May 10, 2024 | 0 COMMENTS

HAYLA, one of the most recognized songwriter-vocalists in electronic dance music, is most commonly known for her collaborative tracks like “Where You Are” with John Summit and “Escape” with Kx5 (deadmau5 and Kaskade). Gaining over 100 million streams with both tracks and holding the title for one of the biggest dance records of 2023, HAYLA strengthens her musical craft beyond her moments of success and self-doubt to find the true meaning along this path of alchemizing emotions into writing lyrics.

As an artist singing for all to feel less alone with her heartfelt lyrics, her new solo track “Embers” accomplishes just that. Famous for combining beauty, ferocity, and vulnerability in her voice, “Embers” is one new release out of many to come along with other projects this 2024. I, Mary Mason, on the behalf of iHeartRaves, collected HAYLA’s jewels of wisdom: giving oneself the license to experiment, the meaning behind the song lyrics in “Embers”, and the life lessons which motivate her to seek true expression while at this year’s Electronic Dance Music Awards

iHR: Thank you so much for your time! It’s an honor to interview you, especially under these circumstances being here at the EDMAs! How do you feel after your performance? 

HAYLA: Singing is my favorite thing to do, so honestly, I was honored when they asked me to perform here at the EDMAs! It’s my first time in Miami and to be surrounded by this, I had a few moments where I had my eyes opened to the amazing area–the setting is incredible. The audience sang along and danced a little bit too! It was an early performance and really cool! 

iHR: How did you prepare for this performance since performing for the EDMAs can be different from any other club or festival appearance?

HAYLA: I knew we had the time slot that we did. I knew the tracks I wanted to perform were the collaborations I had before: the crowd-pleasers, but I love singing those songs. You write and perform them, but seeing people sing them, I think that connective part is the best part. I also wanted to perform some of my own music, so I performed my upcoming single “Embers”.

iHR: Speaking of “Embers”, with lyrics: “Fire burn in the darkness/ Take a breath/ Fill my lungs with you/ Memories of us/ See the embers of dust and it all fell apart”. Can you tell me more about the meaning behind them? 

HAYLA:Embers” was written with my good friend Martin Mason MIles and produced by the amazing MotherEarth. I wrote this song about being able to burn everything that reminds you of a person to ashes except that tiny ember that won't let anything other than time put it out. 

iHR: What was your favorite part of the process when filming the music video for your collaborative track with John Summit, “Shiver”? 

HAYLA: It was an incredible day! I’ve never been on a big set like that before. Seeing the inner-workings of how something like that works and seeing the set is what makes it incredible. It was great to see the amount of people who knew what they were doing and moving to the speed of things. Obviously, me and John are friends now which made it fun to be on set together; he’s so lovely. 

iHR: With that, you and John Summit create an otherworldly duo, what is your favorite thing about working with him?

HAYLA: Thank you! I think he has a euphoric way of producing. I feel like all of his drops and chord sequences make it atmospheric. Because the sound is always so vast, but it allows my vocal to breathe as well. I think when you’re working with producers you try to make sure no part gets. He’s kept the integrity of my vocal which I appreciate. It’s just so fun to sing along because it's like that big sound like the music behind us now is doing. He’s just a great producer, he has a great ear, and I feel like it’s emotional as well.

iHR: Which female singers inspired you to become the powerful vocalist you are today? 

HAYLA: Whitney Houston! Definitely! I was obsessed! The first musical thing I ever had was The Bodyguard on tape. I used to have this Fisher Price karaoke machine when I was four-years-old and I used to sit there, play it, and reverse it. I have a recording of it, it’s actually hilarious! Whitney was my #1 idol, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand–quite a few of artists I grew up listening to with my parents. We always listened to music constantly; they’re not musicians themselves but it was a massive part of my life growing up. I think I just latched on, especially because my mom and I would sing together. We still do! 

iHR: Congratulations on all of your well-deserved EDMA nominations and awards! How has this recognition and impact of the awards made you feel? 

HAYLA: I think it’s incredible! I’m so grateful to have the recognition! It means a lot! I had an interview and didn’t realize I had won at first. The recognition isn’t lost on me, so It really does mean a lot! 

iHR: 2023 was a pivotal year for your discography, what helped you stay motivated to create? 

