LAYA is a woman of many talents. The Staten Island, New York native is a singer, songwriter, producer, creative director and visual artist. Her creativity collides in her music, which has a decidedly ’90s vibe with a modern twist. After grinding for years and making a name for herself, she caught the attention of Warner Records who recently reissued her independent EP Um, Hello as her debut project on the label. To complement the release, LAYA has released a trio of videos since February for Um, Hello tracks “Brag,” “Crazy Down” and “On Sight.”
“Brag” finds LAYA teaming up with rapper Fivio Foreign to put people on notice about her come up. She did the work and now she’s talking her ish over a booming, speaker-rattling beat. “I don’t wanna brag too fast / I don’t wanna brag when I get the big bag,” she confidently sings on the catchy chorus. Fivio later slides through with a braggadocious verse of his own.
The “Brag” visualizer brings traditional high school photos to life. The clip begins with a yearbook opened to two pages of senior portraits of her friends and colleagues’ Photoshopped faces. The camera lands on LAYA’s smiling photograph, and she begins to sing. She continues singing in framed photos of her as a decorated athlete holding trophies and a bouquet of roses, as the prom queen to Fivio’s rapping prom king and in a double exposure image of her dressed in a cap and gown.
“Crazy Down” is about LAYA shooting her shot at someone she has her eye on. It borrows a little something from two tried and true ’90s R&B hits – Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down” and Missy Elliott’s “Crazy Feelings” featuring Beyoncé. This song is anchored by a slow, slinky synthesized beat and a moody keyboard melody. This gives LAYA space to flex and display her sassy vocals as she pursues with lyrics like, “Cuz when I catch you look at me / It makes me feel sexy / And I think about it every night and day / And I cannot get you out my brain.”
In the visual for “Crazy Down,” we see LAYA sitting in the palm of a woman’s hand against a wavy purple background. Initially, the lighting is dim with only her silhouette visible, but once she starts singing she emerges from the shadows. She changes positions while in the hand – alternating between sitting cross-legged and laying on her back – and we see close-up shots of her mouth. The visual then switches to a red filter and LAYA’s silhouette returns to dance seductively, bringing to mind the viral Silhouette Challenge that had TikTok in a tizzy last year. The video closes out as we hear her confidently declare, “I know you ain’t never had nothing like this.”
The track “On Sight” has LAYA getting assertive with her love interest. Right from the jump, she lets her intentions be known as she lyrically pulls up on him. “All I wanna do is set the mood / And kick it with you / But I know that when we’re alone / There’s a couple things I wanna do with you,” she sings during the first verse before making it plain on the chorus. “I want it on sight, baby / On sight, no lie.”
The music video for “On Sight,” directed by Tashi X KZA, takes the viewer into a little virtual reality. In the opening scene, we see a man on the phone arguing with his girlfriend who accuses him of cheating before she hangs up. The doorbell rings, and he opens the door to find a colorful box with the words LAYA VERSE and ON SIGHT displayed on it. He opens the box to find a pair of virtual reality goggles. As he puts them on, his mind is blown when he gets a glimpse of LAYA and she performs just for him. They get close in the LAYA VERSE, and his virtual reality session turns into a fulfilling fantasy.
We see and hear why Warner Records scooped LAYA up. She brings it musically, lyrically and visually with a sound and style that is both retro and futuristic. After you watch her entertaining videos for “Brag,” “Crazy Down and “On Sight” above, listen to her EP Um, Hello below. While you’re in a LAYA mood, be sure to follow her on Instagram and Twitter.