ARTIST NAME: Layla Renn
SONG TITLE: Sorry
RELEASE DATE: February 4th, 2018
ARTIST NAME: Layla Renn
SONG TITLE: Hallelujah
RELEASE DATE: February 15th, 2018
Tell us your history.
I grew up in a really musically diverse household. I started out with the cliché school choir. I was constantly given solos to perform, so when I got to around the 3rd grade I was already pretty confident in my voice. I tried writing here and there; convinced my parents when I was 10 to get me a guitar. I was self-taught, but after about a year I decided to focus on my voice and set the guitar down for a while. Music has been kind of a love/hate relationship. I love how good I am at it, but sometimes I hate the fact that my dreams are one of the most difficult to attain.
So far the past years I’ve been writing and keeping up on my guitar skills. In the past year, my boyfriend (Instagram handle:@kahdeeproductions) had suggested I get back into music full-time and was very supportive in that; and for Christmas, he surprised me with a full home studio so I was finally able to work on music how I’ve always wanted. And thanks to some amazing experiences over the last few months, we have a lot of awesome projects that are currently in the works.
Describe yourself as an artist.
I like to draw from a lot of different genres and writing styles to almost create my own genre within a genre. Using influences such as Amy Winehouse styled vocals and melded with a modern-day electro-pop song. I also like taking a lot of blues and soul influences and doing the same; mixing in a modern twist to almost create my own genre, having multiple styles working within the work.
Tell us the genre of your music.
I don’t really like being genre-specific. But I’d mostly say pop with some edgy vibes with also a hint of soulful-blues, as I like to convey a lot of emotion in my vocals.
Tell us the story behind your song.
“Sorry” was an insightful suggestion that my manager thought would highlight some aspects of my vocal range and style; as well as a way to let some raw emotion come through a song.
As for “Hallelujah”: that has always been an all-time favorite of mine, specifically Leonard Cohen’s original version. And there’s something about the theme light versus dark that is very inspiring and motivating.
Tell us the problems you are facing as a musician.
On certain songs, I write and I come up with many melodies that fit, and it takes a while to pinpoint exactly which style of song I want to produce. I generally have found at this point I like putting out a song with an overall vibe that kind of makes you think.
Discuss the recording and production of the song.
Once we get an overall sound that we like, the recording goes pretty quickly. The vocals of the tracks, generally take less than a few hours. We have created a really good system that we incorporate a lot of emotions into our songs whether they are originals or covers. I like to be very detailed oriented in the beginning, so what you are hearing in my songs is very raw and real, and there isn’t too much post-production needed.
“Hallelujah” was actually recorded in one take all the way through. No cuts or anything was needed for that song. I even played the guitar live as I sang the song for the recording.
List the names of blogs, radio, or television stations that have supported you so far.
So far I have been on a few radio stations, some even internationally. I have “Sorry” playing out in Tel Aviv, Israel currently on their number one hit station. A few of my other songs are on rotation in a radio station in Chicago as well. We’ve been trying to hit large cities to get my music out to more people. Blogs have been something we have been trying to get more support from, so reaching out to as many as possible has been one of our more recent projects.
Elaborate on your music career, experience, and future goals.
I enjoy playing local shows when I get the chance. I really like playing live performances. I have done a lot of acoustic takes on popular songs that are really popular. My main focus however is to work in the studio for the time being. We are currently working on my debut EP. As far as future goals go, I really would like to get signed by a major record label in the next year. My end goal is a little different, however; I really want to help people eventually. I have plans for creating a nonprofit to benefit homeless youth in America.
Brief us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.
A lot of the time when I write, it’s not about the words that I’m saying, but the emotion I’m trying to convey. Not all of the stories I tell are exactly how they happen, but are based on the fleeting emotions as they come and go in my life. However, I do have a few songs that are loosely based on certain experiences that I did want to turn into a story and hoped that people could not only relate to the feeling but to the lyrics as well.
Brief us the top-secret behind making a hit song.
Don’t throw any material away ever. I have an entire file dedicated to a one-liner which means if I ever think of a catchy lyric that doesn’t fit in any current work that I’ll file away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a bump in a song and I’ve gone back to that file and taken a sentence or two. And remember creativity only breeds more creativity.
Tell the advice you will give to an upcoming artist.
Don’t compromise what makes you unique.
Discuss at length your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition, or awards you might have received.
As an up-and-coming artist, these are a lot of things I hope to be achieved in the next year or two. I have had quite a bit of success putting my music online: millions of streams on SoundCloud, however, I’d love that to translate to my performances. I can’t wait until I am in front of a crowd of 20,000 people as they sing along to my lyrics.
Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio.
If I’m working on a track that doesn’t have any collaborators, I generally prefer doing the writing in private. I set my surroundings accordingly to the feeling I’m trying to portray in my music. If it’s a moodier song, I’ll turn off the lights and put on a small dim light. I like writing a lot in the evening, right at dusk. Not only is that when I’m more creative, but I can connect more to what I write. The world gets a little quieter at night, so it makes it easier for me to focus on my music.
Name your favorite artists for collaboration.
Somebody that I draw inspiration from and work with regularly in the studio and out, who has been motivation, not only in the music world but in my personal life as well would be Alex Kade of Kahdee Productions. We work well together in the sense that I handle the beginning stages of a song, like the writing and melody, and he handles the end like the production and publication.
Tell us how you will spend a million dollars.
Probably all dogs. (haha) I want an English bulldog and a bull terrier dog to add to the collection of bully breeds that I currently have. Although the money would be a good foundation to start up my non-profit.
Discuss music promotion and how you are boosting your fan base.
Well my boyfriend Alex is not only my producer; he also plays the role of my manager. He focuses on getting my music into as many outlets as possible. He reaches out to radio stations and blogs to try to get my music heard. We’ve also gotten a lot of requests for collaborations which are nice, so we are trying to find time to work with other people as well as on our own projects. What I like to do, however, is to play a lot of live shows locally so people who live near me can find me easier as well.
Tell us how you manage other activities with your music career.
That’s kind of the role that Alex plays. He does a lot of the stuff for me. Without him, I honestly don’t think I’d have a lot of the things accomplished so quickly that I have. We make a good team: I’m the musical talent, but he’s definitely the ambition and drive.
State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.
Layla is a tribute to my paternal biological grandmother who was also musically inclined, but unfortunately never had the opportunity to meet.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
“Hallelujah”: imperfect people can sometimes do perfect things. The entire song is about people feeling less than or feeling not as important, but still pushing forward, and still being able to accomplish great things. It’s more than just a biblical reference. There are many types of Hallelujahs in the world.