by | March 31, 2016

“I like my bed,” sings LAY. on her soulful breakout track ‘Yin Yang’, but she is everywhere but under the duvet. With her sound reminiscent of early TLC crossed with Alesha Dixon and Erykah Badu, it has the depth of someone that’s done their homework but whose message is rooted firmly in addressing the woes and hopes of the present.

This is how twenty-one year old LAY. has quickly established herself as the artist to keep an eye on within the Manchester urban music scene and beyond. Recently performing at not one, but two gigs in one night, in support of Wrigz and GAIKA, as well as spitting bars for the king of rap, Mr. Kenrick Lamar, at a secret event organised by Reebok, the gurl is in demand. Last week also saw the release of her third offering, ‘Aura’, part of an EP with Hip Hop collective Cul De Sac.

We caught up with her to chat gigging with Kendrick, style inspirations and what she’s got planned for the rest of the year…

interview with lay

Hi LAY.! You’re fresh from performing two gigs across venues at opposite ends of the city. Did you do a Drake and have an Uber on standby?

Ha, it’s most definitely sweet to perform twice, barring all the rushing to get from one place to another…But it’s very different. I love performing my own tracks but there is nothing like performing with family, they make me giggle on stage and I love that, everything is very much genuine.

 You also recently showcased your skills to Kendrick Lamar. How was that?

It was literally like all systems GO GO GOOO! I think everyone went into overdrive and although wanting to be like “oh my life, it’s Kendrick,” everyone just felt inspired by the vibe that he brought and that’s something I know we all went away with. However, he dipped off shortly so no conversing with the guy, but I spat some bars…so I was still pretty blessed really.

Video of LAY. performing for Kendrick Lamar

lay. singer interview

Three different Manchester collectives have got you on board right now. Do you think it’s important to work with others?

Most definitely. Even if it’s just to enhance your solo tunes…I see every verse as a perspective and when different people write a verse to the same tune, you’re just hearing all these perspectives and it tends to inspire you. I also think that every collective brings their own stance, so you can take your approach to one collective’s usual flow and play around with it in other genres. For example, I’m a lot more grimey in Cul De Sac and so I like to mix this up with Roots Raddix’s flow which is a lot more Hip Hop. But music is so much more beautiful when you’re sharing and creating it with others, those moments when a specific line makes you shiver and you’re all there to experience it.

Your look is pretty damn fly. What inspires your style?

Being comfortable. I live in tracksuit bottoms because it’s a comfortable life to live. If for some reason I’m wearing anything else like jeans, I have withdrawal symptoms and end up needing to change back into trackies! But my look is mostly from the 90’s, a lot of Aaliyah and Left Eye, I love their swag and the way they imitate the mandem.

interview lay. singer

A girl after our own heart… You’re originally from Birmingham. How does Manchester compare musically?

I strongly believe I would grow more of a grime artist if I still lived in Birmingham as grime is still quite a big scene. Moving to Manchester opened my mind to the max, but it could be just due the fact that I was growing up and therefore was outgrowing the music I was listening to. But Hip Hop in Manchester is very much more evident and it can be quite a deep and spiritual culture.

It seems you know exactly who you are and where you’re going! What’s next?

The aim is to make my stamp as a soulstress, whether that’s through music, performances, talks and stuff…I just want to spread a vibe. I will be releasing the visuals for my new solo tune ‘Aura’ within the next couple of weeks. I feel like this song is the one where it’s like ‘YES,’ I’ve truly found myself, it’s very raw, very neo-soul, just me really.

I also want to get in touch with other female artists whether it’s for support or to collaborate, I just need to know who you are. But I have high hopes for my collectives and my solo projects this year, all moving forward nicely.

Wanna know more about LAY.?

Follow her on Instagram @LayFullStop and Twitter @LayFullStop

Watch LAY.’s video for ‘Yin Yang’

…and ‘Intact’

If you like what you here, you can buy ‘Aura’ as part of the Stems EP by Cul De Sac here

Words by Kamila.

Kamila is a Manchester based journalist, music promoter and radio presenter. Follow Kamila on Instagram @kamilarymajdo and Twitter @kamilarymajdo and @WITCH_UNT