[INTERVIEW] Aiyana-Lee Tells Her Story Through Music In Different Fonts

Aiyana-Lee Interview

London, by way of Los Angeles, CA, transplant Aiyana-Lee recently unveiled her impressive solo debut EP, Wednesday’s Child (Side A) via Hitco. The budding star initially started her musical journey at the tender age of two.

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Signed by industry impresario, L.A. Reid, 21 year old Aiyana-Lee, whose uncle was the late David Ruffin [The Temptations] and grandfather revered soul singer Jimmy Ruffin, is definitely destined for equal greatness.  With a solid team behind her, only time will tell how big of a star she actually becomes.

We recently caught up with the singer to talk about the recent release, and so much more. Check out the full Aiyana-Lee interview below.

Parlé Mag: Let’s talk about your start in music. When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Aiyana-Lee?
Aiyana-Lee:  My mom; (Nicole Daciana Anderson) my inspiration and partner! She is a talented 17x Platinum singer-songwriter, and always had musicians in the house in her locution recording studio. I was so inspired, and at (age) 2 decided it was time to hop on the mic and explore that world. It was a calling.

Parlé Mag: You grew up in London, tell me, in addition to your mother, who do consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Aiyana-Lee:  Growing up I had a vast look at different cultures and sounds. My mom also always had a variety of different music and genres playing throughout the house; from Christina Aguilera, Queen, Alicia Keys, Whitney, Brian McKnight, Bruno Mars, etcetera.

Aiyana-Lee feature
photo credit: Miguel Starcevich

Parlé Mag:
Of course your uncle is the late great David Ruffin of The Temptations and your grandfather is Jimmy Ruffin.  How big of an overall impact did their respective careers have over you choosing to do what you do today?
Aiyana-Lee:  I think it just truly inspired me. They paved the way and gave me an understanding of musicality; opening the door for me to then later experiment with genres, not being limited or afraid to bring some old school magic to the sound we’ve now cultivated and merged on this project 🙂

Parlé Mag: That said, what were the biggest lessons you learned from their legacies?
Aiyana-Lee:  I learned a lot from their legacies and from their mistakes. Just the way they put everything into their performances; unhinged and unafraid, it’s incredibly inspiring.

Parlé Mag: In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and style?
Aiyana-Lee:  Fluid. Haha! It has a bit of everything; from Pop to Soul to R&B and even Rock! We really weren’t afraid to include everything. It’s all my story at the end of the day in different fonts, so it’s cohesive in that way… at the heart it’s all me.

Parlé Mag: What particular string of events actually led to you initially linking up with L.A. Reid and ultimately inking with HITCO?
Aiyana-Lee:  I was in Miami, and randomly bumped into him at the studio! Played him some of my music, he listened to me sing live and HAD to sign me! It was a musical match made in heaven.

Parlé Mag: Now your latest single/video is entitled “Gangster of Love.”  Tell me about this particular track? How did it even come to fruition?
Aiyana-Lee:  It’s a different take on a love song. Conceptually, I felt it was so great and really showcased that you can have boundaries in a relationship and not get lost in the sauce! It’s so important to not lose who you are in those situations.

Parlé Mag:  The single comes courtesy of your just unleashed Wednesday’s Child (Side A) EP — Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you?
Aiyana-Lee:  You might be guessing, her EP is called Wednesday’s Child because she was born on a Wednesday… wrong! I was born on a Thursday!  You see, the term Wednesday’s Child originates from a poem created in the 1800’s in which it states every other day of the week had good omens except, you guessed it, Wednesday! They’d say a Wednesday’s Child is full of woe, to lead a life of bad luck and give them that preconceived notion/preconception about what their life was meant to be. That’s how I felt at school being bullied, with all the people around me in life who tried to tarnish my light… but instead I decided to take that title and bring it out of darkness. It resonated so deeply with me and as this project dissects and puts my story on display, I thought the title fitting.

Aiyana-Lee Wednesday's Child EP cover
Aiyana-Lee ‘Wednesday’s Child’ EP cover

Parlé Mag:  From a songwriting standpoint, when you sit down to pen your lyrics where do you draw inspiration from?
Aiyana-Lee:  Books, life, just talking. I think most of writing this project was just me talking to my team. Literally just opening up about my life to the point where we’re taking literal things I say and putting it in the song. It came easy on this project because all I had to do was tell the truth.

Parlé Mag:  Thinking about what’s to come, what do you feel it is that will continue to sustain you in music?
Aiyana-Lee:  My authenticity, voice, what I have to say as an artist and, of course, most importantly the incredible community I have supporting me. Shoutout to the Aleengang!

Parlé Mag:  What do you want people to get from your music?
Aiyana-Lee:  I want anyone listening to feel less alone, find that by listening to my stories they can reflect and feel heard in their own.

Parlé Mag:  Do you have any other outside aspirations, completely away from music?
Aiyana-Lee:  I love to read, write and act! I’m a homebody, and love learning and just being creative in any way I can.

Parlé Mag:  To date, what has been your greatest career moment?
Aiyana-Lee:  Being Billboard R&B Top 10 with “Gangster of Love!” That is definitely a big moment for me. But I take everyday as being a big moment. You have to enjoy the journey. Everyday should be an achievement and a celebration. I’m grateful.

Parlé Mag:  One track of yours that you think defines you and why?
Aiyana-Lee:  I don’t think one thing can ever define you haha! It truly depends on the day. Sometimes it’s “Love You Later,” sometimes it’s “Table For Three,” “Make You Love Me,” even “Miserable”!

Parlé Mag:  Lastly, what’s next for Aiyana-Lee?
Aiyana-Lee:  I’d loooove to perform, and really get a chance to see people and feel the energy in person. I love energy exchange, and when it comes to music and collectively feeling that connection; it’s pure magic.

Parlé Mag:  Any “closing” thoughts for our readers?
Aiyana-Lee:  Stay true to who you are, romanticize the relationship with yourself and try not to give a #### because the only lens you live your life through is yours; make everyday special 🙂

Stay Connected with Aiyana-Lee

Instagram:  @aiyanaleeofficial

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Veteran music journalist and indie publicist Todd Davis, who hails from the San Francisco Bay Area, and has contributed to a variety of national, regional, online, weekly and daily media outlets; including The Source, XXL & Billboard, to name a few, is happy to report that he has recently joined the Parlé Magazine family. Looking forward to many great things to come...