A Brooklyn gal with a distinctive sound and unique upbringing—insert singer-songwriter BAYLI. She spent much of her early career as the lead for The Skins, an genre-bending band composed of five talented musicians cultivated under the legendary Rick Ruben. Years later, BAYLI decided to depart and ultimately re-invent herself through songwriting where she discovered and honed her ability to create infectious melodies that resonate with the youth. 2020 saw the songstress come back to life with ear-worming releases such as “sushi for breakfast” and “boys lie.”
This year, the New York singer invites fans into her life and journey with the release of her debut EP, stories from new york. True to its title, the 6-song project is an urban symphony depicting BAYLI’s coming-of-age experience in NYC. Speaking on the project, BAYLI shared, “NYC is a tough city to grow up in as it really has so much talent here you can go overlooked. I think it teaches you to follow our dreams and focus on what you can control. Your neighbor who is a regular person could be a huge fashion Designer in the blink of an eye or the next viral artist. I think if anything Ny teaches you that without focus and determination it’s impossible.”
We spoke with the fabulous BAYLI about breaking into solo work, her new project, and how she wants to impact her listeners to name a few topics. Read below!
It’s been a bit over two years since the release of your debut solo works including Summer Mixtape. In what ways have your sound and vibe changed since then?
It’s been about two years and all the experience that I have from being in the industry as a band, I still take with me. I still talk to my same mentors and really respect the process of learning. I have so much gratitude so every experience is such an amazing moment.
It’s so interesting to be from Brooklyn and start in Rock N Roll and now, to find myself kind of in an alt-pop space. I feel like there’s been a lot of change, but there’s like a thread through it all. I don’t have to limit or marginalize myself through any genre, but I’m allowed to continue to find my voice and artistry as I keep throwing the paint on the canvas.
Was it a big leap when you decided to step out as your own artist?
It very much was a natural process. I’m super shy and pretty reserved and it’s pretty ironic I’m a performer. With my band, it was a mutual thing when we stopped creating together so it definitely was a hard leap. I wasn’t planning on going into solo work. When the band dissolved, I took a break and that’s how I found songwriting. I spent a lot of time writing for others and doing sync before I found myself doing solo work.
Tell us a little bit about your latest EP. What was the development process like, and what are some hopes or goals you have for this release?
The development process, like I was saying earlier, I really didn’t know if I wanted to do solo work so some of these songs are two years old. I wasn’t approaching it like okay this is my moment and I’m so happy it became that. “Sixteen” is one of the first songs I wrote for the project so when I was writing two years ago, I was just going deeper into what I have to say. It really came from a pure place in terms of internal searching for the project.
If you had to choose one favorite track from the record, which would it be?
Oh my gosh! They’re all amazing. “Sixteen” is so close to my heart, that one’s about my mama. “Foreigner” is a boom-bap record, it’s very much an homage to Brooklyn. I’m really excited for the fans to hear that one and dig into the lyrics because it’s tea!
With the project obviously being called stories from new york, tell me about one of your most memorable experiences growing up there.
There’s just so many! I’m really a Brooklyn girl so it will be little things. Sometimes getting on the subway and I’ll have a flashback to middle school. We used to ride the subway by ourselves, yelling, gossiping, just being crazy and disturbing the neighborhood in a cool Brooklyn way. There are stories like in “Foreigner” where I’m older and I’m just messing around with these New York characters. When people hear the EP, they’ll get a lot of perspective from club scenes to one-night stands and so much more.
Can you walk us through what your process is like when it comes to making music?
Everybody is different, but I am a huge fan of process and understanding how people work. I like to hear the music first, and the tone of the instruments helps me identify what I want to sing about today. I’ll start with a beat or guitar then I’ll kind of mumble and do melodies. I’m not really stuck on getting the words at first, but I play with the natural melodies. I’m a conceptional person so I’m like how can I may this a love song or how can I make this super unique. I like taking simple ideas and making them specific songs that people can latch onto.
What does music mean to you and what changes do you hope to bring to the world with your work?
I have always been a really unique girl and I think everyone is their own individual. I think my expression has been really jarring and vocal to everyone. There’s an abundance of perspectives that I have and I want to share roulettes of what people and young people in this era are into, what we present, the language that we use. I’m hoping to push the culture and be a new face that presents stories through new lenses. I want to inspire people to eventually express themselves in their own way regardless of what’s expected of you.
If you enjoyed our interview with BAYLI, check out our chat with Haviah Mighty!