Interview: "Broken Pieces" - Leyla Diamondi
Your vocals in “Broken Pieces” are absolutely phenomenal, I got chills listening to it for the first time. Thank you for a beautiful song that helps to reduce some of the societal stigma surrounding issues of mental health. Could you share how important this song is to you, and what you hope your listeners take away from it?
Leyla: When I was writing Broken Pieces I was in a very dark place. The process of writing this song allowed me to find a lot of freedom. I never intended on releasing the single however my loved ones persuaded me to do so. I hope people use the song in any way that benefits them.
Your YouTube ‘About’ section indicates that your heritage is half-Greek and half-Turkish and that you were named after your grandmother. What other ways has your cultural background and/or family influenced your art and worldviews?
Leyla: For those who don’t know, Turkey and Greece have a long-standing cultural and racial clash. When I was growing up I saw some people in my close circle that weren't too happy about my parents being together; however, I also saw how through awareness, exposure, and education their minds began to open and their views changed. This was a very important lesson for me growing up. I saw that the mind is flexible. We can unlearn life experiences and propaganda that we are taught. Most of us are just all trying to be safe and live a happy life. Most of us aren’t evil.
I love that you write your own songs, and your commentary indicates that real life is raw, messy, and unfiltered. What is your songwriting process like, and how do you ensure that you remain unfiltered and true to yourself when creating?
Leyla: A lot of women grow up learning to compromise their own needs in order to help others. I found that lesson translated into my work too. Compromising the depth of emotion in my artwork, compromising my live performance, compromising how authentically I communicate who I am. I’ve learnt not to compromise. Being completely honest is a superpower and if someone doesn’t like that, then my music and my art is not for them.
You’ve some rather prestigious career accomplishments thus far, including selling out your 2019 headliner act, being featured in Festival Fringe in 2020, and being interviewed/broadcasted on networks such as BBC Radio London. Most recently, you participated in the WARchild Charity virtual concert. Which of these experiences was the most memorable for you, and why?
Leyla: So far my most memorable experience was actually at the beginning. Still at university, I was terrified of performing, so my partner decided to help me book a tour. Every night he pushed me onto a stage to perform so I would lose my fear. There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of anxiety, but it worked and now I’m able to do the thing I love the most and share it with others.
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations and influences?
Leyla: I would say I am massively influenced by artists like Aretha Franklin, Etta James, and Michael Jackson. Their ability to be so raw and authentic is something I massively crave.
What’s coming next for you, what can listeners look forward to experiencing on your musical journey?
Leyla: I am trying to share my story on Instagram and TikTok through music. There is some very cool content coming out that I think the listeners may be excited to watch and listen to. I will also be releasing some music on Spotify, I’m currently in the creative process of that
Interviewed By Vanessa Siebrass