HAYLA: That’s a really good question actually! I think you can have those bouts of doubt. I felt like I had a creative role,  a few things to say and get off my chest. The nice thing about writing is it can sometimes be like a diary. So, you might write something and it may not look like anything at all. Then, you piece it together like a jigsaw puzzle–a diary but a crossword. 

iHR: As a writer, it reminds me of some lines/song lyrics mattering more than others. 

HAYLA: Yeah! Kind of like: what’s that? I’m feeling that but what about it sticks out? Maybe this line is more relatable to others, maybe it can help people feel less alone and not on their own. This year, I definitely like I had a lot more to say as an artist. It doesn’t always happen because you can have those moments like: oh, shit, I guess I have nothing to say here. But, I felt like there was more to say! I feel as if I’m in control of my mind a bit more. HAYLA points to her head. Write, please! 

iHR: I love your festival fashion so much because I am a HUGE fan of black, latex, leather, anything that emulates dominatrix fashion. What inspires your choice of performance outfits? 

HAYLA: I’ve always loved the gothic-alternative look. Black is my favorite color. I choose what I wear by feeling a lot of the time. All of my clothes are black, so how am I going to choose? I was experimenting a little bit and I felt like I wasn’t elevating myself to the level I wanted to be at. So, I found Beau Tiger Rae who is my amazing stylist that I’ve been working with. He’s given me a license to experiment. I was experimenting and I was wondering is that for me? He said, “Yes, it’s for you. Why wouldn’t it be for you?”. Dressing up is fun and it’s for everybody! I think it’s an extension of expressing the self! He’s given me more license especially because he finds me pieces and he’ll ask, “Would you wear that? I think you’ll look good in it.” I try the fashion piece on and I think: I should have always had this. I’ve always loved fashion, leather, and latex. I have a pair of Doc Martens I’ve had for as long as I can remember; they’re battered and beaten up, but I am never getting rid of them. My expression has been elevated a little bit more now. 

iHR: It’s wonderful to hear you and your stylist are allowing for more creative freedom even in this aspect of your self-expression because I think allowing creative freedom can spread to other parts of your artistry. 

HAYLA: It’s funny actually because I feel like it’s a tidbit of feeling more daring like yeah, I’m going to do that. Yeah, I’m going to wear that. And, feel comfortable in it! I feel like I’ve given myself license in other ways as well. 

iHR: You’ve curated almost 10 years of your discography, is there a part of your artistic expression you’d like to change or strengthen?  

HAYLA: Oh, my gosh, yes! I’ve always played musical instruments to a degree where I form an understanding, but I don’t push myself further with it. I really want to become better at playing piano because I would love to be able to show that to people. Also, playing guitar. I need to get over being freaked-out about showing people that! I’ve developed more confidence in other areas like writing in who I am as HAYLA–that side that people see. Other things I wished I had taken more time and care in cultivating. I still have hurdles to chip down, I think my mission should focus on trying to get over those hurdles and stick to something, so I can be more multifaceted as well. I’d like to write my completely own stuff without relying on anybody else. I love working with other people, but I’d like to be more self-sufficient. 

iHR: It’s admirable and inspiring that you show a lot of grace with this concept of confidence as a process. 

HAYLA: It’s funny because some people expect confidence to fully be present sometimes. At times, confidence can show up depending on the day, the mood, feelings, emotions. It’s a total process! There are times where you’re not feeling great, but you still have to take an hour to listen to your favorite music and take deep breaths to get yourself centered. 

iHR: I’m curious, what is a recurring life lesson you keep learning? 

HAYLA: I’ve doubted myself so much throughout my life about loads of things. I know everyone does. I’m a terrible overthinker, my God, if I could turn that off I would. I think in the past if I second-guessed myself, I was putting it off for no reason. It’s like you against what your anxious mind is telling you not to do, it’s there to prove yourself wrong and going forward and thinking like why can’t this space be for me? Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I wear this? Why can’t do those things? In the most healthy way, it’s kind of like giving myself the excuse to do it anyway! 

iHR: What is next in store for you this year?

HAYLA: I have been working on an album; it’s nearly done. I think we’re looking at November for the release date hopefully. I’m really looking forward to that! There’s a few collaborations as well that I can’t say anything about just yet. Maybe some gigs and touring at the end of the year. 

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