Ilaye is an alternative, R&B, singer/songwriter born in the southern part of Nigeria, growing up amidst sea-food lovers. She wrote her first song when she was eight years old, and has been writing verses and hooks about random and intentional topics ever since. On October 5 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’ 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.
How long have you known you could sing?
Ilaye: I figured I could sing when I was about 7/8 yrs old. I would sing at home, in school, in church and people seemed to really like it.
Is Ilaye a pseudonym? If so, why did you choose this name?
Ilaye: No, it isn’t. I wish it was. That would have been so cool. It is actually a middle name that never made it to my birth certificate. The story I was told, was that it was given to me after the certificate was signed. I chose it for my stage name because I love it.
What was the deciding factor that made you pursue a professional career?
I’ve always known I wanted to pursue music professionally but I didn’t know how or when. Until 2017. I lost my mom and it sort of pushed me into this do-it-now-not-later phase and I just started.
When I first heard your first single “Binoculars,” it reminded me of alt-rock/folk music, it was filled with emotion and took me on a journey, how were you feeling when you made that song?
I remember the day I made Binoculars like I remember my phone number. Lol. I was feeling very isolated and jaded for a lot of reasons. I’d also eaten too much and I was singing and the result of that was Binoculars.
What brought your latest project “Sixth Sense” together thematically in your ideation process?
A bunch of things, but mostly I’d say the need to express emotions. For me, that was the thought that started the process and it stayed in the middle of all the work we put in. Like with the composition, the writing, the asset, the colours and texture; I wanted to demonstrate abstract sensations like love, hurt, confidence, regret, etc, as superior to the other shit you can see or touch or taste; and the talented people I worked with made it easier to bring all that together.
I get some pleasant whimsical vibes from your songs, is there a certain feeling you look to channel while recording music?
Thank you. There’s never one particular feeling I try to channel. It’s a whole palette and the vibe changes from time to time. I just roll with it. But one thing’s for sure, it’s always the right kind of vibe.
Can you give our readers an idea of the kind of artist you ultimately strive to be?
The kind that knows their onions, like I want to be recognized for understanding my shit, especially with songwriting. The kind that shows up, does the work and is present when they need to be but also prioritizes their mental health. The kind that lends their voice for the greater good and is genuinely supportive of others but not an ass kisser. The kind that improves on their craft and secures the bag, always.
Who are some of your favorite artists/bands?
Cannons, MGMT, Lorde, SAINt JHN, Kids At Midnight, Young Thug, Daughter, The Cavemen, Post Malone, Vancouver Sleep Clinic, Delilah Montagu.
Can you put us on to some female artists on your radar you think more people should know?
Yinka Oshodi, SGaWD, Merry-Lynn, Rindss. I think they’re fucking special.
Any words to your listeners who’ve stuck and continue to stick with you?
Thank you so much for supporting. There are a lot more exciting things on the way. Keep running up the numbers and spreading the word and being amazing.