Known as the lead vocal of Brooklyn’s „The Skins“ band, Singer BAYLI is now taking the world by storm as a solo artist. We spoke to the exceptional American talent about her musical influences and inspirations, the content of her music and her recently released EP „Stories from New York“.
What does music mean to you?
Music is therapy to me. It feels very similar to writing thoughts down in your journal and then reading them back years later. The way I write is filled with lots of self-discovery and healing.
How did you discover that you are drawn to a music career?
The universe chose it for me! I was actually in fine arts school studying art history and curation when my band got invited out on our first national tour. If life had gone according to my plans, I would have been working at a museum somewhere right now, which would also be really cool!
How would you describe your music style?
I would describe it as timeless. Being a multi-faceted and trained musician, I’ve always thought the idea of boxing myself into one genre would be super limiting to what I might have to say as an artist, which is why if you listen to my new EP „stories from new york“, there are so different sonic moods and cadences on it.
What are your main inspirations for your music?
My city and the community I grew up in has always been, and still is, the biggest inspiration in my life. From the stories I was told about my family’s history to the new experiences I’ve had growing up, everything applies to my writing.
What inspired you to write „stories from new york“ and what is the story behind it?
„Stories from new york“ is almost a short personal memoir. It tells 6 different stories from 6 different perspectives and times in my life. Each song (or story) has their own unique mood and feeling. I wanted to create a concise project that could almost transport my listeners into each story. I’ve been through a lot at this point in my life and „stories from new york“ is just a glimpse into some of those experiences; It feels like a first chapter with more to come.
How did it feel to publish your debut EP?
I was actually so nervous! At the same time I had the best feeling in the world and I knew that it was going to be a project that the world needed and hopefully resonated with. Now only less than a week after release, I’ve never seen a more overt and positive reaction from my listeners and new ones who are just discovering my music.
What can we expect from you next?
More music. More art to provoke you.
What kind of music do you listen to personally, does it differ from your own music?
I listen to a wide range of music. I grew up listening to a mix of gospel, jazz, soul, and rock. When I was in my grandmother’s house I would listen to artists like Aretha Franklin and Gladys Knight and the Pips to Sarah Vaughn and Nat King Cole. My mother is a London girl, who grew up in the 70s and 80s, so she had a love for punk rock and post-punk artists like The Clash, The Stranglers and INXS. She also loved ska and reggae, because all of her chosen family in London was Caribbean, so we actively listened to Peter Tosh and the Marley’s. Lastly, my dad who is a born and raised New Yorker (American) grew up during the Hip-Hop revolution in NYC and educated us on KRS One and Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang, as well as disco and club music from a very young age. When I’m home, I like to feel at peace, so I listen to a lot of instrumental music and classical.
So to answer your question: I listen to almost everything. I am truly obsessed with all audio frequencies!
Who is and will forever be your all-time favorite artist?
All time favorite artist is so hard to choose! I am an Amy Winehouse stan. I mean, I have this woman’s name tattooed on my body. So I am going to go with Amy as my all time fave for now!
When it comes to musicians, whose style do you admire?
I love any artist who I can feel their realness and authenticity. I think being an artist is a privilege but it comes with some responsibility. My favorite artists, and the ones I think will have the longest impact on culture and society, are the ones that allow themselves to be vulnerable and challenge themselves and the listener through their work and otherwise if possible.
All Images: Courtesy of Bayli
Interview by Annika Duda