Ukranian-American singer Kailaya has released her debut single “Lately.” The songstress created a soulful R&B ballad expressing her emotions dealing with a past situation regarding someone she loves. Her voice is delicate, but her words are powerful as she vulnerably explores, reminisces, and finally learns to let go of the relationship.
“I wrote ‘Lately’ in a time of my life where I needed to practice the art of letting go.” – Kailaya
The singer also has chosen her debut single as a way to give back. As a Ukrainian-American born in Los Angeles, Calif. she also spent time in Kyiv, Ukraine, which she considers her home away from home. “I chose this charity for a few important reasons.
First, my family in Ukraine is close friends with the founder of LifeLover, which made me comfortable pushing it out to more people. Another reason is that it focuses on the elderly community that is impacted in Ukraine as well as all other refugees,” Kailaya explains.
“It has been heartbreaking to hear from my friends and family about the struggle to escape the country. I want to use my art to help spread legitimate resources and ways to help. Ukraine has become my second home, so working with this charity and others is important to me.”
Kailaya sat down with Lowkey R&B to talk about her songwriting process and what’s next for the rising singer. Check it out below:
AH: How did you begin singing?
K: I began singing three years ago when a friend of mine dared me to audition for my college’s vocal department. I, of course, was curious and said yes. I walked in and said, “I have zero experience, but I can speak Russian and Italian so that is what I got for you.”
I ended up getting placed in private vocal lessons with a bunch of seniors. I was a freshman at that point. The best part of this story is that I soon found out that this was an OPERA vocal group. Therefore, I studied Opera for half a year in college and that was the start of my singing career.
AH: When did you know that you wanted to make singing your career?
K: I think it wasn’t until I came back from Ukraine and showed my mom my music that we both started to get a feeling this is what I am meant to do.
My mom is very honest and would never encourage me to do anything unless she really believed in it. I remember so clearly how she one day came over to my apartment, in tears took my hand, and said, “If you don’t pursue a career in music, you will regret it my love.” I felt that go directly to my heart and that it was the truth.
AH: You are doing something very special with your debut single, “Lately,” and before we get into the making of the song, I want to highlight what you’ve been doing in support of your home country of Ukraine. How did you come up with your plan to help Ukraine during the current state of the country through your music?
K: Honestly, I have felt heartbroken that I cannot be there for my family more than with words and external support. I came back from Kyiv, Ukraine four months ago and actually was planning on living there this entire year. It was my older sister’s cancer diagnosis that brought me home.
I wanted to find a way to use my art and send help through a trustworthy charity. I plan on attaching my art to many more charities as well but for now, I want to focus on LifeLover because I know the founder is a family friend and does amazing things for Ukraine. My father also runs auctions to help this foundation!
AH: Your latest song “Lately” tells a very emotional tale about letting go. What was your inspiration behind it?
K: “Lately” is about my relationship to a family member. I had been in therapy for a year at that point, working on a specific situation that I wanted to forgive and let go of.
There is no shade towards this person, in fact, I love them very much. However, the process of forgiveness took a lot of patience and self-reflection. “Lately” was inspired by my mental growth in this situation.
AH: Did you also write “Lately”? If so, what is your songwriting process like?
K: Yes! I started out by writing out all the things I’ve wanted to say but never did. I turned it into a poem basically. Then I was curious about different beats and found a chord progression I really connected with. I began with the chorus and worked through the verses from there.
AH: What is your favorite lyric from “Lately”?
K: “Maybe all of this hurts me so bad cause I love you so much.” That is so raw and vulnerable. I really do believe that the reason I felt so much pain from this situation was because I had so much love involved as well.
AH: If you could add a guest verse from anyone on “Lately” who would it be?
K: Let’s add Giveon on there! I’d be so grateful for that feature.
AH: Who are some of your musical influences?
K: I listen to Snoh Aalegra on repeat as well as Daniel Caesar, Jorja Smith, Sabrina Claudio, Alina Baraz, and James Vickery.
AH: Who is an artist that you would love to work with?
K: I would love to work with Fletcher. I think we could write something really dope together.
AH: You also shared on your Instagram that you love to dance and are pretty talented. When did you start dancing?
K: Thank you! I danced ballet growing up but took a long pause and started up again when I was 19 years old. I trained in heels dance and eventually pole dance too! Now I am starting up Burlesque.
AH: What are some of your interests outside of singing that fans might be surprised to know about you?
K: I love abstract makeup art. I took a course in college and made some crazy looks. I also studied in Ukraine for a few months and absolutely loved it. Another fun fact is I played volleyball for a good seven years, including for my college team.
AH: What’s next for you?
K: My “Lately” music video is out now. Soon following the visual will be my second single “Outrageous.”
AH: Where can fans keep up with your music?
K: You can keep up with me on my Instagram (@kailaya.art) and website www.kailaya.art
Watch the visual to “Lately” below: