Ilaye is an alternative, R&B singer/songwriter.
Born in the southern part of Nigeria, Ilaye grew up amidst sea-food lovers.
She wrote her first song when she was eight years old, and she has been writing verses and hooks about random and intentional topics ever since. On October 5th 2019, she released her debut body of work, ‘Pneuma’; a 6-track EP where she tells stories about her mental and emotional state with past and present scenarios and references.
Her second project title ‘Sixth Sense’ which features Lady Donli and Show Dem Camp was released on the 17th of June, 2021. Sixth Sense is representative of internal senses; love, self-awareness, confidence, regret, euphoria, etc.
Ilaye intends to keep writing and singing about the world she understands and ultimately build an invisible space for her listeners where they can always lose and find themselves in her music.
We recently caught up the artiste and had a conversation surrounding her art.
Hello Ilaye, Good evening, how do you feel tonight?
Ilaye: Hey, I feel great. Thank you
We really should begin at the beginning. Did you have aby definitive event in your childhood that made you want to be an artiste?
I don’t think there was one definitive moment. It was a series of events like singing at school and home. But I remember wanting it a bit more when it started to become all I could think about. Also watching Bob Marley’s memorial tape and seeing Lauryn Hill perform was one of those moments. I’m generally motivated by how happy it makes me and how happy it makes the people who listen to the music.
Your debut EP, ‘Pneuma‘, was released in 2019. Since then you’ve progressed as an artiste, coming out now with yet another EP. What has been your biggest learning from your first EP roll out? As an artist, how do you feel you’ve grown since that first EP?
I’m definitely more open to experimenting. I’ve always been a lover of all genres but I thought I was only capable of making music in a couple. But I’ve learnt that that’s false. I’m also more calculative and intentional. My biggest lesson so far would be enjoying the moments as they happen and just having fun with the process.
Sixth Sense, your sophomore project, was released on the 17th of June this year. You’ve consistently hinted that the idea behind the project was to create a project that reflects love, self-awareness and bare emotions. Can you share more insights into why you think it is important to thematise your project with these feelings?
I think the songs on the EP explains all that perfectly. They express all those emotions and more. I think as humans, it’s not always easy or fun to say exactly how we’re feeling. Whether we like someone, or regret something or are proud of ourselves and our achievements. But it’s okay to say those things out loud. It helps actually. It’s healthy, and the EP is my way of normalizing that for myself and anyone else who struggles with sharing.
What was the inspiration for the project’s first single, “Figment”? How do you think it prepares listeners for the rest of the collection?
Figment is a song I wrote about loving someone who leaves but you can’t stop loving. But from almost like an upbeat, psycho perspective. Like you can go but I’ll still be here loving you and I’m good with that. It sets the tone cos the whole tape is like little bits of confessions. And that’s one of the hardest things to admit. Like how are you over here still loving someone who’s gone or who’s forgotten about you? But it happens.
On tracks like “Yktv” with Lady Donli and “Regardless”, you sang about embracing heartbreaks and regaining self confidence. Are these songs born out of personal experiences in your previous relationship(s)?
Yes they are. They’re generally about most of the things I’ve learnt so far in my journey as a person and as an artiste.
One thing that must be said is that you harness a very soulful and surreal voice. Do you have a vocal-care routine?
Thank you. I sing everyday. That’s mostly how I care for it. I do vocal exercises every now and then too.
Putting the ‘influences’ question in a different way, If you could only listen to 5 Artistes (asides yourself) for the rest of your life who would they be and why?
Michael Jackson. Could never get tired of the way his voice makes me feel. Lorde, cos she gets it, always. SiR, cos the music feels raw and authentic. Jessie Reyez for all the same reasons. Frank Ocean cos he got it too.
What does the rest of 2021 look like for Ilaye?
Good things. Yktv. Just keep supporting and listening to Sixth Sense.
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