We recently caught up with the inspiring and talented singer from Switzerland, Leyla who is working on her new single ‘Onyx’ to be released later this year -and she was also happy to share some of her other influences in music. Here is what she had to share with the readers:
Please introduce yourself to the readers and how you first got into music:
My name is Leyla and I am originally from Switzerland, where I grew up. I believe in love, compassion, unity and equality, which are the core elements of my own unique brand of music called Yoga Pop. I believe that there is a light within all of us and I hope to inspire people to embrace who they are, to let their gift pour into this world and let their truth shine -so that we can collectively transform the world for the better. My love for music has led me to continuously explore and learn as much as possible about the power of sound. At a certain point in my journey, I was asked to make a message regarding my musical offering. I realized that I wanted to help build a bridge between spirituality and pop music. I then searched to understand what makes pop music healing and how to utilize sound healing tools to create conscious/restorative pop music, my Yoga Pop.
Since a young age, I would dress up in my grandmothers accessories, acting and singing in her living room. I used to watch musical movies, memorize and recreate those songs and blast Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey songs in my room. As long as I can remember, I loved to sing. As a teenager I started writing songs at the piano which has been my favorite instruments and conducted friends in ‘my choir’. My first song was called Why Are You So Beautiful which is funny to me now and my English was very simple. Later on I started working, co-writing and recording house/pop songs with a Swiss music producer and released my first singles. Further down the road, I was accepted into a performing arts school which was the reason for my move to New York.
Who or what were some of your influences growing up?
Musically my biggest musical influences were Whitney Houston and I especially loved One Moment in Time, Mariah Carey/Hero, Lauren Hill and Céline Dion but I also loved to listen to Jazz and I’m a big fan of Etta James.
What kind of training have you had, if any?
I have been trained in classical piano for about 10 years and graduated from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Music Theatre performance (voice, acting, singing) and did an international dance program at Broadway Dance Center New York. Later on, I got a Voice Teacher Certification from New York Vocal Coaching/Justin Stoney -to learn more about the power of Music and energy healing and in order to implement that into my songs, I also got certified in Sound Healing, as Reiki Master and Kundalini Yoga teacher. I love to study and learn as many new things as possible.
As an artist, what has been your favorite project to work on so far?
I loved to develop my music brand Yoga Pop — I had to really dig deep into my own core beliefs, what I stand for, what I want to convey to the audience and what my purpose is, so that I could align everything that I do with that core message. It was interesting to see the feedback from people about my music and very gratifying that people received the intention behind it without telling them. It taught me that if you really do the core work, it will show.
What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?
I had a great experience working on the music video for ‘Legion of Light’ which was filmed at Dreamland Studios once St. John’s Church built in 1986 in Upstate New York. It’s an acoustically gorgeous recording studio with colored stainless windows and an amazing grand piano. Dreamland has played host to many artists such as Fleet Foxes and Feist. For Legion Of Light I was also able to record with Scott Jacoby who is a Grammy award winner and has worked with numerous artists in various genres including Coldplay, Janelle Monáe, Jason Mraz and John Legend, etc. Legion Of Light then got picked up by the music licensing company Noma music in LA. I was also very lucky to be set up for songwriting collaborations with amazing songwriters from Los Angeles including Aimée Proal (Joe Cocker, Haley Reinhart, Kelly Clarkson) and Phil Bentley (Seal, David Guetta, Jordin Sparks) which taught me so much as a writer.
If you had a chance to work alongside anybody who would that be?
I would love to work with Oprah Winfrey, maybe somehow in connection with Yoga Pop which I believe would appeal to her sensibility. In her latest book, The Path Made Clear, Oprah shares what she sees as a guide for activating your deepest vision of yourself, offering the framework for creating not just a life of success, but one of significance.
What have you learned most about this business?
You need to be persistent and disciplined to succeed but also knowing who you are is important. While it is crucial to be open to learn, improve and accept constructive criticism, at the same time you must know what you stand for and stay true to yourself.
What projects do you have coming up?
I have been working on the creation of a new workshop Find Your Voice which is a workshop series using Yoga Pop music and mantras. My collaborator is Hannah Ezzel, who is a storyteller, filmmaker, poet, artist teacher and photographer. Through storytelling, meditation, and song, Find Your Voice, allows participants to connect with their individuality and authenticity, to bring this into the world through creativity and expression. It is unique in it’s fusion of meditation, art, and performance designed to bring music back to it’s healing roots, and to empower self expression through song. I also have been working on my single Onyx which will be released as part of a compilation music project.
What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?
Life is a journey — stay true to who you are and your vision, believe in yourself and dream big! Invest in good training/coaches that help you to improve your craft with a solid technique, so that you can be the best version of yourself.