Laya Teams Up with Baby Tate for “Sailor Moon” Remix

Laya Teams Up with Baby Tate for “Sailor Moon” Remix

Laya Teams Up with Baby Tate for “Sailor Moon” Remix

“Sailor Moon 2.0” reimagines one of the musician’s most popular tracks inspired by the Japanese anime series of the same name

“Sailor Moon 2.0” reimagines one of the musician’s most popular tracks inspired by the Japanese anime series of the same name

Text: Kala Herh

LAYA is all about rebirth and rejuvenation. When the musician joined us for a call earlier this week, she provided insight into her musical beginnings and how evolution plays a major role in her artistry. At the top of this year, the Staten Island-born musician signed with Warner Records, and with the new installment, she reworked one of her most electrifying bodies of work. The EP, titled Um, Hello, is a bubbly, R&B-rich debut that is nothing short of breathtaking, showcasing the singer’s knack for not only singing and songwriting, but also production. To date, her debut EP has amassed over 10 million global streams and even more fans (including the likes of Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya, who recently sang her song during an interview for their new movie, Nope). 

“I was freaking out,” LAYA beams. “It was so surreal to have today's best young Black actors in Hollywood, in their official interview for their new film, talking about me and my song. And not only that, Daniel says to her, 'Yeah, she's got a new one.' And I'm like, 'So he's also tapped in! He knows about the new stuff.'”

Today, the singer continues on this path of regeneration, reworking one of her most popular songs, “Sailor Moon.” “Sailor Moon 2.0,” as she aptly titles it, is “giving ‘90s house.” “It's way more up-tempo, and it's definitely something for the clubs,” the singer shares about the new release. “It's also something for people when they're getting dressed when they want to feel cute. It's all about that vibe, moving your body.”

And for the track’s bright and bold beats, she called on the support from–no other than–Baby Tate, the rising rap powerhouse herself. During our interview with the artist, she shared what it was like to work with Baby Tate for this project: “I think she's got a really great voice, and so I was really, really happy and excited when I heard her do her vocal stylings. She really took full advantage and used her whole range of talent in just that one verse.”

And while LAYA is currently on tour with Phabo, she shares that after, she will be heading to the studio again, preparing for another EP. When V asked her what was next for the rising singer-songwriter, she smiled and said, “I want to be everywhere.” And we’ll take her word for it because if her latest project is any indication of the songstress’ trajectory, we can only expect a bright future ahead. For more on LAYA and her latest release, read below. 

V MAGAZINE: Congrats on "Sailor Moon 2.0," it's beautiful. To kick things off, where did you begin with the song, and why did you want to create a new version for it?

LAYA: I'm a lover of remixes and flipping songs and making them new again or reimagining them. So as many times as I can do that or have the opportunity to do that, I will. It's the same song, it still has the same bones, but we put a whole new dressing on it. That's what I loved about it.

V: You definitely see a different aspect of the song in this remix version. As the song has a feature from Baby Tate on this song, can you tell us how this collaboration come to be?

L: I actually met her fairly recently–this year during the BET Awards. We exchanged numbers, and we've been cool on social media. I love Baby Tate. When I was reimagining the song, she was one of the first people that I had thought of. I was like, 'Not only would she kill this, but aesthetically she would totally fit it and understand.' I really just hit her up. So I sent it to her, and right away, she was like, 'When do you need it by?' And then she sent it back and did not disappoint. I've been super, super excited about it. 

V: That's a dream. What type of energy does Baby Tate bring to this version? And how is this version different from the original on the album? 

L: This is definitely a dance mix. This is definitely something to move to. It's way more up-tempo, and it's definitely something for the clubs. It's also something for people when they're getting dressed when they want to feel cute. It's all about that vibe, moving your body. I feel like Baby Tate definitely brought that with her flow. She's just giving everything that it's supposed to give. It's giving '90s house. I'm a lover of all things the '90s, so it's definitely giving like a '90s house but in today's world. She definitely tapped into that for her verse. I also love how Tate can rap and sing. I think she's got a really great voice, and so I was really, really happy and excited when I heard her do her vocal stylings. She really took full advantage and used her whole range of talent in just that one verse.

