Ever since the Montreal singer/songwriter known as laye floated onto the scene with four singles last year—including likefck and goldfinger—she’s been dropping hints of what’s to come via her social feeds. That’s all out in the open now with the release of her debut album, lonesome, on July 26 via Sony Music Canada.
The hints indeed represented the epic undertaking it took to produce lonesome, a four-year process that had laye travelling to New York, LA, and Toronto to work with a slew of legendary pop and hip-hop producers. The list includes Lauren Christy (G-Eazy, Dua Lipa), Federico Vindver (Jennifer Lopez, Lauryn Hill, FNZ, G-Eazy, A$AP Rocky), Ben Harrison & Ibrahim Asmar (Rihanna, Rita Ora), Mike Wise (Ellie Goulding, Chainsmokers, Upsahl, Allie X), Alex Hope (Troye Sivan), Pomo (Mac Miller, Anderson.Paak) and Joel Stouffer (bülow, Dragonette).
Armed with this crew of sonic heavyweights, laye has curated a collection of sounds for lonesome that boldly represents her ambition, namely to change the pop game. It’s a goal that tracks like sicker seem to effuse, effortlessly. As one of lonesome’s jewel-in-crown single’s, sicker brings together some of laye’s signature soundscapes. From skeletal yet immersive drum patterns to bass-heavy 90s trip-hop and light touches of trap, the multi-textured song vacillates between being a song of self-reflection and a party jam.
It’s exactly this depth and range that secured laye a prime slot at Montreal’s Osheaga Festival on Aug. 3, a gig that is set to be a career-defining performance for the artist. Find out more at layemusic.com.
What was the process of making lonesome like for you?
It was very different than I would have imagined. I used to think that the making of my first album would be very structured and thematic but since this album is a mesh of my work over the past three years or so it hasn’t been exactly that. But in an interesting way it does still tell a story, for me personally, because these past three years have been huge periods of growth, and I can see it and hear it, listening back to the songs on this project, because I was at very different stages of my life for the making of each song. It’s an album that represents my own growth to me.
What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?
This is hard to answer because again, the songs were made and spread out over the past few years so they each are moments that are special to me and it changes a lot. [The song] better is and has remained one of my favourites, sonically and melodically, and I like the story it tells. [The song] more would be the most personal and private track that I wrote on this record, so that one holds a spot at the top and makes me nervous. haventhadlove is one of the oldest ones that I wrote on this album and it was so relevant to me when I wrote it so it continues to bring me back to that place when I sing it live. It really does change a lot—they all feel like different parts of me.
How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?
I think it’s been a journey of really embracing myself, it’s like I’ve always known who I am as an artist and a person, but when you’re expressing it through art it gets altered, or it’s hard to show fully. I’m growing into the part of me that is more self-assured in the way I want to be seen and let the “me” that has always been there show more.
What's been the biggest change in your life over the past year?
Making music has been one of the biggest changes. I’ve met so many people now that I am lucky to have met and I’m able to create endlessly when not so long ago I was at a loss as to where to go to make music. It would just be me and my guitar or piano and I wouldn’t be able to take it further, although now I’m trying to be more self-sufficient and get into production a bit.
What do you recall about your first time performing in public?
Being absolutely terrified. It was a small talent show, and I remember being in the girls’ washroom beforehand and hearing other girls singing and practicing and it completely psyched me out. I was around 10 years old and very nervous. I remember I was crying and begging not to go up on that stage, but I had already committed to it. It’s crazy because it’s a feeling that I felt up until not too long ago, this overwhelming stage fright. I needed to make myself do open mic nights to get over it or to at least become more comfortable with it. It’s not the normal nerves; I can differentiate when I’m feeling a normal nervousness before going on stage and then that feeling that I felt at that show. Everything in your body shuts down while at the same time everything in your body is alive and panicking and you can’t breathe or think straight, and then you start overthinking and panicking because of it, and it’s just this whole cycle you can’t break. There are still moments where it hits me as it did then, but I’ve grown to love performing now, and I’m still learning a lot about who I am as a performer, but I find it fun.