A Conversation With Belgian Singer-Songwriter WAYI
After being praised for her effortless elegance and sensual voice by Sir Elton John and respected media outlets such as Refinery29, ELLE France, DJ BOOTH, High Snobiety, Red Bull Elektropedia and many more, the 25 year-old emerging artist from Belgium recently released her highly anticipated debut EP Love In Progress.
Love In Progress is a solid debut — an R&B project that combines elements of Neo-Soul and Jazz with WAYI’s alluring vocals and thoughtful lyrics towering over the smooth productions. The standout track “Fallin’ for You” is a captivating song which showcases the Antwerp-based singers potential of developing into a real star.
I recently had a conversation with the emerging artist, read below:
How’s it going WAYI? You’ve started off strong this year, did you set yourself any goals for 2019?
Hi DiscoverNü! I’m doing great, especially now that my EP is out there! Yes I did, I have many goals but two of those are to write as many songs as possible this year and to do what I love (performing) as much as I can.
Sounds great. After spending years studying and covering your favourite artists music, what inspired you to pursue a career as a recording artist?
Every time I saw an artist perform, I imagined myself on that same stage. The feeling I had imagining this only got stronger so I said to myself; why not start telling my own stories through my songs?
Was studying something you always wanted to do before music?
I actually never wanted to study after high school but my parents thought differently *laughs* — Eventually they convinced me to get my University degree and so I did. All those hours behind the school desks, I could only think about going to the studio, writing my own songs, taking the stage —I would daydream a lot!
Oh my, I know what you mean! You’re from Belgium, and you sing in English, is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
Yes, I‘ve always listened to English music. It just feels comfortable to sing in English. I can also express myself better in English.
Nice. Apart from English, what other languages do you speak?
French and Dutch.
How have the Belgian people responded to your music thus far?
Very supportive! I’m happy to see it. I went to Brussels the week of my EP release, and I was surprised that people approached me to say they love my music. We’ve come a long way in creating a platform for artists in Belgium. So it’s a great thing to see people support and believe in their locals!
That’s good to hear. Growing up, what artists were you exposed to?
I was exposed to lots of Gospel, R&B, Soul and Hip-Hop artists such as Whitney Houston, Nina Simone, Alicia Keys, Hillsong, J. Dilla —but I also grew up with lots of French artists/rappers like Diam’s, Sinik, Sheryfa Luna, Wallen…
Out of those artists you’ve just named, which one would you love to collaborate with the most?
Alicia Keys has been my idol since I was 10 years old so I would definitely choose her to collaborate with.
She’s a legend. Let’s talk about your EP Love In Progress — when did you start working on this EP?
The first song I wrote for my EP Love In Progress was “Temporary”. I wrote it about a year ago. When my team heard the song, they fell in love with it and we immediately started working on other songs.
How would you describe the sound of the EP in your own words?
Blending elements of soulful vocals with R&B chords taking you to an intimate and laid back place. You can hear romantic guitar chords, broken-hearted piano chords in “Blame” as well as the magical touch of an arpeggiator in “Temporary”. My EP is a real rollercoaster of emotions.
Overall, what message are you trying to convey?
My songs are about different phases in a relationship: jealousy, falling in love, regret and so on. I describe several situations that I have experienced myself and by doing so, I want to let other girls and guys know that it is okay to feel some type of way. The most important thing is to accept your feelings, love yourself first and not to lose the person you are.
That’s so true. Do you plan to release visuals to promote the EP?
My label and I are talking about making visuals for my EP, yes. The idea is not yet concrete but stay tuned…
What producers did you work with? How did you get in touch with them?
I worked with with James Lowland for all the songs on the EP. After I graduated from University, I told myself; OK, it’s really time to pursue your dreams now. So, I started posting lots of singing videos on my social media and one day, I received an email of Alison, who’s now my music publicist, saying that the label she works for, Weird !s Good, wanted to meet me.
Sounds cool, and also shout out to Alison! Lastly, where do you see yourself as an artist in, let’s say, the next 18 months?
I’m already working on more music, so in 18 months I definitely see an album! I see myself performing much more often, both in Belgium and abroad. I’m working on my songwriting skills to be able to write more songs for myself but also for other artists.