Warner Records LAYA Releases “Um Hello” and Talks All Things Music


Recording artist LAYA never felt any anxiety about reaching numbers. As an independent turned mainstream act when asked about the feeling she gets when releasing new music, she responds with confidence that only an artist who truly knows who they are and why they do what they do can respond. 

“Don’t care.  Never cared. If it’s good they’ll listen to it.  If they like my videos they’ll watch them.  I don’t create from a place of chasing a number.  I create and attract those who resonate with it.  If what I was doing was complete garbage I would’ve gotten that message a long time ago and I wouldn’t be in this position now.  To be an artist is to create your art for the sake of self-expression and your own sanity.  If people love your art they will support it, period.  When you think about it, people are more drawn to art that is created out of real passion and soul versus art created without it,” Laya tells ThisIsRnB host, Jessica Dupree. 

The Staten Island songstress and songwriter released her debut 11-track EP titled ‘Um, Hello’ on Warner Records and leads with sultry bedroom groove On Sight.’ Known for her creativity and versatility, she balances airy melodies with hefty beats, explores nostalgic sounds through a modern lens, and packs it all with plenty of sass and seduction to keep us firmly rooted in the present.

Laya sat down with ThisIsRnB to discuss her new EP and all things music. 

TIRNB: Who is the artist LAYA? Where are you from and how long have you been recording music? 

LAYA: I’m the quirkiest R&B singer you’ve ever seen.  I was born and raised in Staten Island, NY and I’ve been singing all my life.  I started writing my own songs in grade school and started recording music in my early teens.

Tell us about your debut EP and what is it about? 

My debut EP Um, Hello is my call to the universe.  I’m quite literally saying “Um, Hello!  Look at me!”.  My intention was to grab the world’s attention and bring something fresh to the music scene with this project.  Not only sonically, but visually as well.

What inspired the overall creative process for your visuals and sound for this project and how do you describe the sound? 

I’m very much inspired by the golden age of 90s/early 2000s R&B and you can hear the influence in my music, however, my music has a timeless feel.  I’m also inspired by a lot of TV and film so I love to have fun with my visual concepts.   I don’t think that my genre or style of music should dictate what my visual style should look like.  Making things fun and over the top bring me so much joy.

Describe the feeling of being signed to Warner? How did that happen & what were your reasons for going to a major label?

It’s an incredible feeling having a huge label that believes in you the way Warner believes in me.  My music got the attention of my now A&R, Ericka Coulter and she did not hesitate to fly from LA to NYC in less than 24 hours to meet with me.  There are a lot of things to consider when you’re choosing a label to sign to and it can be daunting but everything that she and Warner proposed was absolutely in alignment with what I wanted to do and where I intended to take my career.  I don’t see myself as anything less than a major artist so it was only right to sign with a major label, not only because they were major but more importantly their vision for me was major.

You’ve been able to express yourself in an original, different way. What instruments/tools do you use to create your distinct sound and what exactly are you trying to convey? 

 The only instrument I use is my voice.  I record myself in a regular recording DAW program just like everyone else.  My sound is unique because what I’m creating is unique. I don’t follow trends or mainstream guidelines. I just create what makes me happy and what sounds good to me. If I didn’t my sound wouldn’t be “distinct” as you said.

 When do you know that you’ve created a masterpiece? 

When I can hear (or see) it outside of myself.  What I mean by that is when I can view my work and feel it in the third person as if I’m listening to or looking at a stranger.  In those moments I can see my work for what it is and it gets me hype every time. Lol I’ve really slapped my knee a few times and patted myself on the back and looked into space like “who do I think I am?!”.

 What’s your favorite song on this EP? 

I really don’t like any one of them more than the others but lately, I’ve been listening to “Calling Me” a lot.  It was the last song added to Um, Hello and pretty much sums up the story of the whole EP.  I set out to get the world’s attention and it worked, and now they’re calling me.  It became the perfect bookend to the story.  It even has that floaty ascending feeling to it.  “Calling Me” leaves you on a high and has you wishing it wasn’t over.

What’s next for LAYA? 

More everything!  More music, more videos, more shows, more everything.   Um, Hello is only the beginning and is just a taste of what is to come.  I can’t wait to hit ya’ll with the next project and I certainly can’t wait to travel and perform to all my fans in person.

Buckle up, because this rocket ship is taking off!

Check out LAYA’s ‘Um, Hello’ EP Below.

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