iyla Is A Powerhouse That You Need On Your Radar and in Your Playlist
iyla Is Welcomed To DC’s Songbyrd Music House By A Sold Out Crowd
There are artists that you’ve followed for a while and you can’t wait for their tickets to go on sale and then there are artists that seem to just magically pop onto your radar and absolutely blow your mind when you decide to go to check them out. This is a story of the latter. I was introduced to the music of iyla just a few days ago and her music has been on repeat ever since. The fact that she sold out a venue in Washington, DC on her very first time there should have been a clue as to how great this show was about to be, but what followed far exceeded my expectations.
For those of you not familiar, Songbyrd is this magical place that is everything a music lover wants in one spot. It’s a record cafe, a bar, a vinyl shop and of course a music venue. As you walk into Songbyrd you are greeted by a vintage meets grunge vibe as music videos are projected on the wall and the dim lights create a chill atmosphere. Upon checking in with the staff, you proceed down a flight of stairs into a basement that is hidden behind a hall of cloth to keep the noise in. You then enter this intimate space with stickers of past bands upon every inch of the walls and supporting posts, all accented by a green shag carpet on the ceiling with string lights giving you that backyard feel… but on the ceiling. As I arrived shortly after 7 pm, there was already a full room awaiting the featured artists.
The first of which was the Iranian American artist YaSi. As soon as she and her guitarist stepped onto the stage, the crowd cheered and from her first soulful note, the night had begun.
With songs such as “Issues”, she shared her soothing vocals that breathed life into personal and relatable lyrics and giving us beat drops and guitar-shredding, to get us bouncing through the night. Following this, she did a quick vibe check with the audience before presenting us with a brand new song that she recently wrote in LA titled “Swim Alone.”
Throughout her time on stage, she showcased her range of talent as she would effortlessly flow from melodic vocals to the occasional rap break down thrown in. Make sure and check out her latest EP titled “Unavailable”
The time had then arrived for the moment that everyone was eagerly awaiting. The stage was covered in flowers, including the keyboards and DJ station placed on stage along with the mic stand for the one and only iyla.
She’s an artist that has been in the game for almost a decade now but with a focus on her solo career and a recent rebrand as Iyla Blue she’s proving who she is to the world while remaining herself. As she walked onto the stage the fans went nuts as she showcased her elegant side while wearing a sleek black bodysuit to accent her long red ponytail.
It was instantly apparent how strong her fanbase was as they knew the words to every song and this stood out most during her song “Tattoo Tears” as she sang a stripped back version, while to her surprise the fans instantly became her background choir. Following this, we had the chance to harmonize with this incredible musician as she sang “Bad Side” to continue the celebration of her recently released album ‘OTHER WAYS TO VENT’. To keep the night going we would bounce along to the electronic dance sounds blended with R&B that were the focus of such songs as “Frequency”. One could compare the vocals in the song to that of Ariana Grande but the great thing about iyla is that in my opinion, she is truly original and herself. Although there are many artist’s influences you can hear in her music, she stands in a league of her own.
As the night went on the entire room shook as the crowd jumped around to the hit song that is “Cash Rules” all before slowing it down a bit to connect with the fans and assure them that in that moment and in that space “you can be yourself and that this is a safe space”. Which brought us into the self-love anthem that is “Naked Girl”.
Now if you’re curious about why there are so many flowers on stage, well allow me to say, and I quote… “Fuck Flowers!”. It’s from a song that speaks for itself and is appropriately titled “Flowers” which again had the entire crowd singing along until the very end in which iyla closed out the song with an insane mind-blowing acapella verse before exiting the stage. As soon as she walked off though, the crowd started one of the quickest and loudest requests for an encore by chanting the word “Juice.” A song from her War + Raindrops EP a couple years back. This started the final turn up of the night as everyone went crazy as she kicked off the song and moved around the stage dancing with the audience.
As you can probably tell from everything you just read, this is a show you don’t want to miss but also an artist that you’ll be hearing a lot of in the near future. Make sure to follow her on social media for all the latest news and beautiful music videos.
From your favorite Photographic Ginger, this was another night in DC that I won’t soon forget. If you happened to capture any shots of the night, feel free to tag us on social media as Shutter 16 Magazine and throw in #TwitFromThePit for the world to see.