If you haven’t heard the name Kayla Rae, prepare to hear it a lot more often. The Denver-based singer-songwriter has been putting in countless hours of work over the course of the past few years, releasing new material as well as covers to some of our favorite songs. Kayla Rae, like many artists, is far from where she wants to be but so far, her journey has been extremely compelling to watch.
Making her debut in 2018 with “Practice,” Kayla Rae is just as loveable and addictive as her catalog. This previous year, she put out her debut EP, Pressure. The 9-track offering boasts a lone feature from Nay Renee and formally introduced the world to the artist we know as Kayla Rae. Although her journey doesn’t stop there as she continues to shine bright on her latest slew of releases such as “Married To The Money” and “Peaches.”
For our latest interview, we had the chance to chat with Kayla Rae in regards to her musical journey, influences, and legacy amongst other things. Read the full interview below to know more about R&B’s rising songstress.
If you don’t mind, could you walk me through your background and how you gravitated towards artistry?
It’s always been who I am ever since I was little. I was always sing for my mom and her friends, I would set up all my stuffed animals in the corner of my room and make everyone watch me sing and dance. So she always nurtured that in me and encouraged it, and made me believe that I could do whatever I put my mind to. My mom was actually a singer when she was younger because she’s been able to grow and become something in me because it never happened for her.
When I graduated high school, I told her I wanted to go to college for music. I got a few grants so I got to go out to Boston for school and because I couldn’t afford it, I was only to stay for one semester. But it was enough because at Berkley there are so many other singers and writers that you just get into a network of people. I got so much good experience when I lived out there and when I came back to Colorado, I went really hard and started posting songs and homemade music videos. That was how I began getting a fanbase and even though it took a few years, I had supporters encouraging me.
Who were some of your early influences then and now?
I have so many. I would say when I was younger I was influenced by Whitney Houston, Aaliyah, and Christina Aguilera. As I got older, I fell in love with Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Sade. Just a lot of beautiful talented women in music. They’re also style icons, women who just radiate stardom. These days I really love Jhené Aiko, Snoh Aalegra, there are so many good people I could just go on and on.
You put out your single and video “Married To The Money” a while back, what was the inspiration behind that record?
I was talking to my producer and telling him how I couldn’t be with someone at the time because I can’t give them what they want from me. Even though I wanted to be with them, I just don’t have the time right now. I have to focus, my family doesn’t really come from anything, so I feel like my main focus is to take care of myself and build something for my family. I told my producer that I want to be with someone but I’m really married to my goals, thinking about my future and how I can make myself proud. I said “I want to be in love but I’m married to the money!”
I wrote the song and we were about to put it out but my producer asked what do I think about getting Trev Rich on the record. I wanted him on it when I started writing the record because his name would fit the theme. He’s such an influential rapper from Denver and he sent his verse back in a day. It just worked out perfect and he understood me because he’s been in my situation before.
Since your first official single “Practice,” in what ways have you evolved as a person?
I’ve changed a lot since then, I feel like my focus has definitely changed. I have a better grip on what’s important in my life and what I need to focus on. When I put out “Practice,” I was so excited and having fun, and it was just so natural. When I saw the benefits of letting go, people relate to that authenticity when there’s no pressure behind it. Since then, I’ve really been dedicated to becoming a better artist and singer.
Also, I don’t really trip on things that I used to back then. It’s been a couple of years so I’ve been through some things as far as relationships go. I learned to pick my battles, not everything deserves your reaction or attention. The more you pay attention to those little things that don’t matter, the further you get from your goal. I think overall that just helped me as a young woman.
Do you have any dream collaborations that you would want to happen in the future?
I think my main dream collab would be Drake. I grew up listening to him throughout high school ad I’ve just watched his growth over the past ten years. What he’s done is just legendary so I would love to just meet and work with him. That would be number one, I would really love to work with Kehlani and Lil Baby. I feel like him and I could make such a tight record.
In terms of your legacy, what direction do you see yourself going in musically in the next few years?
Hopefully tour as soon as things get back to normal, if that’s a thing anymore. I want to travel, especially to Brazil and Argentina. I want to have a record on the Billboard within the next year. I just make so much music all the time and I have such loving and dedicated fans so I know together we could make it happen. And hopefully an album, I would really love to put one out soon.
Kayla Rae’s new record “Single” is slated to drop on April 15th, in the meantime, check out Asia Kyreé.