Open Lila Drew’s ‘locket’ of Empathetic Emotions & Serene Pop Melodies [Q&A]

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Photo Credit: Miriam Marlene

Born in London but raised in Los Angeles, Lila Drew is an 18-year-old who isn't afraid of vulnerability and self-reflection. Drew grew up listening to old school records of Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye, which allowed her to organically develop her passion for music. Rooted from honest journal entries, Drew's stunning new EP, locket (side one), is a grand reflection of her life as she moves toward adulthood.

locket (side one) captures the purest of emotions as Drew revisits the feelings she's experienced in some of her most challenging times. "take it back" sees Drew embodying the self-reliant woman she is and overcoming obstacles on her own. Layered with enticing instrumentals, "november" features Drew's soothing vocals alongside comforting backing vocals as she once again stresses the importance of independence. The serene "hide" follows Drew on a journey through self-discovery as she realizes the difference between right and wrong when it comes to relationships.

Opening with hollow guitars, "nothing" has Drew recognizing the invincibility we all have within ourselves when we accept that some people aren't as worthy as we once thought they were. "seconds (demo)" is a sorrowful song composed of downtempo beats about sacrifices and longing for someone we just can't have. locket (side one) closes with "faded/2am," which features rapper GoldLink. Examining a failed relationship, "faded/2am" is drenched with Drew's angelic vocals and stirring electronics that pair well with GoldLink's flawless verse.

Treat yourself to Lila Drew's locket (side one) below:

To celebrate her new music, we recently chatted with Lila Drew about her debut collaboration with GoldLink, her slumber party themed EP listening party, and of course, locket (side one).

OTW: Who are your musical inspirations?

Drew: I grew up listening to a huge array of music. I'm super grateful to my parents for that. They exposed me to everyone from Led Zeppelin to Aretha Franklin to A Tribe Called Quest, really opening my mind to the spectrum of artists and genres! My biggest inspirations for songwriting are Frank Ocean, Phoebe Bridgers, and Paul Simon. They write the most poignant lyrics and I love that they all write nonlinearly. Some other inspirations of mine at the moment are Blood Orange, Ariana Grande, Crumb, and Beabadoobee (who is only 18 too!).

OTW: How did you manage to collaborate with GoldLink on your debut single, "faded/2am?"

Drew: Honestly, I've always been a huge fan of GoldLink! I love his combination of traditional R&B and new-age rap with a hint of funkiness. He's insanely talented. My manager sent “faded/2am” to GoldLink's team on a whim, and he really liked the song and wanted to collaborate! I was absolutely blown away when we got his verse, I think I cried in the kitchen with my brother!

OTW: Can you describe your songwriting process?

Drew: My songwriting process is super free form. I try to write every day, but my favorite songs are the ones that come super naturally. My best ideas usually come at night! I usually write melody and lyrics at the same time, which I think is a little bit strange - lyrics and melody often come at the same time for me. After I write melody and lyrics, I'll go to the piano and mess around with some chords and see what fits. I try not to force the songwriting process, and I think my songs would sound and feel different if I didn't take as organic of an approach. I also don't really write about particular events, I'd rather write about specific feelings. I kind of collage different moments into each song in order to articulate a feeling - it's super stream of consciousness.

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OTW: How does it feel to know that locket (side one) is now out in the world?

Drew: I'm honestly a bit nervous! It's always weird to know that people will actually hear something you've worked on. Despite that, I am super excited to just get more music out there and let people interpret the project in their own ways. This project is super special to me and I've been working on it for about two years now, so I'm definitely ready to get it out into the world.

OTW: Do you have a favorite song off locket (side one)?

Drew: Yes! I feel like I shouldn't pick favorites, but "seconds" has to be my personal favorite off the project. I wrote it in my birthplace of London last summer, and it's always felt the most "me" out of all the songs. I find something different lyrically and sonically every listen.

OTW: What's a funny memory you have from shooting the "take it back" music video?

Drew: Honestly, the whole "take it back" shoot is a funny memory. I shot the “take it back” video with these amazing directors called Weird Life Films who are based out of Chicago. I absolutely love them and had such a great time filming and collaborating with the whole Weird Life team! One funny memory is that Jackson, DP and lighting extraordinaire, somehow is never addressed by his actual name. Some nicknames that were thrown around were Richard, Chardo, Lee, Lionel, Lionel Richie, Char Doggie, the list goes on. As Jackson said, "It ain't all fun and games in nickname town."

OTW: Tell us about your slumber party themed EP listening party!

Drew: I've had this idea for a while to throw slumber party themed events, and the EP drop seemed like the right time to do the first one. A lot of the music on this EP is centered around nostalgia and the importance of childhood memories, so I wanted to create a safe and artistic space that people could come to and travel back to their early childhood for one night. We covered the whole backyard of my friend's house in Venice with blankets, pillows, bean bags, and rugs. We also had giant games, lots of food, and scrapbooking! Another part of the event was an art gallery that I curated with my friend's art that was all around the space – everything from sculptures to sketches. My friend Jack H-W played a few songs, and then I played most of my EP, and snuck in a Frank Ocean cover ("Higgs" from Endless). We also screened my documentary that I made with my friend John Hein. It was such a great night and went exactly how I'd dreamed it. I said this to a few people, but I think it still stands - 12 year old Lila would've been proud.

OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?

Drew: There are honestly so many amazing new artists out there right now! I love Beabadoobee (who I mentioned before). I also love Choker; I could listen to his albums forever. I've been listening to Col3trane since his first single and think he'll be huge. I really like Sasami too. And Grace Ives!

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