Often compared to Janis Joplin for her raw and emotional live performances, Layla Zoe was born in British Columbia, Canada in the late 1970s. Raised on her father's love of the blues and a diverse record collection, she began singing at an early age and had her first live experiences with her father's band at the age of fourteen.
After winning Finland's Compo10 Blues Songwriting Contest in 2006, Layla began touring Europe and quickly made a name for herself on the blues festival and club circuit. She received praise from Jeff Healey after performing with him in his club in Toronto and wowed audiences with her "Blues Fire". Layla's music is now critically acclaimed internationally and her concerts have been honored by the European blues scene.
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Since when have you been playing ?
I have been singing since I was 4 years old.
Who brought you to making music ?
I naturally loved music from a very young age. I watched videos of Woodstock and dreamed of being on stage.
What was your first musical love ?
I remember listening to alot of Bob Marley, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison at a young age,
because my father had the albums and played them alot. I also remember loving The Band,
Billie Holiday, Frank Zappa and Robert Johnson at a very young age.
If you had to describe your music with only one word, what word would you use ?
How would you characterise and describe your music ?
A modern expression of the blues....
What are your musical roots and references ?
My father had a band and played guitar around the house as I was growing up. His love of music definitely played a part in my musical upbringing and roots. As far as influences, I would list the following: Frank Zappa, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Van Morrison, Billie Holiday, Muddy Waters, Janis Joplin, Robert Johnson, the Band, etc.
What's the song that moves you the most ?
I am not sure if you mean which song of mine or someone else's song. But I have too many
favorite songs by others to list. However some top faves of mine are :
“Cry” Janis Joplin
“Hoochie Coochie Man” Muddy Waters
“Black Napkins” Frank Zappa
“River” Joni Mitchell
“Watermelon in the easter hay” Frank Zappa
“Time” Tom Waits
And why ?
I enjoy songs that are intense and make me feel strongly, where I feel the artists are honest in their music.
About your concerts, What's your best memory ?
It was wonderful to perform at Massey Hall in Toronto for the Women's blues Review, and some of my favorite moments have been on stage with Jeff Healey in Toronto and Sonny Landreth in Germany and Belgium.
And the worst memory ?
I have no bad memories of singing on stage. Sometime the PA system is not the best, or the
sound person does not understand what we need on stage, or I am working with a musician who is unhappy on stage which effects the rest of the band and I, but overall I am always feeling good and exactly where I need to be when I am on stage singing.
What do you feel when you get on stage ?
I feel that I am where I am supposed to be, when I am on stage. I was born to entertain people and to express myself through music and performance.
What song do you whistle in the shower ?
I do not whistle in the shower, haha!!
But when I sing in the shower it is to whatever I am listening to alot.
And when I whistle, it is normally to classical music.
When and where in your artist life have you felt the deepest happiness ever ?
Travelling the world, connecting with people in new countries and having the chance to do what I love, has brought me some of the greatest feelings of happiness. But I am happiest on stage when I am singing, not when I need to travel or do administration, or in the studio. The stage is what brings me the most joy.
If there was a Lord for music, what would you like to say to him ?
Hmmm, interesting question. I would probably say.."THANK-YOU."
And what would you like him to say to you ?
I would love "him" to say "THANK-YOU for your contribution to music, Layla."
What does your family think about your career choice ?
My family is supportive and loves how hard I have worked and how far I have come in my music. They have supported me along the way and have been the inspiration for many of my songs over the years.
Beside music ,what do like to do ?
I love to read. I enjoy seeing films and listening to new music. I enjoy going to good concerts and travelling. I enjoy getting tattooed in my spare time and I also love to cook and spend time with my puppy Leo.
Who else would you have liked to be ?
I have some talents as an actress and have been in some plays and musicals when I was
younger. It would be a huge pleasure to act in a film. And I also self-published a book of poetry and enjoy writing. I would like to write a book about my life someday.
What do you love the most ?
I love good friends, music, seeing new places, beautiful art, good conversation.
What do you hate the most ?
I do not like dishonesty, greed, materialism, or jealousy.
The natural gift you'd like to have ?
I am very grateful for all the gifts I already have..
And your biggest regret ?
I try to live my life each day in the moment and I try not to regret the things I cannot control.
What's your life's greatest achievement ?
I am not sure. My life is not over, ha! I feel that many of the moments in my career in the last few years have been "great achievements."
What characterise the most your personality ?
I am strong, independent, fiery and creative.
Who are your favorite authors ?
I enjoy books by many authors but some favorites are: Herman Hesse, Albert Camus, Harper Lee, Margaret Atwood, Robert E.Howard, Carlos Castaneda, Haruki Murakami.
What heroes (Real life or fiction) did you use to dream about as a kid ?
I don't remember having any "heroes" persay....I just loved my record collection as a child and spent most of my time in the basement listening to old Doors albums and watching documentaries about the 60's and 70's music.
What historical character impressed you the most ?
Martin Luther King made an impact on me with his incredible words...
What historical fact do you despise the most ?
Over the years I have read many books and studied the events of World War 2 and the
holocaust. I wish in many ways we could reverse what happened there. Or at least stop
genocide completely on this earth. We must learn from the past…
For what mistake would you be most indulgent ?
I can be overly honest which is sometimes painful for others. I would not call it a mistake, but
certainly not everyone enjoys an honest person, haha..
How would you like to die ?
On stage, singing....or surrounded by my loved ones.
What's your life's proverb ?
"Never give up.."
Listen to Layla Zoe songs on our Radio W1RS !
This interview comes from the French book "Face A, Face B".
You can download it for free : https://www.facebook.com/faceafaceb