Photo Credits: Luis Garcia
What does your song “White Widow” mean to you? What are you trying to tell your listeners?*
Layla: “White Widow” started as a subpar diss track to my college roommates after a trivial disagreement, but as I played with it more and more, the song began digging deeper into what I was personally dealing with at the time. If you really read into the lyrics, they reveal a lot more about my private life than I’d like to admit! Today, the song is a personal reminder of the dangers of self-medicating; it’s really a cautionary tale for myself.
In your song “White Widow,” listeners can hear you mention three colors: black, red, and white. What are these colors supposed to represent?
Layla: I love this question! The “black widow” represents a very intrusive, dreadful memory, and the “red widow” is the enduring, trauma-related guilt associated with said memory; their recurring emergence impels the speaker to, almost instinctively, use the last of her White Widow stash to numb herself from the ever-present black and red widows (trauma and regret) that she can’t bear to live with.
How does being Iranian and American affect the way you create your music? Were you raised around both American and Iranian music or what types of genres did your family introduce you to?
Layla: Absolutely! Growing up with both Persian and American music has empowered me to take more chances and tap into multiple genres within a single song. A lot of the songs that I’m writing at the moment have a Middle Eastern flare to them, and I look forward to exploring more of that Persian influence in the studio. Now that I have my first album recorded, which feels very authentic to me and my pure love of rock, I feel more open to experimenting with different sounds from my upbringing and fusing that with rock.
In the music industry, if you could work with anyone, who would it be and why?
Layla: Oh, this is a tough one! I can’t pick just one! It would either be Iggy Pop or Dave Grohl. I absolutely admire Iggy Pop—he’s the godfather of punk, and I think he’s been a lot more influential over so many different rock and pop artists through the decades than he’s given credit for. I think he’s an incredibly talented songwriter, yet so underrated, and I’d give anything to write with him. I’d also love to work with Dave Grohl because he’s such a strong advocate for young artists and keeping rock a relevant genre. Nirvana has also been one of my favorite bands since I was 12 years old, so working with him has been on my mind forever!
Photo Credits: Luis Garica
As someone who studied psychology and has a passion for bringing awareness to mental health issues, how are you working to achieve those goals? Are there any big projects in the future you hope to be working on?
Layla: Most of my songs are about my own experiences with mental health, but there are times when I try to write from a hypothetical perspective outside of myself. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything, and I will only ever really know mental health as far as my own experience goes, but I’ll always try to educate myself on other mental health issues. Studying psychology has helped me better articulate my interest in mental health and learn about others’ experiences with it. The most I can do is try to understand and perhaps write a song about the things I can comprehend, in hopes that it will resonate with someone. It’s exciting to see mental health finally being included in more public conversations, but I believe there still needs to be more attention given to those who have been historically underrepresented.
You are currently recording your debut album with Grammy Award-winning producer Josh “igloo” Monroy, how exciting! Do you want to tell listeners what they can expect to hear from this new album?
Layla: People can expect to rock the f*** out!
Interviewed By Sophia E. Henry