V: As you said, you found the perfect musician for this track, and it just brings it to a whole different level. The first version of "Sailor Moon" went viral, with even Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya singing it in a recent interview. What was your reaction when you first saw that clip of them?

L: I was screaming. I was in the studio with my producers, and we were working on some new stuff. I was going through my DMs, and a fan had actually sent me the link to the interview, and they were a new fan. They were like, 'Look, I just discovered you from watching this interview.' And I was like, 'What interview?' So I click on it, and I'm watching the interview carefully, and I get through almost the whole thing, and they haven't mentioned anything about me or even about music, really. And I'm like, 'Where's this coming from?' It was all the way at the very end that they get into this conversation, and they mentioned that. I just started screaming. I almost dropped my phone, I'm running around the studio being like, 'Stop the music!' They're looking at me, and they're like, 'What's the matter with you?' And I'm like, 'Oh my God, this cannot be happening right now.' I was freaking out. People are like, 'Oh yeah, that's cool.' And I was freaking out. It was so surreal to have today's best young Black actors in Hollywood, in their official interview for their new film, talking about me and my song. And not only that, Daniel says to her, 'Yeah, she's got a new one.' And I'm like, 'So he's also tapped in! He knows about the new stuff.' So I was just screaming.

Photo by Jabari Jacobs.

V: That's insane. For the original "Sailor Moon" track, what was the significance of the title, "Sailor Moon?" Are you a fan of the anime show?

L: I've always been a fan of Sailor Moon. But during the quarantine, when we all had time to do nothing. I got back into the series and just started watching it from the beginning. So I was just binging on this anime. I was inspired. My boys had sent me the beat. And to me, it just sounded like what I was watching, like, this instrumental that sounded like that world. And then for me, when I was writing it, I was really just coming from the character's perspective. You know, she's this girl, she just has this a mad crush on Tuxedo Mask. And she's just like, blushing every time she sees him. And I wanted to just write a song from that place of having a crush on somebody. I know music, especially like female music nowadays, can be very upfront and aggressive–and I love that as well. But I wanted to slow it down for a second and just focus on that phase of having a crush on someone. 

V: What's your favorite moment from the whole Um, Hello experience, since inception to release? 

L: Um, Hello was originally released when I was independent, and it only had seven tracks on it. I had released "Sailor Moon," which got me a lot of attention, then I released "Crazy Down" and "Bitter" and by the time "Bitter" came out, I started getting offers from labels. I ended up signing with Warner and when I signed with them, they loved the music that I had made so much that they wanted to give it a real chance and get it out there into the world. The whole reason why I created Um, Hello and called it Um, Hello was because I was trying to make this call to the universe and to get the world's attention and bring that attention to my music. And it literally manifested exactly that for me. So I signed with Warner and then we repackaged, Um, Hello–I made a new cover for it like really refreshed everything and leveled up. We made new mixes for everything, added some new things, and really just turned it up a notch. And for me, that's my favorite part of Um, Hello, bringing it to another level, joining with Warner, and making my dreams come true. And the project that I intended to do what I wanted to do, it's now doing that. It's only the beginning, but that was my favorite part seeing it grow and blossom and really get its flowers. 

V: What’s next for you? 

L: The next thing is definitely another EP, I've got a really fire EP coming, and that's all I'm going to say about that [laughs]. And then after that, I'll definitely getting into album mode. That's going to be really, really fun because I'm going to flex a lot of creative muscle. We're going to do a lot of cool things and elevate it to stratosphere statuses. But outside of that, I want to do it all. I want to do everything I want to be everywhere. I want to create moments. I want to create moments and culture and fashion. I want to go to all the balls, as I like to call them. All the big events and award shows where we as entertainers get to shine as entertainers and be heard and be seen. I'm still on tour, and I intend to continue to tour and go to more cities and countries I've never been to. I want to do it all. I want to bring this art to every corner of the world and let it touch and influence as many people as possible.

Photo by Gerron Soul Vision Caldwell

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