“I find the release process very liberating, to be honest, and the lead up to it I find exciting,” says East London-based musician LILITA. The singer, who often pours her entire being into her art form, makes densely layered ballads that sound like they come from a euphoric world—and it’s one entirely of her own making.
In her 2021 debut EP, Palette, LILITA graces the mic and delivers a 5-song portrait that brings us into a culmination of her colorful upbringing and infectiously positive attitude. The project, helmed by standout cuts like “P.M.W.Y.C” and “Fade To Grey,” is full of ethereal atmospheres, as scarce and hazy as a neglected night out. Throughout its entirety, the songstress explores themes of love, self-worth, and detachment. Welcoming a new era in her artistry, LILITA released her first offering of the year appropriately titled “Bigger Plan.”
As she prepares for her forthcoming sophomore EP, LILITA unveiled her eagerly-awaited single “Untethered,” complemented by the songstress’ otherworldly, lullaby vocals as she ponders the question of love. We spoke with the songstress to get a proper insight into her world as she discusses her relationship with music, aesthetic, and new project among other topics.
To begin with, can you talk a bit about your early relationship with music?
My early relationship with music began from being in primary school, my first time performing was when I was given the character of Mary in our annual nativity, I always loved music and singing from as far back as I can remember and spent most of my time growing up with my portable CD player attached to my hip and writing poems.
Following that, when did you first discover your gift for creating music? Who were some artists, either at the time or currently, that maybe paved away or inspired you to start creating music of your own?
I first realized I could sing when I was auditioning for a role in Alice in Wonderland in school, I had my Walkman CD player and I remember taking out my headphones in the back of my dad’s car and hearing myself sing for the very first time and I didn’t stop singing from that point. During these very early years of my life Beyonce was honestly Wonder Woman to me, as a young girl I was obsessed and I think she became very influential as I saw her as an extremely powerful woman in the industry.
I grew up on 90s R&B and soul music and was always listening to female artists such as Gabrielle, Missy Elliot, and Rihanna. I think these females fuelled and inspired me to create from as far back as I can remember when I was performing my own songs at family gatherings. As I grew older and discovered artists like James Blake, MIA, and Frank Ocean, I think this is where my music began to develop as I found a love for alternative production and unworldly sounds.
I was always writing from a young age, whether that be stories, songs, or poems and it wasn’t until I was around 19 that I started to channel this passion into writing songs. I bought my first notebook in Amsterdam and couldn’t put the pen down, I came back from that trip and bought a keyboard and from there everything propelled really, doors began to open, and I welcomed opportunities with open arms. The more musicians and creatives I met the more I realized my potential with creating music and I just fell in love with the whole process.
Can you talk a bit about how the track “Untethered” came about, as well as how it sets the tone for the direction you want to go sonically with this forthcoming EP?
“Untethered” happened very organically, myself and Flo got in the studio together and after Flo heard some of my demos and understood where my sound was heading, he began to create a beat that met all the criteria of what I’m aiming towards achieving as an artist—something new to the ears that fuses together mysticism and worldly instrumentation.
As Flo was producing the track I was intuitively writing down the song on my phone and we recorded the vocals in one take and then one take of adlibs, the ease of this session enlightened us both that it was a special track, we kept it very raw and the enchanting elements of untethered truly represent where I’m going sonically, especially with this new EP, it’s really a project that fuses ambiance with tribal sounds and conscious lyrics that transport you into a new world.
Many artists love making music but the process of putting out a project can be either very draining or nerve-racking—do you feel that way or does the process inspire you?
I find the release process very liberating, to be honest, and the lead up to it I find exciting however I find the weeks prior which involve producing music videos to a time schedule and financially managing myself to market my music quite stressful. I can be a bit of a perfectionist but I’m also super chilled so I really have to manage my time carefully to deliver a project on time, when everything is good to go like artwork, press release, visuals, etcetera then I finally feel like I can breathe.
So release day for me is more just a day of peace I always make sure I am completely free on this day to reflect on my journey and of course celebrate. Releasing music defiantly inspires me especially when you receive feedback that ignites you to keep creating and sharing.
Speaking more about the themes that run through your music; I love the song “Y.M.W.Y.C.” from last year’s Palette. How do you define love and with that being said, what’s your love language?
How do I define love? That’s a huge question. I guess love is an emotion or frequency which truly should be at the core of all we do, it’s what drives us in life right? Whether that be the love for your job or your desire to be loved it’s one of the free things in life which feels the best. My language is definitely touch and affection, when I’m in love it’s obvious. I also think music is a love language of mine, sharing playlists and sons with a person is so deep it’s like you want someone you care for to experience the same feeling as you whilst apart.
Adjusting the conversation slightly, how would you describe your aesthetic? Do you have a muse in mind whenever you’re piecing together outfits?
I would describe my aesthetic as a reflection of my music, I enjoy anything out of the ordinary that makes you feel closer to the source so to translate that into my aesthetic I like layers, lots of jewelry, cut-out pieces, and shapes. I often get my inspiration from films such as Avatar and Valerian, the way their aesthetic sets them apart as a tribe I find beautiful.
Another thing that subtly stands out at first glance are some of your tattoos—how many do you have and which ones are the most meaningful?
I think I have around 13 tattoos now all of them which I love dearly because I got them at significant times in my life and all have a personal meaning to me. More recently, myself and two very good friends spent a beautiful weekend together, and to conclude the time spent together we each tattooed a love heart on one another’s ankle, so this has to be my favorite to date.
Beyond that, what are you most excited about or looking forward to in 2022?
I am looking forward to so many things! Releasing my music!! Sharing what I’ve been curating with the world, I’m excited about meeting more creatives and making new musical connections along with more shows and delving into my sound healing journey as well where I use my voice combined with singing bowls as an alternative therapy. I want to incorporate the healing powers of music into my mainstream this year.
Elsewhere in music, experimental musician Eartheater unveils her new single “Mitosis.”