a failed friendship or relationship, but her tracks are buoyant and bright. Driven by elastic bass and sensitive vocals, the songs feel nostalgic and futuristic at once. “I love that I can bring back some classic energies that have been absent for a while,” she says. “I definitely want to bring fun back into music.”
We caught up with the undeniably authentic artist recently to chat about her new EP, her dreams and everything in between…
Bridge: Tell us about yourself and your sound…
LAYA: I’m a funky character from NYC that is absolutely in love with creating art and magical moments. My sound is heavily inspired by 90s R&B but exists in today’s world. It slaps. There’s never a dull moment. It’s music that you’ve really got to buckle your seat belt up and ride to.
Bridge: I don’t want music that doesn’t require a seatbelt!
I’m curious, how has your journey in the music industry so far matched with your dreams?
LAYA: It’s been an amazing experience. I’ve gone from doing everything myself from recording and mixing my songs to filming, styling and editing my own videos and other content to having a whole team of people to collaborate with. It’s a dream come true to be able to bring my visions to new heights. This is only the beginning, but I can say that I’m having a great time doing what I love and I’m very excited for all the things to come.
Bridge: See those kinds of beginnings are what gives hope to some many artists right now. It’s not “fake it ’til you make it,” it’s DIY til your dreams come true!
Can you give us some career highlights…
LAYA: I can absolutely say attending my first award show and red carpet at Billboard’s Women in Music was a huge highlight for me. It was incredibly surreal. I had only ever seen those things on tv so to be at an event like that in person was a literal dream come true. Another highlight was having my songs played on both of the biggest Hip Hop and R&B radio stations in my city (NYC). That’s a huge deal!
Bridge: And may we add, you looked FABULOUS on that red carpet!
Okay, I can’t wait any longer to talk about it…Your new EP “Um, Hello” just dropped today! Tell us all about it…
LAYA: Um, Hello is a ride! It’s a project that you can play front to back and then want to run it back from the top again. It’s loaded with soul, motivating lyrics, full harmonies, and slapping bass lines! I’m definitely bringing the bounce back to R&B.
Bridge: We can confirm…SLAPS. (If you haven’t listened to it…check it out HERE)
If you could only direct listeners to one song on any of your EPs, which would it be and why?
LAYA:I would direct them to the final song on the EP, “Calling Me”. It was the last addition to the project but it stands out as one of my personal faves. It embodies my whole journey up to this point and is relatable to anyone who feels called to do something great and knows that they won’t let anything get in their way.
Bridge: Where to from here? What big dreams are you dreaming right now?
LAYA: I’m going to do it ALL! I’m going to be everywhere possible. My dreams now are to take this gift I was given and give it back to the entire world. I will push boundaries, create moments, and inspire people of all walks of life with my art. They say the sky is the limit but I still don’t see one.
Bridge: Now that’s a song right there! Alright, where can we see you live?
LAYA: As of right now I don’t have a solid answer but there are several bookings in the works at the moment so make sure to tap into all my socials to stay up to date on upcoming shows. I know for a fact there won’t be any days off anytime soon.
Bridge: A bittersweet ending, but I gotta know…If you could have written any song in the history of music, which would it be?
LAYA: Love this question because I’ve definitely had this thought. I always wished I had written “Baddy” by Etta Bond. I LIVE for her first project Emergency Room that she did with Raf Riley and that was always my favorite song. Big shoutout to those two!
Stay connected with LAYA on here socials here and go stream “Um, Hello” – you don’t want to sleep on this EP!