by Robert Flis / February 16, 2021
Our Second Edition of Music Industry Talks continues with an artist who has beaten the odds in a number of ways. Told at a young age that she’d never be able to sing, Montreal singer-songwriter Bayla has taken that as a challenge and turned it into a blossoming music career. With a recent Top 40 single and much more on the horizon, Bayla uses her music to inspire positivity and strengthen those going through hard times. We’re incredibly happy to have her join us to talk about her musical journey thus far and preview of what’s to come.
Bayla was always drawn to music as a child, preferring to play with her dad’s stereo system over any of her toys. But at the age of 9, Bayla got a diagnosis that threatened to end any chance of a future in music. One day she woke up with difficulty breathing and a loud squeaking noise every time she inhaled. Her parents rushed her to the hospital where they eventually discovered that her vocal chords were essentially working backwards. Doctors told her she would never be able to sing, diagnosing her with Vocal Chord Dysfunction. “I think that gave me a really big reason to prove them wrong” she says regarding her reaction to the news. Bayla and her family tried various kinds of therapies to help improve the condition, including speech therapy to teach her how to breath again and even hypnosis. Slowly but surely after a few years she was able to get it under control and is now able to sing. “That’s what life is” she continues. “A bunch of crazy things happen and it’s all about how you deal with them, how you perceive them and how you overcome them. And those are the moments in life that you’re going to remember.”Bayla’s diagnosis provided her with the motivation to beat the odds, but there was another pivotal moment in her life that jumpstarted her interest in songwriting. When she was 13, Bayla’s sister accidentally ran the bathtub overnight, flooding their house. That whole summer, with the family’s house under renovation, Bayla spent most of her time living at her grandmother’s with nothing to do but play her guitar. This is where she taught herself to play and started experimenting with singing and songwriting, and she attributes this summer to the start of her career as a songwriter. After that fateful summer, Bayla kept on writing and learning how to play music. Wanting to keep it private, she didn’t tell her family what she was doing, preferring to work behind closed doors or when they weren’t home. One day her mom walked in on her singing and that changed everything. “Once that barrier of my mom hearing me sing broke, I was able to have some confidence” she explains. “Because once you realize that someone is listening to you and doesn’t think you’re terrible, it really helps you continue.” Bayla describes herself growing up as that kid in class who was shaking during oral presentations, but with practice, those nerves went away and she gained a sense of confidence she’d never had before.
“Probably the first moment that I fell in love with music was listening to Fleetwood Mac” says Bayla. From a young age she listened to all her dad’s music, but that branched out to many other artists and genres. She loved Alanis Morisette, Jan Arden, and being a 90s kid, she loved listening to Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and P!nk. Like many of us growing up, she went through an alternative phase as well, listening to bands like Paramore and Blink 182. As for her own music, there isn’t one single artist that she tries to emulate. “I’m definitely doing pop music right now, but I like to pull from my different inspirations and different genres that I love to listen to” she explains. “Sometimes when I’m writing a song I’m just with my acoustic guitar and it doesn’t sound pop. It’s really in the production process that I make sure this is going to sound accessible, and it’s the vision that I have in my head but it doesn’t always start that way.”Bayla has had the opportunity to work with some incredible musicians and producers who have also helped shape her songwriting. One of her favorite ways to write music, is in studio alongside her producer because everything comes together so quickly. Although she defines her career as a “team effort,” she achieved her first bit of success completely on her own. Her single “Turn it Around” helped her find the team that would stick with her, including her manager, radio trackers and publicists.
Her Career Takeoff
After years of working on her craft, Bayla says everything pretty much came together all at once with the release of her single “Turn it Around”. She wrote the song with producer John Nathaniel who she had the opportunity to work with because of a Factor grant she received to help fund that production. Once the music video was ready, she sent it over to Virgin Radio’s music director Mark Bergman to find out what he thought about it. He gave her the idea of getting it on the radio. At the same time, she met her manager Patrice. Bayla submitted the song through Virign Radio and was selected as their “Future Star” winner.
From there things just took off. Her song reached number 24 on the Top 40 and lead to a number of opportunities for shows and festivals, including involvement in Canada’s Walk of Fame.
The message Bayla wants to share with her music is simply that you can draw positivity from any problem or challenge that you’re facing. “What I always like to think is that I go through some difficult times and then I try to ask myself, if my best friend was in this position, what would I tell them? Like how would I give them advice? And usually when you think of it that way you can find some sort of positive spin” she explains of her songwriting process. “My music reflects that best friend advice that I’m giving myself, which then helps me turn crappy situations into positive ones.” It’s a message that has probably never been so relevant for many of us, and the success of her song “Turn it Around” is quite possibly a direct reflection of that.“Turn it Around has been like my motto” she continues. “Trying to make a bad situation into a positive one as much as possible or to have that perspective, it’s so important to get through tough times.” Bayla’s message extends to many different people and groups, including the LGBTQ+ community which she has shown a lot of involvement with over the past few years. “I definitely consider myself to be part of this community and under that ‘queer’ umbrella,” she says. “I’m one of the lucky ones who’s had an easy time with it. I’ve never experienced too much negativity from it. I’ve been surrounded by people who are so accepting, and it’s not always the case for everyone. I have people around me who haven’t always been so accepted, and that’s why it’s important to me to be involved in it.”
Dealing With The Pandemic
“The pandemic came at such an interesting time for me,” says Bayla. “It was a shock. I had plans to release a single right around the time the pandemic started, which I postponed.” As is the case with many artists over the past year, it’s been a challenge to decide what to do under these circumstances. It can be daunting to try and release new music during this time, but Bayla has been getting through it by writing and spending time to work on production. Communicating with her fans has also been extremely important. “I’m so grateful for social media,” she says. “Imagine going through this pandemic without it, how lonely we would be.” Bayla’s goal with social media is to connect with her fans by being real and showing both the good times and the bad, which is not always easy to do and not something that we commonly see. “It’s effort because as an artist it’s tough to show when things aren’t going well, but it’s important to have that connection with your fans,” she says.
Bayla and her team are close to the finish line with new music and are excited to put out a new single in summer 2021 at the latest. She’s confident that what’s to come is the best she’s ever made and is excited for everyone to hear it. You can follow Bayla for updates on social media and listen to her music on all major streaming platforms.
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