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Interview With Canadian Alt-Pop Singer-Songwriter laye

Hello laye, how are you doing today?

laye: I'm feeling great!

Press shot for rising Canadian alt-pop star laye.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Pardini.

You recently released your latest single, "blue," how has the reception been so far?

laye: The reception for “blue” has been great. It definitely felt like a sad little winter track so I was happy for it to be the first release of my project. It felt like the timing was right. It got attention from areas I didn’t really think would pay attention to it and it just felt like a nice start to the year and for myself as an artist reemerging with new music. I followed that up with “touching myself,” which honestly had a way better reaction than I thought. I love that song but I didn't expect it to be picked up the way it was. It’s early on in my rollout and I'm so happy with how good it’s feeling. I just always have my fingers crossed that my music finds the right ears! How would you say "blue" and "touching myself" are an evolution to your songwriting and creativity as an artist today versus when you wrote your 2019 debut album, lonesome?

laye: So both “blue” and “touching myself” are definitely going a different sonic route than lonesome, as well as the rest of this EP that’s coming out. But the storylines are very much still on a somewhat lonely, sad girl wave, just from a different angle. I wanted the music to feel a bit happier. I think I'll always be a little sad girl lyrically, and I’ll definitely always gravitate toward eerie, darker visuals. But I think this project, my creativity and my songwriting are just so much more developed at this point than when I did lonesome. lonesome will always be special to me because it was my first project, but that really was what it was. I was still discovering what I liked, and where I wanted to go with the music. I think it was the type of project where I kind of needed to pick the best of what I had and throw a name on it and call it a project, whereas this EP is so intentional. I had so many songs that I loved to choose from, so the ones that are on this project were really chosen carefully. I lost lots of sleep over it, honestly [Laughs].

"blue" is labelled as a song for "the heartbroken, self-reflecting, self-sabotaging, nostalgic, and the hopeless romantics that wish they could have done things differently." What's something you hope this demographic takes away from the song?

laye: I mean, I think this song really allows you to sit in your sadness. I guess I hope it allows others to feel comforted, we’re all a bit of a mess. We all have much to learn in life and love, we’re constantly growing and evolving as humans and our relationships are as well. Your 2022 released single "I Could Die," alongside "blue" and "touching myself" are set to be released as part of a new project coming later this year. How excited are you to be putting out new music after so long?

laye: ‘‘blue” and “touching myself” will actually be a part of a bigger project, however, “I Could Die” was sort of its own era and I’m gonna leave her to thrive all alone [Laughs]. I don’t think I can actually explain how great of a feeling this all is. The music industry is hard, sometimes you don’t know when your next song is coming out, which is kind of what happened to me over COVID. So I'm just so ready for this. As much as I was so antsy over those years to be active musically, I’ve really zoned in on what I want, and what I'm doing and I can't wait to just have all these songs out in the world. What was the creative process like for making the last two singles and the rest of your upcoming project?

laye: I’ve been recording out in LA for the past few summers. I was really getting back into music again and rediscovering what I wanted to do sonically this time 'round. I knew I really wanted more ‘real’ instruments involved, a bit grungier and more lively sounding. There was definitely a turning point that helped shape my EP. It was this one session I did, that things just clicked -it’s actually my next release coming out in July- but yeah, the song from that session ended up being the heart of the EP. It ended up being the song I'd reference for each new session I ended up in after that and then slowly I’d have more songs to reference session by session. Every time I landed on one that felt so good, that fit that other song, but did something different. Honestly, all of my songs that ended up being the reference tracks that I kept showing other producers and writers throughout my writing trip really ended up being this EP. Recently, you said artists are redefining what it means to be a pop artist today and that when people hear "pop" their minds wander to one specific type of song, but that pop is almost always a mix of genres, and it’s up to listeners to choose what they want to do with it. I couldn't agree more with this statement as the majority of artists are genre-bending in droves over the last couple of years. Would you say your upcoming release delves down more various paths than it did in the past?

laye: For sure! I think there are elements like rock, grunge, indie pop, and probably much more. Every producer and songwriter you work with has all their own influences as well. I feel like after playing this project for others I’ve heard some Nirvana references, some Weezer references, depending on the track of course [laughs]. But yeah, I think it’s just been sprinkled in with other elements that my last project didn’t pull from, and I think what’s special is that people still keep calling my project ‘dark pop’ as my releases are coming out. Which kind of trips me up because I’m like really? I don’t think I'd categorize it as that anymore, but I guess my aesthetic always leans that way and so it’s cool. I think different ears and eyes will see and hear what they want on this project. What inspires you? What keeps you going after doing this for so many years?

laye: For me, it’s the sessions and writing. I think that always brings me back to life. When I'm at my lowest, it’s usually when I haven’t been writing and working with others. Which is funny because that shit also makes me so anxious, going into sessions not knowing who I’m working with, but I’m always happy after the fact. I think the fact that you can walk into a room and leave a couple of hours later with a song that never existed before is totally crazy and beautiful and I think you forget that sometimes. Even when you leave a session and you’re like ‘Oops, maybe that was a waste of time’, it never is. Every song you don’t end up using or don’t like the outcome of, pushes you in the direction you need to be going. Was there any defining moment that made you feel confident that you were on the right path in music?

laye: I mean, I'd say the fact that I’ve stuck with this despite all the craziness and the downs, really means that I am on the right path, doing music. Because I love it, but I still think a lot of people would have dropped out by now and so I think the fact that I’m here means I should be here, or that I'm crazy [Laughs]. I mean, the sessions of course but also the shows, I haven’t done any since before COVID, but performing at Osheaga was one of my highest highs. You’ve explored different topics in your music. What would you say is your favourite topic to explore when making music?

laye: I think the ongoing joke at this point is ‘loneliness.’ I changed my username to ‘lonelylaye’ in the past in preparation for ‘lonesome’ however - it’s stuck with me. Even in my new music, there’s a lot on that, always from different angles though. But yeah, I guess I really like to dissect loneliness and the fear of it? As a whole, what two or three scents or smells would you associate your music with?

laye: Hmmm... Okay so, for this upcoming project, I’d say grass, like a field of tall grass. I’d say it also smells like leather seats, with a hint of gasoline, and then lastly, cigarette smoke. Like a drunken smoke every other night out.

Being based out of Winnipeg, I have to ask since you’ve never toured across our home country of Canada before. Are you dying to hit the road and even hit some Canadian tours in the near future? What Canadian cities would you love to perform in? laye: I am definitely dying to hit the road. I’ve never toured anywhere. But yeah, I'd love to do Canada. So okay, obviously Winnipeg, of course! I’d love to do Montreal and Toronto since those have been home bases to me. I’d love Vancouver because it’s so beautiful. Halifax would be cool too. Honestly, I would go wherever I could go! Finally, what else can fans expect from you for the next couple of months, throughout the rest of the year?

laye: Music! I can finally say that without lying about it [Laughs]. In the past, I’d say ‘music is coming soon’ because I honestly thought it was, but then it never did. But this time round, I have the schedule, I have the songs, I have the dates, and so yeah, music! I’ll be releasing music as far up to October, consistently right now. And then hopefully, it won't slow down after that. I'm already back in the studio working on the next project! Thanks for the time today, laye! Before you go, is there anything else you want to add, or let readers know something I didn’t cover? laye: Of course! Thank you! And that’s pretty much it! Thanks for all the lovely questions. I’m looking forward to it!


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