Being an opening act on a tour for an artist who has already gathered a steady fanbase can either be an hit or miss opportunity, but Thursday night proved to be a hit right out of the park for rising R&B star LAYA.
This Staten Island based beauty was in town as part of Alex Isley’s “Marigold” Tour, and although this was the first time that we had actually heard of her, I can guarantee that it won’t be the last time that we’ll be checking for her.
From the moment that she walked out onto the stage to a phone call with one of her girlfriends, I already knew that this was going to be a unique experience. Dressed in the fashion of a 1950’s sex kitten with a zebra print body suit and red sheer robe, her aesthetic matched that of her aura. It was something innocent about her presence, but at the same time you could feel the femme fatale energy waiting to bust loose.
While it was hard to keep our eyes off of her, it was our ears that were more in tuned than anything. She’s currently on the road touring to support her critically acclaimed debut EP, “Um, Hello”, so for the DMV area to bestow our “blessings” on her, we had to see what she was truly giving. Her offerings from the project were rock solid, featuring futuristic style production overtop crystal clear vocals.
Let’s take a minute to talk about some of our favorite numbers that she performed. “Too Up” was a track about chucking the deuces to corny ass dudes who are trying too hard to flex, but aren’t worth her time. “Brag” was the one that we enjoyed the most. It was a track with a hard bassline and 808 that hit you in the chest with lyrics like “I don’t wanna brag too bad I don’t wanna brag when I get the big bag” that allowed her to talk her ish about not wanting to brag about her accomplishments thus far, but at the same time bragging that she’s THAT CHICK. “On Sight” oozed that sex appeal that we spoke on earlier, where she exclaimed that when she sees her lover, there will be no waiting to get some of her loving.
Watching some of her music videos on Youtube, it’s clear to see that she’s a young visionary and creative taskmaster in the making, reminiscent of some of the legendary women in the industry that came before her. One in particular who came to mind was Missy Elliott, who LAYA so happened to cover during her performance. She did a bit of a stripped down rendition of one of Missy’s much overlooked hits “Sock It 2 Me,” which continued to hold my attention because this is one of my favorite songs by Missy.
For her final song of the night, she dropped her breakout single “Sailor Moon“, for her LAY 1’s, who immediately began to sing a long with the tune. Based on what we saw in just a short 30 minute set, we expect to see MUCH more from this young lady, because the vibe and energy that she’s bringing is something that the music industry has been missing for a while.