Meet Belgian Songstress: WAYI who is contributing to the new wave of Female RnB artists and really setting out to make her mark in the industry. With over 100,000 streams on her debut single: The Way I Am, WAYI has made a strong start to her career.
Having recently signed to Weird Is Good Records, WAYI now has the label support to help propel her even further.
We spoke to WAYI about life now that she is signed, how music acts as therapy for her (and her wish for this to be the same for her listeners) and how her family has influenced the type of music she makes.
IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC IN ONE PHRASE, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
When I was speaking in between my set before Ruby came on, I mentioned that my lyrics are like my diary and I think that's my truth. So it's very open and honest.
IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT YOU WOULD BE SIGNING TO WEIRD IS GOOD MUSIC, IN JANUARY BUT YOU HAD TO KEEP IT A SECRET FOR A LONG TIME. HOW DID IT FEEL TO FINALLY LET EVERYONE KNOW THAT YOU WERE A SIGNED ARTIST?
Good because, a lot of people have been waiting for me to do something and it was always like, I’d try but you need people to get further. So I was really excited to have met the Weird is Good team. People didn’t expect me to come and make my own music; it takes a lot of time.
WHY DID YOU FEEL LIKE PEOPLE WEREN’T EXPECTING YOU TO MAKE YOUR OWN MUSIC?
Because I was taking too long and was also studying. People were like “did you stop making music…” (I just knew that I was still making music but they never saw). When Weird is Good music came along, they saw: she’s still in the game.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SINGING FOR?
I’ve been singing since I was able to talk. I think every child sings. When I really started liking singing was when I was 12 years old and discovered that it was something I wanted to do.
NOW LET’S TALK MORE ABOUT YOUR MUSIC. YOUR FIRST SINGLE “THE WAY I AM” HAS OVER 100,000 STREAMS ON SPOTIFY. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE RESPONDING WELL TO YOUR MUSIC?
I feel good of course! When you make music you want people to understand it and if they listen to it, it means that they like it so… if I get compliments of "you’re doing well" it’s always a good boost to continue to do even better.
SPEAKING OF DOING BETTER, DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU PUT PRESSURE ON YOURSELF FOR THIS SINGLE TO BE A SUCCESS?
I started writing the song without any pressure but when the product was there, I felt the pressure. Because it was like whoa, this is getting real; so no games or no just chilling.
THERE’S A PARTICULAR LINE IN "THE WAY I AM" WHICH SAYS “NEVER CHANGE FOR A MAN” AND YOU SAY THAT YOUR DAD GAVE YOU THAT ADVICE. SO, WHAT ROLE HAVE YOUR FAMILY PLAYED IN INFLUENCING THE TYPE OF MUSIC THAT YOU CREATE IN TERMS OF THE LYRICS AND THE SOUND?
Well I used to listen to gospel a lot, as we grew up very Christian. And I think this maybe had an influence on my soul voice and I think it did have a subconscious influence.
GOING BACK TO YOUR LABEL, WEIRD IS GOOD, YOU HAVE TWO LABEL MATES: IVY MODE AND AMERY, ARE WE GOING TO HEAR A COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE THREE OF YOU ANYTIME SOON?
Who knows. We usually jam together and if something comes out of it we just work on it. We had one week where we just jammed all week and everyone was just working together and writing songs together, so we already have a few things we can work on.
I WANT TO MOVE ON TO YOUR LIVE PERFORMANCE, WHERE YOU SUPPORTED RUBY FRANCIS HERE IN LONDON. HOW DID IT FEEL TO PERFORM ORIGINAL SONGS TO A BRITISH AUDIENCE?
[I felt] vulnerable. Because I didn't know how a London audience would react to my music as music is different everywhere. So I was nervous because you never know if people will like your music or not.
AS AN ARTIST YOU SAY THAT YOU FEEL VULNERABLE OR THAT YOUR MUSIC IS VULNERABLE. WHY DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WANT TO SHARE THAT?
Because I know that a lot of people feel the same. And it’s not okay for people to think that they’re the only person going through something. By writing about it, I guess it will make people feel less lonely. When I listen to someone like, Sam Smith, he talks about his ex so it’s kinda like “me too.”
YOU DID A STUNNING COVER OF MAHALIA'S "SOBER". WHAT MADE YOU CHOOSE THAT SONG?
When I heard it, I was like wow. Usually when I listen to a song, I have to get used to it. But her song, I heard it and was like “I wanna listen to this again.” I loved it from that first listen.
And I knew I was going to London so had to do a cover of a British artist. I was a little afraid that she was going to be there and was worried if I made a mistake in front of her. I actually did a cover and posted it on Instagram and she liked it!
AT YOUR GIG WITH RUBY FRANCIS WE HEARD A FEW OF YOUR NEW SONGS, WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM YOUR UPCOMING EP?
I can say that it’s about love and the sounds that you can expect: still very experimental, RnB kind of like The Way I Am.
WHO INSPIRES YOU MUSICALLY?
Alicia Keys, since I was young, she’s been my favourite; also as a person. I grew up listening to Destiny’s Child. My inspiration is probably Sia, her writing skills, her singing skills - just everything.
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?
If you can do what you like and get paid for it, it would be amazing. I would love to buy my parents a house. That people could hear my music worldwide and having loyal fans.
A huge thanks to WAYI for meeting up with us during her time in London. Be sure to keep up with her socials below and we can't wait to hear more from WAYI as she gears up for her EP release later this summer.
Check out WAYI's first single ➝ The Way I Am