Introducing

Spotify’s Fresh Find LeyeT Is Taking Off

Tuesday 23 October 2018
Words Freya Szmidt

Los-Angeles based rising star LeyeT (pronounced ‘light’) uses her soulful sound and relatable lyrics to captivate many. Producing catchy indie-pop tracks, LeyeT has gained widespread attention from within the industry, with her debut single ‘Don’t Make Me Cry’ topping Spotify’s Fresh Finds. It is safe to say that she has big things to come.

Talking about her music, she says: “LeyeT is not an alter ego as it is still me, but I feel so free when I’m singing, it is like my soul coming out.”

We caught up with her before the release of her debut EP and got an insight into her inspiration and thoughts around her journey so far.

Are your family musical or who/what drew you into the music industry?

A lot of my family play instruments. I have a musically talented family… we love music! I grew up singing, I was part of a choir, and I went to an elementary where we did lots of musicals and that’s when my love of singing happened! One day my stepdad asked if I would like to play guitar, and after that everything clicked. That’s when I realised that music is my passion. Music lets me put everything in perspective. My step brother plays drums and my mum and stepdad really got me into guitar… but I would say that song writing came later.

What has been your favourite song of yours so far?

Ohh that is so hard! I’ve written so many. As for the songs I have released as ‘LeyeT’ I would say ‘Long Way’. When I wrote it, it felt like it was so honest, and I felt like this is me, this is my song. It was special. Every time I listened to it I’d get emotional. LeyeT is pretty new, I’ve been doing music forever, but this felt like my new sound. I’ve been growing into what I was ready to be and LeyeT just feels very authentic.

‘Long Way’ is about a relationship. It was the first time I thought “this is the person I’ll be with for the rest of my life”, a deep deep love. But, since then it has become a very beautiful self-discovery, so it has become a lot about being by myself. ‘Long Way’ is about thinking about dating again, but the song is about not wanting to go through all of that and not being with the right person again. Listening back reminds me of how I felt. I’m not looking for anyone right now as I believe it’ll come but it’s really nice right now to be single and I’m going to keep riding on that!

Do you have methods that inspire new lyrics?

It comes in all different ways, sometimes I’ll just have a thought or a thing I write down, could just be a line, and bring that little thought into a session and go from there.

If I have a session with a producer, then the music can really inspire a certain mood and it can draw lyrics out that way. But usually it is my mood and what I’m thinking about, then lyrically it comes. So, it’s always very personal I would say, which is special with music. Listening back to music it’s like looking back at chapters in your life.

How do you feel before a performance and what has been your favourite performance so far and why?

Maybe I should knock on wood but normally I don’t feel super nervous, I’m excited! I’m just eager to sing, I just love it so much! The good kind of excitement, definitely.

My debut show was pretty special, it was at the Peppermint Club in West Hollywood and I didn’t know what to expect. I remember having butterflies before the show, but it was wonderful, it was packed! People hearing my lyrics – wow, that’s the goal for an artist.

What advice would you give to artists who are nervous to fully commit to their music career?

I think the main thing is that it’s important to spend time thinking about what kind of artist you want to be, how you want to present yourself and staying true to that, even if that’s not a trend right now. Not writing a specific style because you think that is what people want to hear/will be popular right now but staying true to yourself and your voice is the biggest thing. It takes time to hear and be confident with your own voice, and once you find that, go, go share it!

Trust your voice and stick to it, that is what connects people. Produce stuff that is true and real and genuine, people can feel when it’s not.

What can you say about your style?

If I look at an artist that I like then that can influence my style. When I started I realised that this is me and I don’t really care, it’s what makes me feel comfortable and I like it! I would rather be a little funkier not trying because that is, to me, my personality. Music and style kind of happened at the same time with my internal voice. A lot of people are visual, so you present yourself in a certain way, and this is me!

What’s your average day like?

I’m in the studio a lot, writing a new song or sometimes a vocal session or building a track with a producer. I’m currently wrapping up and preparing for an EP so I’m shifting gears.

I am a songwriter, if you want to be in shape you’ve got to go to the gym everyday, so if you want to be a great songwriter you have to do it every day… I love it! So much goes on in life and it’s stressful and all those things, but if I’m away from my craft and what I love doing for too long I don’t like it, so I keep that at the root.

I have lots of really talented friends in LA, so I support a lot of their shows. I also help organise a song writing community in LA, which involves running workshops. It’s been wonderful! We keep it open to everyone, so lots of creatives get together, sometimes we invite a guest speaker which is great. We all just do it because we love it, but people just kept wanting more and more so now we have started doing 6-week workshops of lyric writing. I think it is important to be around like-minded individuals because when you surround yourself with similar people they can give you the support you need. We can share our successes and help each other out!

Fave and least fave aspect of your line of work?

I still have a job I do in the mornings, not that it’s my least favourite, but I am just very busy! Least favourite is that I can’t solely focus on my music, if I didn’t have that job then I could just focus only on my music. But I am learning a lot through my job and I do enjoy the business side as well, I would love to help connect dots for artists and find them.

My favourite aspect of my line of work is probably that I have a really great group of friends and collaborators. I think I’m really lucky because of that. I have done tonnes of sessions and I feel like I’ve now found a group of people who I can collaborate well with and who I can really call my friends.

How are you feeling about your October show in LA and what kind of crowd are you expecting?

I have a show on 15 October at the Bootleg Theatre. This one will be with a friend who has asked me to play a show with her, she’s like family so it’ll be amazing!

Which artists inspire you?

I listen to such a broad variety. I love John Mayer, my music is guitar based, which is a big thing for me. I just love John Mayer’s guitar playing and song writing, I feel like it keeps getting better every year! I love how he can say something so profound so simply!

Someone else who I think has stayed authentic throughout their career is Lana Del Ray, I love her. I think she is also someone who stays true to who she is. Not trying to stay with the trends, she’s just iconic. Those two I would die to have a collaboration with one day. I love Bob Marley too, my mum used to say I’ve been listening to him from the womb! She used to play him lots.

Any goals in your craft after doing so well on Spotify’s Fresh Finds?

At that time, I didn’t even have a photo of me, I just put that song out because I felt like I needed to do it. I wrote that song and put it out with no plan and then it was number 1 on Fresh Finds!

It was cool to have that, I know I have a long way to go but I’m excited to put out my EP. I just want to put out as much music as I can. And I am ready to see the world and tour, and obviously the Grammys, I want it all! I would also love to write music for other artists as well, not just my own. And next up will be music videos as I haven’t done that yet!