Lyla Illing speaks about upcoming single and musical influences

Lyla Illing is a South African-born musician based in New York City, and has aspirations of gaining international recognition with the release of her new single, Left To Cry, featuring Tedical.

Lyla Illing is currently preparing for the official release of her new single, Left To Cry, featuring Tedical. In an exclusive interview with JustNje on Monday, 14 December 2020, Lyla spoke about the imminent single release, why she is not venturing into releasing an independent album anytime soon, as well as some of the motivations behind her musical choices.

1.     You have a new single, Left To Cry, coming out, please tell us more about it?

This year, instead of writing new material, I decided to produce the body of work I’d written as a teen but had no opportunity to release at that time, due to a lack of financial resources and emotional support. Left To Cry tells the story of an army brat (child of a soldier) questioning the institution that is the military. In my house, having soldiers in the family was romanticized. I was brought up to celebrate my dad for protecting the nation, but I wasn’t protected in my own home from abuse. I can’t help but see the irony in that. While I have respect for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line or, in a lot of cases, were forced into mandatory service – I use music to ask my questions; are enough resources available for soldiers suffering from PTSD, which now affects their relationships at home? What can be done to help veterans integrate back into society in a healthier way? When will we stop giving veterans a free pass for not seeking help, and stop glamorizing “being tough” just because it’s “the army way?” I’ve tried to put myself in a soldier’s shoes and, personally, I would not have a child if I chose a lifelong career in the military. I don’t think it’s fair for kids to grow up with an absent parent, no matter how noble the cause.

2.     Why did you decide on this particular song as your next single?

My estranged ex-special forces dad tried to re-establish contact after 12 years of silence, after making me homeless at 15. I’ve been in therapy all year dealing with the impact that had on my current wellbeing. I didn’t have to write new songs about my feelings, I already wrote about these feelings in 2008. As a result of therapy, a lot of art I made but never published a decade ago resurfaced. While I don’t plan on having my own children, this year, I have changed my language and actions in day-to-day life to “What’s the type of mother I want to be to my daughter someday?” I’ve turned my focus to becoming an emotionally and financially literate person, because honestly, I suffered from love addiction to fill the void of my childhood and it had to change. Being present with these developments just made this feel like the right time to release this song. I can release this music now because I have healed and moved on. I don’t write from a place of resentment, I’m simply using my platform as a plea to my peers to make better informed decisions when it comes to responsible procreation.

3.     Silence And Symphonies was an introspective body of work that explored seven-year-old Lyla to 27-year-old Lyla; as you work on your next project, what has been your thought process throughout?

Instrumentally, Silence And Symphonies was influenced by my obsession with learning film scoring production. I didn’t know I had it in me to write and produce a symphony. My parents made me take economics over music as a subject in school. It is only now, in my late twenties, that I’ve been introduced to classical music and have the opportunity to educate myself on the greats. My classical piece actually ended up being used in a film festival – the NYC Web Series Awards Show. Lyrically, the movement’s reflected my journey about getting to the point of being fed up with allowing my emotional state to change based on how others treat me. It was my current self acknowledging my inner-child and them both saying to each other, “[I’ve] got you.” Emotionally speaking, seven-year-old me is the one in the driver’s seat of my current career choices.

As for the thought process behind my next project – I’ve been invited to do speaking engagements for foster kids in Los Angeles around healing after parental abandonment, and about how to recognize the difference between abuse and discipline. I also released a poetry album on YouTube [called] Abandonment, Reimagined As Freedom To Grow. Now, I’m taking my thoughts on these topics I speak on and making them the main theme in my coming music releases, with the goal to reach vulnerable youth who need validation around the abuse they are suffering when they are silenced.

4.     With the upcoming release of your new single, is there a new album in the works too?

I’m constantly producing songs and releasing singles, I don’t think I will release an album independently anytime soon, no. My next release is a spoken-word style song called Verbal Birth Control. My background as a radio producer alongside people like Jeremy Mansfield has definitely contributed to me being a bit of a “shock jock” in my song titles and lyrical content!