Interview by: Jewel Fiorillo | Photos by: Quinn Tucker | May 16, 2022
Alt-pop singer, Layke, shares her musical influences, beginning her career, messages through her writing, her new upcoming EP Frequency which will be out July 29th, and creation of the new “No One Can Stop Us” music video.
What influenced/who influenced you to love music?
I was heavily influenced by my older sister and my dad with music a lot while growing up. My sister was about 12 years old when I was four, And she listened to a lot of music by Prince and Janet Jackson. My dad always had amazing musical taste as well. He’s taken me to concerts when I was younger, for instance, I got to see Bob Dylan when he came into town. Both my dad and my older sister both listen to a lot of the greats in classic rock. I think another thing that influenced me to get into music was that I was involved with dance since I was two and a half years old. I was exposed to so many different genres and artists because of this.
What artist/artist influenced you the most?
My ultimate inspiration is honestly Queen. More specifically Freddy Mercury. He is like a musical God to me! Everyone always said how difficult he was and I’m like “I’ll take it!” he was so talented and I only think he was difficult because of the time he grew up and performed in. He couldn’t be himself and he was criticized for it. I think the way he reacted to certain situations was justifiable because I would be just as angry if I were him. He was an amazing and talented musician but he wasn’t accepted for who he was and that’s what people make him seem difficult for. A few of my other large influences in music would have to be Janet Jackson, Prince, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin made me truly appreciate instrumentalist bands. They were inspirational to me because of how emotionally an instrumental solo can change the dynamic of a song.
When did music become a priority in your life? When did your career start?
I was always involved in musical theater in high school. I also began writing poetry from a young age and kept my poetry books over the years. Eventually, the poetry became songs and I never stopped writing. When I was 16 years old I was living in Dallas, Texas at the time and I made the decision then. I knew I couldn’t make a music career living in Dallas so Los Angeles was on my bucket list. I was told not to go to LA because they would eat me up. At 19 years old I made the move from Texas to California. I still did it because my heart was set on it I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I had no idea what to expect when I got there but when I did I felt free. LA has a lot more to offer when it comes to representation and expression. In Texas, it wasn’t common to see people as a part of the LGBTQ+ community or for it to be talked about. I felt like I could be myself in a city like this. So I would say my career started at 19 but I made the decision long before it.
What are some goals for the year?
Currently, my team and I are planning on starting to remix some of my older songs. I’ve never done it before and I’ve always been super curious about doing something like this. I have about two EPs and a few extra songs out that we will be working with. It’ll be super experimental and I look forward to it. Another thing is that my team and I are trying to get on a tour. There’s some stuff coming up for summer and Pride so stay tuned for that!
What is a piece of advice for an artist wanting to join the music industry?
A piece of advice I would give about the music industry is staying true to who you are but saying yes to trying new things. You don’t have to box yourself in but you also don’t need to compromise your moral and personal beliefs. Something I regret is not saying yes more because I thought I would look like a sellout just for trying something new. I was originally doing rock before I moved to electronic music. My producer Adrian said why not experiment a little? And now that I took that risk I’m in a dream a new playland of music. I’m definitely at home with rock music but electronic music has been such a beautiful new experience I’m glad I didn’t turn it down. As an artist, I feel like you can’t stay stagnant. You should always want to be growing and changing.
What is your message you want to get across when writing?
I write a lot about my personal life and what I see the world going through. I also read a lot about interpersonal relationships and what I feel about what’s happening to the public. I will sometimes change my personal experiences to make them broader to the audience and listeners can feel like they can find ways to connect and relate.
The new upcoming EP Frequency: what is the meaning behind it?
This EP has two different meanings and themes. The first half showcases the struggles of mental health. I was diagnosed with anxiety and I am seeing a therapist help with it now. I found things in my life to help me get through it as well. I wanted to write about this and talk about it because I think there’s a huge stigma with mental health and people feel like they can’t get help. I see the world struggling with reaching out and asking for help. Another thing is that some people who want to reach out don’t even have the resources available to get help. Which is awful and there needs to be a change. Some songs on the EP like “Help Me Out” and “Sanity” I feel like really show these types of scenarios and hopefully reach someone who needs it.
The second half of my EP is more of a dance bop vibe. It’s very influenced by a 90s style. These are supposed to be dancing feel-good songs. In specifics, my song “XOXO”, is my dance love letter to the LGBTQ+ community. Another one called “Frequency” is about finding yourself and living authentically in your skin. Because I know for people in the community depending on where you live or who you are around it is hard to feel accepted. It’s hard to be able to be yourself.
What is the “No One Can Stop Us” music video about?
"No One Can Stop Us" is about a secret underground party for the LGBTQ+ community. It’s supposed to showcase in motion what it feels like and resemble beautiful moments of confidence walking onto the dance floor. But the real meaning behind confidence is finding a place where you feel like you belong and that you can be yourself authentically.
I’d never done choreography for my music before this video. This was a collaborative idea between the director, producer, and myself. We did a planet-themed continuation for the songs to all match the videos. I did not want the videos to look like every other planet-themed music video. I wanted something unique. My director, Quinn Tucker came up with this incredible location. The Frank Loyd property is located on a cliff in Malibu. The cliff meets the sky and it was everything I was picturing in my head. There were a few restrictions we had to abide by but that was not going to stop us.