NMV Sit Down: Lajé
R&B singer, songwriter Lajé talks about her upcoming mixtape, performing live and being vulnerable within your music.
NMV was able to catch up with the blossoming vocalist as she readies new visuals and a mixtape for 2019.
SM: Steven Mainzer
SM: Lajé how’s it going, what are you up to these days?
Lajé: Well, things are going really well. I am in the midst of working on an EP which I will be releasing next month and I’m also working on a few more videos with Ryder Visuals at the moment.
SM: Can you tell us a little bit about the EP?
Lajé: The EP is just going to be like a sampler of what is to come for the mixtape. I’m still working on the mixtape as well, but I have enough songs to pick like six songs to give people while they wait. There will be a lot of R & B/soulful songs and a lot of love songs. And a couple songs I’ve already released visuals for like, “Woman of the Earth” and “Dash”.
SM: Your video “Dash” got some buzz around the city. How did that video come about with Ryder Visuals?
Lajé: He works with a lot of my friends who are also artists. I like his work and my engineer is close friends with him. We were talking about videographers that would be a good fit for the song and I knew his work, so I hit him up and we got to work.
SM: How has performing live shows lately helped your momentum at the end of this year?
Lajé: My shows have helped because I have gained a lot of followers performing live. I leave each show with at least 15 new followers and it’s about getting comfortable performing my music in front of crowds. I’ve gained over 1,000 followers on Instagram since releasing the visual for “Woman of the Earth” in May, and performing live has played a huge part in that. It helps people to see more of your personality and be able to relate more with you as an individual.
SM: What is next for Lajé going into 2019?
Lajé: I have a lot more visual work coming and there will be a mixtape coming in the spring. That’s about it for now. I’m just working hard on the mixtape. I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes work and plotting so I can release more new visual work before the mixtape to generate buzz so people will be paying attention when the mixtape drops.
SM: I’m glad to hear that you are dropping a mixtape, the art of mixtape seems to be lost in a way. What drew you to do that?
Lajé: Well, I know a lot of people love the EP’s and everything and have short attention spans but I just been working on a lot of new music that I really want to present to the world and I think by the time the mixtape is ready -- I think the people will be ready to receive it. I just got a lot of work to show.
SM: What got you into music in the first place?
Lajé: Ever since I was a kid I was always into it, I just always loved music, all types really. I would be in a room listening to classical music and all types of music would inspire me.
SM: What did you listen to specifically growing up?
Lajé: I had my favorites, I’d say up until sixth grade I was really into 90s and early 2000s R&B, like Destiny’s Child, Usher and Aaliyah, etc. But I also use to listen to a lot of Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Panic! at the Disco and my mom listened to a lot of gospel music. All types of stuff,really.
SM: How has Chicago helped shape your sound?
Lajé: I wouldn’t really say that it has at all. None of my favorite artists are from Chicago. As a teenager I wouldn’t say I was introverted, but I spent a lot of time to myself. A lot of my peers did not listen to or enjoy the same music that I listened to. Aside from my experiences growing up here, I can’t say that Chicago has really influenced my sound at all.
SM: Any dream collaborations?
Lajé: Yes! There’s a newer artist coming up, Summer Walker, HER, Frank Ocean and I would love to have some sort of creative direction from Usher. He’s been one of my favorite artist since I was a kid.
SM: Favorite thing to do away from music.
Lajé: Sleep, cooking and meditation. So I work a lot. If I’m not working, I do hair on the side and I like to go to the gym. Other than that if I’m not doing music I’m doing one of those 3 things. Also, spending time with my friends and family is important to me. They are my biggest supporters and it’s nice to surround myself with genuine loving energy.
SM: Any advice to up and coming artists?
Lajé: Be yourself and don’t be afraid to be different. Express your emotions and don’t be afraid to fully express your emotions because I know a lot of people are afraid to be vulnerable in their music. I know that from me being vulnerable -- writing all the pain and even the pleasures that I go through, it is just an amazing outlet. It helps to release a lot of emotional weight from my shoulders. Just say exactly what you’re going through and don’t worry how people will take it or perceive it. Dress the way you want to and kick it with who you want to. People will have their own perception of who you are anyway, so you might as well do and say what you want. Authenticity will win every time. Don’t chase the clout, let the clout chase you.