Layke Is Back And More Empowered Than Ever
Dallas-raised singer Layke is back and more empowered than ever. The musician, who has spent the last several years honing in on her vocal prowess and everso relatable emotions in her songs, returns with the release of her new song “No One Can Stop Us.”
Since making her debut in 2018, Layke has unveiled two self-titled EPs, both helming some of her most recognizable works to date including songs like “Happier” featuring Snoop Dogg, “All Cut Up,” and “Beautiful War” amongst others. Coming off the heels of her sophomore effort, the singer continued to unravel her artistry with a string of singles, notably gracing fans with records like “Bad Things” and “Going Out On A High.” The two records were slated to appear on Layke’s debut album, however, the project was brought to halt amid the pandemic. Fast forward to now, the rising music polymath has found power in sharing her most fearlessly transparent output, using music as a way to empower and encourage others.
Last month, Layke faces her anxieties head-on as she tries to find her voice in order to reach out for help in “Help Me Out,” the musician’s first song following a year-long hiatus. The accompanying visuals highlight her left-of-center reimagined pop sound with an edge, utilizing electronic undertones and dance-party beats. Now, she unveils her single and video for “No One Can Stop Us,” a 90s-infused dance-pop track that speaks to embracing the moment you’re, feeling as if you’re unstoppable as hinted in the song’s title. Both offerings are slated to appear on Layke’s forthcoming EP, Frequency, taking a more personal approach than some of the artist’s previous efforts as she unapologetically lives her truth.
As she prepares for her forthcoming EP, we chat with Layke in regards to her new single “No One Can Stop Us,” songwriting, and her influences as of late. Read our conversation below.
“Help Me Out,” the first song off of your forthcoming EP, sees you finding the strength to reach out for help as well as marks your return after a year-long hiatus. Why did you choose this record to kick off a new chapter in your artistry?
You know it’s interesting because in 2020 I was planning on putting out a whole album at the time and I was like I’m just not going to do it. I had like four songs already. I had “Bad Things” and “Going Out On A High” already written back then. We were like okay, let’s keep writing and turn this is an album by the end of 2020. Quartine happened it was like oh shit. I wanted to keep putting music out to keep myself on the map you know? It’s important to have that connection with your audience.
We were all ready to go basically in 2021 with the other songs and it just didn’t feel like the right time. It just felt like a weird time for everybody to figure out and navigate the complete pandemic isolation. Now everything’s normal again even though we’re still in a pandemic. It’s since then turned into this whole new thing and I changed my creative direction. We wanted to really push this kind of Y2K era feeling and now I feel like this is the right time to do so.
My friend Dylan actually worked on the project as well, he’s really really amazing. He was like “Help Me Out” is amazing because it gets really honest. We never put anything out like that and I was scared because it’s really vulnerable you know. Really, it was a friend that kind of pushed me into it but I think that’s really important as a solo artist to learn and know people. Sometimes they see things that you don’t see you know and you’re it made me think
Beyond that, when approaching the task of songwriting, what are some topics that come naturally to you these days?
I write very much about personal experiences and interpersonal relationships in my life whether it be intimate relationships on a romantic level or a friend. A lot of what I write comes from personal experience in the past and for the past couple of years, by writing I really got more exposed. I’m actually talking about anxiety, personal relationships with people, and knowing who I am as a human on a deeper level.
I’ve always been a writer since before I was singing, ever since I was a little kid. It was always second nature as I was writing on my own. I’ve always kind of just put it all out there, it’s been a therapeutic thing for me as a child being in Texas where I grew up. I never had an example of anybody who’s queer around me. There was nobody openly talking about that, however, there was one example in my life and they were not talked about. I had writing as an outlet and never held back so when I started to write music.
Talk to me about the release of your new single “No One Can Stop Us,” what was the inspiration behind that record?
“No One Can Stop Us,” the way I describe it, is you walk in the club with your friends and you know you look hot, you know you look good, you know like you’re on fire. We’ve all had those nights where you hit the dance floor and you’re dancing with someone and you can’t stop the feeling of what’s happening. That was like the original inspiration for it, that amazing kinetic energy that you feel in that moment. That natural high of amazingness that we’ve maybe not had in so long, but now we are.
Then we shot the video, we brought in the dancers who are all part of the queer community. Each of them represents a different facet of the queer community which is awesome because there are so many different you know elements of facets to the LGBTQ+ community that I love to say I am a part of. On set, it was just like a family and everybody was just a vibe. They’re going to be in the video for my next single “XO XO.” There was magic that happened on that set and honestly, I was really scared because I haven’t done a choreography video in years.
I did dance my whole life, but you know I haven’t done one in a bit. It is a lot to bite off and also I was wearing a tiny body suit and I’m not really that kind of femme. I can be kind of femme but I’m more of a butch queen kind of! My friends were like do this, you can do it. I was like you know, let me step out of my comfort zone and I really love it so I’m really excited.
The video was shot on one of Eric Wright’s—grandson of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright—properties in Malibu. How did you come up with the concept for the video?
That was crazy! It’s a Frank Lloyd Wright property and it’s actually his grandson Eric Wright’s now. He lives on the property and usually doesn’t really allow people to shoot there because very private. It was very difficult, but you can only have twenty people on at any time. So it was me, the four dancers, and the rest for hair, makeup, and crew. Somehow the crew did it with 11 people, I have no idea how.
There was no power sources because it’s not meant for this, you know what I mean? We had to bring in all the generators, we had to bring in everything makeup. So when I got there, I was like this isn’t going to get done because I had one assistant who was helping me style and she was also doing all the BTS. We made it work and it turned out amazing. We had an amazing DP, Pedro who was incredible. Quin, the director, and Marissa, the producer, everybody got it together. you know we just said you know we’re gonna make. At first, I was freaking out, but we made it work and it turned out lovely. It was a lovely experience.
What artists or genres have you been listening to lately? How have they influenced your recent music?
Right now, I am obsessed with Charlie XCX. This new record was such a great one. I love everything she does, she’s never made a misstep. Rina Sawwayama, I think they have the same management stuff and they’re also close friends. Chester Lockhart has been doing her creative direction, she is a close friend of my roommate and a lot of people I know and respect. I also love Little Simz, the rapper from the UK, she’s so good.
I grew literally listening. My dad took me to see Carlos Santana when I was really little. I’ve had very good music influences throughout my whole life you know and like I grew up obsessed with Janet Jackson. My taste range is all over the place, it’s everywhere from pop to rock to electronic. But I think it’s also like why limit yourself, you know I mean?
Aside from the EP, what’s next for you, and how do you see yourself growing both musically and personally this year?
We’re currently working on some remixes for the songs and that’s something I’ve never really done. I’m really excited about that and I really want to get out there and start playing shows. I haven’t played shows in a while, but I’ve played a couple of streams in 2020 and did some shows in 2019. I’ve been on stage since I was born basically. I love being on stage, connecting, and having that energy.
Elsewhere in music, Toronto singer Dylan Sinclair delves into his new EP No Longer In The Suburbs.