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Unearthed artists we like
In the world of modern music AYLA is a refreshing force. At once humble and unassuming, yet as an artist, she is daringly bold. Her brand of decadent pop, effortlessly combines otherworldly vocals with sharp-pop blows and multi-faceted production, all the while never underplaying deep lyrical sentiments.
While there’s no shortage of sophisticated pop in 2020, it’s a path Ayla’s led for some time. In 2014, at just 18-years of age, she released her debut single ‘Wish I Was’, which immediately gained attention with Australian radio. By the end of the year this debut single came in #15 on triple j’s most played songs of the year. The track also gained traction on European radio, resulting in a distribution deal with EGO Records in Italy (Emma Louise, The Jezabels) and a place on a remix EP, which has a total of 1.9 million listens on YouTube alone.
‘Wish I Was’ then featured on Ayla’s debut EP, along with two further singles, ‘Waiting’ and ‘When the World Ends’, which also picked up high rotation on triple j radio. A coveted ‘Like a Version’ session with the station later that year cemented Ayla’s place on the stage of the Australian Music scene.
Ayla has since performed at festivals including Big Pineapple, Festival of the Sun and Woodford Folk Festivals, as well as supporting some acclaimed acts including Kate Miller-Heidke, San Cisco, Kim Churchill and Asta. She also toured the country with her own headline shows.
In 2018, Ayla released her sophomore EP Let’s Talk Monday - featuring a track co-written with Glenn Sarangapany (Birds of Tokyo), and entirely produced by Sam Cromack (Ball Park Music) and mixed by Ian Pritchett (Boo Seeka). Three singles ‘Like the Other Kids’, ‘Shallow End’ and ‘Porcelain Doll’ all picked up strong triple j rotation and community radio play. Later that year Ayla performed debut overseas shows in London and The Netherlands, completed a 14 date regional headline tour and released a further single ‘Small Talk’.
While her restless output as an artist never ceased, in 2019 she shifted focus to other projects, singing in one and playing bass and adding backing vocals to another. Ayla explains that the hiatus was a somewhat deliberate pause to reflect and refresh.
“I think I really needed to take that little bit of time out initially, especially from playing my own music under my own name - it was all very personal and I think I needed some space from that for a time. Soon though, I became excited to dive back into my own project ('AYLA') and to explore some new sounds.”
However, the AYLA project was hardly idle during that time. In 2020 she returns with an arson of collaborations, ready to unleash at will. The collection of tracks have taken shape over the last few years that now naturally make sense in this new world of AYLA.
First off the mark is the delicate yet potent ‘Go Slow’, co-written and produced by Peking Duk’s Reuben Styles, the track projects an almost three-dimensional sound as it begs the listener on a journey that twists and turns, punctuated vividly by Ayla’s vivid, flawless vocals.
“‘Go Slow’ is definitely the first taste of a new era. It’s the first of the collaboration tracks that I'll be releasing, and showcases how the forthcoming tracks will be a blend of styles between the collaborators and my own. There is a bit of variety between the tracks to come, but this track felt like the right first step to make in that it is a fairly bold step away from my previous releases.
Reuben had the initial track idea that he sent through for me to topline, and then we developed the track further around that. The first verse came about when a friend of mine was sick, but she didn't want to get it checked out or to find out what it was. I guess the track is about being told something difficult, and how to deal with that; whether to run and where to hide - literally and metaphorically - and how/ if you can work through it.”
‘Go Slow’ marks a distinct shift in Ayla’s sound, partly due to the collaboration process, but also due to her evolution as an artist, and as a person. Taking all she has learnt in her career, she returns assured and remarkably inspired by the unconventional, the bold and the attitude of those unafraid to be themselves at whatever cost.