“We lost the “rhythm” in rhythm and blues, and that’s why I’m here,” says our Digital Cover Star for L’Officiel India’s December Issue, Laya Face, the artist redefining the sound of modern and contemporary R&B.
Photographer – Petros Kouiouris @petros_koy
Art Director, Stylist, & Set Design – Oliver Brown @olvrbrwn
DP/Editor/Colorist – Chun Fung Kevin Chiu @kchiucinematography
Talent: Laya Face @layaface
Makeup Artist – Tish Ferguson @tish_ferguson
Hair Stylist – Sheila Fisher @sheilafisherhair
Nails – FANESS @Fanessnails
Fashion Assistants – India Young, Liz Everett, Isabella Bradford, Stephani Jacobson, Safa Haque @iamindianicole @iamlizeverett @magnificent_misfit @izabelleuhh @stephanijstyle
Special thanks to Dread Bar of Lansing, Vuliwear, J1S Brand, deTrois, Dezired Beauty, and Birch Rak Clothier @thedreadbar @vuliwear_official @j1sbrand @de_trois @dezired.beauty @birchrakclothier
“We lost the “rhythm” in rhythm and blues, and that’s why I’m here,” says our Digital Cover Star for L’Officiel India December Issue, Laya Face, the artist redefining the sound of modern and contemporary R&B. This Staten Island-born singer can morph into many roles to create a unique sound and experience. Being a creative artist oozes through Laya’s veins; an artist who can switch from a singer and songwriter to a producer and creative director of her own music videos. “Bitter” I immediately saw what kind of video I wanted as soon as I finished recording. I wanted it to look like a cartoon, and it made me go down the route of “Gimme Some More” by Buster Rhymes.” As she graced the year’s last cover, we had a great conversation about her career and what her fans and listeners can expect next year. Read the exclusive interview with LAYA below.
For those just discovering who you are, talk us through your background and how you got started.
I was always started. I started from the womb, baby. I always knew what I wanted to be and who I was going to be. I always knew that I was going to be an artist and a performer. It was a matter of time to win it all. It just clicked and came together.
You recently paid tribute to artists like Brandy, Missy, Elliot, and Beyonce by creating a modern yet nostalgic song titled “Crazy Down.” What gravitates you to those artists, and what other artists influenced your sound growing up?
I gravitated towards those women because they made great, funky, strong, and feminine R&B. I say R&B because that’s the basis of it. Artists like Missy, Beyonce, and Brandy are my musical moms. They’ve helped mould me and many others like them. They made it cool; they made it popular.
Jacket – J1sbrand @j1sbrand
Headpiece – Kat and Clarese @katandclarese
Boots – Pedro Juan Atelier @pedrojuanatelier
Sheila Fisher for Dread Bar Hair Care
Your music videos bring a unique perspective with a playful and artistic twist. Talk us through your creative process when creating visuals for your Music.
I often come up with visual concepts when I’m writing a song. For instance, when I was writing “’ Bitter,’” I immediately saw what kind of video I wanted as soon as I finished recording. I wanted it to look like a cartoon, and it made me go down the route of “Gimme Some More” by Buster Rhymes. I saw vibrant colours and animated textures, and from there, I knew that’s what I wanted to do with that song.
What are your thoughts on modern R&B, and how do you differentiate from other artists in the same lane?
R&B has been very snoozing. I will say this respectfully; Quiet Storm is a part of R&B. However, we’ve got way too much of that, and we lost the rhythm in rhythm and blues, and that’s why I’m here. I’m bringing the bops back. R&B is rhythm and blues, it’s soul music, and it’s based on soul, but there isn’t a reason why it shouldn’t be jumping and being played in the clubs. I also don’t just talk about crying subjects. Do you know what I’m saying? Let’s go outside, let’s get dressed, let’s get motivated, let’s fill ourselves and be confident: that’s what I bring to R&B for sure.
What was it like collaborating with artist 504?
It was a blessing, and it was organic. He wanted to get on the record, and I was surprised but delighted, and it worked out. He was very professional and serious about his work.
How do you want your fans and new listeners to feel when experiencing your Music?
I want them to feel bossed up. I want them to feel like they are that girl or that guy. My lyrics are very motivational, you know? Yes, it’s a bop, funky, and, you know, maybe feels sexy at times, but my lyrics are very talk-yo-ish, and that’s what I want people to feel when they are listening to my Music. I never want them to be bored or feel sorry for themselves ever.
When it comes to fashion, you have an undeniable sense of style and confidence. Who are some of your favorite brands? And if you could collaborate with the fashion house, who would it be and why?
Oh man, that’s tough. You know everything is a mood, so it depends on what the mood is. I’m all about being out of the box and pushing boundaries with style and having fun. I believe as an entertainer; it’s part of my job to be in alignment with people’s imaginations and not their reality. So I think fashion should reflect that. It should reflect the imagination and living, walking, and breathing art.
If you could describe your style in three words, what would it be?
I describe my style in three words as being fearless, funky, and one-of-a-kind or unique.
And lastly, with 2023 approaching close, what’s next for Laya, and when can we expect more Music and visuals?
All of that will be coming. Everything you can expect. New Music, new vibes, new visuals, a whole new chapter. In 2023, it’s going to be my year, baby, if you didn’t know. So definitely new Music and everything. I will be putting out a new EP, so if you like the first one, you will love the next one.