Name: Jayla Darden
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Jayla Darden is a R&B singer, songwriter and producer. The Detroit native is also an engineer after graduating from SAE for Audio Engineering in 2016. She recently released her second EP, Ideas, Vol.1. In our Q&A, Jayla shares the making of the project, her process of making beats and her music heroes in the industry.
Ngozi Nwanji: For those that don’t know who Jayla Darden is, describe yourself.
Jayla Darden: I am a 20-year-old singer, songwriter, and producer who makes R&B music in my room.
You moved out to Atlanta from your hometown of Detroit to pursue your singing career. What made you choose ATL instead of other major cities like NYC or L.A.?
I actually didn't want to move to Atlanta or at all for that matter. I was young and had to go wherever my mom decided to take me but her decision was in my best interest.
You started producing beats at a young age, but how long did it take for you to make the high quality production that you make now?
I feel like I've always had an ear, but I didn't get really comfortable with my production until I was about three years in.
On average, how long does it take for you to make a beat?
When I make beats, they're mostly a loop. And, then I just format them afterward. But, it usually takes 10-20 minutes for me to make a beat.
I love your latest EP, Ideas Vol.1 . “Idea 515” is currently my favorite. How was the process of making this EP compared to your first, 118?
I think the process was kind of the same with 118. I knew I wanted to put out an EP and I had songs already done that I chose to put together into an EP. The only difference is with 118, Henny Tha Bizness let me come in to his studio to either work on re-recording vocals or he would add production to some songs. With Ideas, Vol.1, the only thing I had to do was work on the mixes. The songs were already complete.
I saw on Instagram that you met Jhene Aiko and you said she was one of your heroes. Besides her, who are some of your music heroes?
I would say Frank Ocean, J. Cole, Solange, India Shawn, Beyoncé, Tori Kelly and a whole lot more for sure. Anyone who has inspired me in anyway is a hero to me.
First song you wrote?
The first song I wrote was called "Without You". I came up with the chords on a keyboard I had got for Christmas.
First album you bought?
First album I physically bought was Sideline Story by J. Cole. I was so upset because I went to Walmart and didn't know they only sold the clean version.
My first concert was Lil Romeo lol, but my actual first concert that I asked to go to was for my 5th grade promotion to see Beyoncé's I Am... World Tour.
Could you see yourself writing for other artists? If so, who would you love to write for/collaborate with?
I actually have written for other artists. I would love to collaborate with all of my heroes, of course.
What is your personal take of the status of R&B?
It's on the comeback, for sure.
Other than yourself, who are some artists of right now that you think people should be listening to?
Tone Stith, India Shawn, and Victoria Monét.
What can fans be expecting in the near future from you?
Ideas Vol. 2 really soon.