Looking at Laya in rebellious flat-forms and silver hair, you wouldn't necessarily expect the sweet vocals that she projects on her tracks - I almost expected her to be a rapper the first time I ever saw her shots, but it's that contrast of sensuality and strength that creates a new aged definition of femininity that I'm all here for. Laya LaRoché is head of her own brand ALLEY CVT GVNG and is affiliated with model turned singer LEAF's Magnetic Bitch Movement (MBM), but Laya's voice and lyrics are forging their own path for bad ass women to walk through. Get to know the Staten Island, NY native a little below and listen to the songs ya girl wants us to hear.
What would you like people to know about yourself?
"I love cats! Lol. I love them so much. When I tell people that they usually look at me funny. I don't care. They're amazing animals. So much so they inspired me to call my brand ALLEY CVT GVNG. An alley cat is free. Not owned by anyone. Free to come and go and live their life as they please. I have four cats currently, two of which I take on walks (on a leash) and trips to the park or beach. It almost goes without saying that I get all kinds of strange looks and questions but I don't mind it. My cats are so friendly and well behaved. They usually turn cat haters into cat lovers by the end of the day."
If you could choose a film and track that describes you, what would they be?
"If I had to choose a film to describe me it would definitely be "The Craft". I literally grew up in catholic school and always got in trouble for strange things like having a voodoo doll in my book bag or dying my hair black/painting my nails black (like that’s even a real offense). I loved the movie growing up because I could relate. I can't say that I've ever plotted to kill an ex-bestie with dark magic but esthetically it was my life!"
"As far as a track that describes me I'd have to say "Baddy" by Etta Bond. It’s so dynamic in its sound. It's heavy and digital, but soulful and deep all at the same time. The saxophone solo is one of my favorite parts. I feel it describes me because as soon as I heard it I connected to it as if it had spelled out all the details of my life."
Why do you create?
"How else would I LIVE if I didn't create?! I create because it is my outlet. My hair, my nails, my color choice of lipstick, my shoes, my thoughts, my lyrics, my music, my videos all tell a story about who I am in that moment. I create because creating is being human. I create because when I finish a project even if it so small as a doodle on a napkin I enjoy the pride that comes with it. Knowing that I took something from inside of me and made it manifest in the physical world so that I could share it with others makes me feel good."
Name the one place where you feel most creative?
"On the train or the bus. I get most of my ideas or hear lyrics and melodies in my head mostly when I'm traveling around the city. I always travel with my headphones and a few potential beats on my phone. I just let the music play in my ears and write down what comes to me. Sometimes sitting in a studio space in front of a computer doesn't inspire me much. I almost feel as though I have to reach back into my mind and soul for material. But when I'm moving around the city its almost effortless. I can just get lost into the music."
What accumulation of influences made you the artist that you are now?
"Oh, I've got quite a few. Selena, Missy Elliott, Brandy, Gorillaz, Destiny's Child, Green Jelly, Jazmine Sullivan, and Tyler, the Creator, just to name a few. They've all put all kinds of musical bugs in my ears that I feel as though you can hear pieces of in my music. Visually I've been the most influenced by Missy Elliott, Gorillaz, Green Jelly and Tyler, the Creator. They all produced vivid and creative videos and visual campaigns that made me excited to create my own. I love the soulful vocals and harmonies from artists like Brandy, Destiny's Child, and Jazmine Sullivan. I can sing along to their music all day! I love the mix between dark & strange, and sultry/soulful."
In her latest release we see Laya explore her spiritual side with the visuals for "Won't Be Long" as we're taken through a journey of self discovery, watch it below:
Choose any era you like - what would you bring back from that time?
"I would definitely choose the 1990's. I'd love to bring back out-of-this-world music videos! I loved how music videos in the 90's would take you to an entirely new world. Weather it was Hip-Hop or Rock music, the videos always took you to some sort of fantasy world. I miss that. I'd also love to bring back unity amongst female artists. I remember when you would often see female artists in urban music hanging together, featuring on each others albums, and even appearing for cameos in each others videos. It seemed like an elite collective of awesome black women who supported each other. And why wouldn't they all support each other? They were all amazing and unique in their own way. I'd definitely want to bring that back or be apart of it."
What would you like to see next for your career?
"I've got an EP coming out soon as well as a few more videos so for now the next step I'd like to make is to hit the festival circuit. My shows are insane and I bring tons of energy. The small venues aren't cutting it anymore. I need to be in front of people. I need to be seen. I need to be heard. Everything else will fall into place."