Rayla – Raylafyed

Words + Interview: Krystal Luster

17-year old Rayla is a talented singer/songwriter who has recently released a video for her latest single, “LNT”. We spoke about her love for music, her songwriting process and her involvement with The Fuller Center for Housing. Enjoy!  

Is Rayla your birth or stage name?
Rayla is actually a stage name! But Rayla is a family name so it means just as much to me.

Is music a big part of your family’s life as well?
Music is definitely a big part of my family. I grew up listening to all kinds of music and you can’t walk into my house without hearing music playing! Although no one in my family is musically talented (sorry guys) it’s still something we all bond over.

What’s your go-to-song when you’re in need of a pick-me-up?
Hmm, this is hard because I have a lot of go-to-songs. I definitely listen to self-motivating songs like, This is Me by Kaela Settle from the movie, The Greatest Showman.

How would you define music?
Music is so important. I seriously can’t imagine life without it. Music is art, it gives people a voice, it can change your mood, show your emotions and it’s a really cool way to relate to and share your emotions with so many people. Music is so powerful and I feel very lucky to be able to be a part of this industry.

What would you say your style is as an artist?
I don’t really like to put my music in a box. Some days I like to sit down and write really powerful ballads with just a guitar or a piano. Other days I like writing fun, production driven songs that just make you wanna dance! My music is mostly pop but it’s cool to let people decide for themselves what they think.

Do you play any other instruments besides guitar? If not, what would you be interested in learning to play?
I’ve learned the piano a little bit over the years but that’s something I am dying to get good at!  Once I reach that goal, I’m definitely going to be picking up the drums!

Is it ever difficult writing new songs?
Yeah, of course! You can definitely have writer’s block as an artist but for me, I just keep writing, even if it’s not a good concept or the lyrics aren’t too great. Other times it’s good to just take a step back, go out, do something fun and then come back to it and see what comes from that break. Songwriting usually comes from real life experience, so its important to have real life experiences to pull from!

Tell us about “Boys Like You” and “Other Girl”. Would you say these songs tell a similar story?
Definitely! These two songs are some of my favorites. They are extremely powerful because it shares the message that it’s okay to be vulnerable and it’s okay to not be okay. I think people sometimes forget that or don’t wanna show that they’re “weak” when in reality they’re not. Everyone goes through rough patches and those songs have a stronger message than just being about a boy and a broken relationship.

Were these songs written by you?
Boys Like You was written by me.  It was during a time when I was trying so hard to be strong and positive and I hit a wall and couldn’t do it.  So, my co-writer Nikki Sorrentino and I really dug down deep.  It’s definitely my most vulnerable song. Other Girl on the other hand is a song that means absolutely everything to me.

This song was written by 4 amazing artists and I just sort of “Raylafyed” it, lol. I was going through the exact situation the song describes and absolutely fell in love with this song.  It spoke so deeply to me and literally I cried the first time I heard it!  I’ve definitely adopted this song, lol!

How much time would you say you spend in the studio?
As much time as I can!  I’m really lucky that my team has several studios I can work out of.  It’s been awesome to be in that type of environment, constantly surrounded by new music and amazingly talented and creative people.

Were you involved with the shooting of your music video for your recent single, “LNT”?
Yes!  This was actually my exact vision and it was so awesome to find someone who understood my vision and brought it to life!  Thank you Robbie Joseph!  He understood the concept the first time we met and he and his crew pulled it together.

If for whatever reason music was no longer a factor in your life, what would it be replaced by?
The right answer to this is still music!  Lol.  Music really is my world and if I couldn’t do it anymore I’d still find anyway to be apart of it.

Would you mind telling us about your involvement with The Fuller Center for Housing.
Yeah!  This is an awesome organization I’ve been volunteering with for the past 2 years.  It’s so crazy to be able to be apart of helping to improve a family’s life and to be part of building a house from the ground up, literally from scratch!  The whole experience has taught me a lot about myself and I’m so grateful to be apart of it and for Fuller Center and all the amazing work they do.

What about this organization stood out to you the most?
Probably the fact that us kids get to be so involved.  We were able to do so much of the actual building and actually built someone’s HOME!  I did things I didn’t even know I was capable of and to be given the responsibility of helping to build a home, working together and improving someone’s life is something really special. Check out www.fullercenter.org.

Lastly, when can we expect an album or EP?
An EP is coming very, very soon! I don’t have an exact date but be on the look out!  You can find out more details as they come out on my Instagram @rayla!

Photo by Robbie Joseph

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