Q&A with London’s Rising Star: CAYLEAH

August 22, 2013

London’s own Cayleah, the newest musician to hit the music scene with a powerful voice and an inspiring sound. Her hit song, SET TO FLY, from the album Inception, has already garnered fanship and international success. In fact, she is on the front page of London Fuse this week (click here to see). I for one was captivated by it the first time I heard it and have had it in playlist ever since.

Her music is reminiscent of The Cranberries, Melanie Doane, and Smashing Pumpkins all combined into one, with her own style emerging through.

So? sits down with Cayleah for a Q&A:

SO?: Thank you for taking time out of your exciting schedule to give us a sneak peak into your rising career. The news of your stardom make come as surprise, a pleasant one of course, to some people who never knew you as a singer/songwriter. How and when did you decided to become a musician professionally?

Cayleah: For the last 4 or 5 years it had been a plan broiling in my brain but at that point I was way too scared. I didn’t have the experience or background in music. I had been writing songs for a long time already but didn’t have much confidence in myself. I did my first open mic, which was terrifying, and then another and so on, it was a really long time before I really believed my songs/voice were good enough to record. But then finally I did it! [she laughs] ‘cause apparently perfectionists are perfect at doing nothing and I didn’t want to be that.

SO?: I’m glad that you did find that confidence because now we the fans get to hear the music that you hid for so long. So what were you doing before you decided to pursue your music full time?

Cayleah: I was working at a start-up tech company in London as a Product Manager. Was at KPMG before that as an Operations Improvement Consultant.

SO?: It’s a great story, leaving your full time job to pursue your passion. So who were the artists that inspired you make the giant leap from corporate office to mobile tour bus?

Cayleah: Dylan, PJ Harvey, Bowie, Etta James, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana

SO?: Wow great influences. The one thing you all have in common is soul. It radiates in your music and it is obvious to listeners that your music is something deep and personal. So tell us, what does music mean to you?

Cayleah: Starting in grade 4 I bought music– err I guess then I got my mom to buy me music. We had just moved from Toronto to London and lived out in the country on a farm, I was pretty lonely I think for a while there and really sought out music as a way of identifying with and engaging in something that was external to me. It really helped me in that time and became an important part in my life. I remember I used to memorize every lyric/melody/guitar solo I heard and used to rewrite the songs in my head to my own lyrics/melody.

SO?: You admit to not having the musical background when you began seriously contemplating the career move into music. What instruments do you now play?

Cayleah: My main instrument is vocals, and I songwrite with guitar/piano. I play guitar live but I would never say I’m that great at it. I add to the grunge sound. [she chuckles]

SO?: Well I have heard great reviews from your live shows, so I’m sure you’re just being humble. In fact, your song, Set To Fly, is an international award winning song. Tell us about that.

Cayleah: That was a pretty incredible day. I had submitted Set To Fly to the song of the year competition and kind of forgot about it because the ranking process takes a while. One day I received an email saying that I had placed in the Semi-Finals and I was so blown away, I knew it was a pretty big competition and didn’t know what to expect! But yeah, then following the excitement of that I realized I was one spot short of getting some funding for recording, and then I was bummed out for about 5 minutes.[she laughs]. But yeah it was really nice to have been recognized by these sort of more academic songwriters as I had been studying song-writing/songwriters and reading anything I could get on it.

SO?: What is your song Set to Fly about?

Cayleah: Set to Fly, jeez, um well, typically I don’t like talking about the meanings of my songs …But I guess it’s about busting out and being yourself in a free and wonderful way. And I think it’s about finding that and that blind rebellion, albeit sometimes necessary, isn’t always the end answer.

SO?: That’s really amazing. Well, the song must have many meanings to many different people, and the award is definitely well deserved. Since your fans are curious, what else can you tell us about making your album INCEPTION?

Cayleah: I guess that I work my ass off and that I sweat/blood/tears/all of it, for this.

SO?: What are the best moments you’ve experienced in your musical journey so far?

Cayleah: Our show at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, July 10, was really special; it was the first time we had played together with Mark, our new drummer, and everything just felt really together and solid. It was also a really cool opportunity to play in a place that sounds that good. The award and success of the video we just released also were pretty cool.

SO?: What were some challenges you faced?

Cayleah: I guess at the beginning I was all alone. I had these ideas and songs and there was a lot I had to do before we could be a band playing live shows. It was very lonely at the beginning, but it’s not like that anymore. It’s still a serious grind to keep booking shows and doing cool stuff not to mention writing songs but I have some really great support now.

SO?: What are your goals as a person and as an artist?

Cayleah: I guess just try to be a positive person and do things for the right reasons.

Fast Facts with CAYLEAH


FOOD? Sustainable shrimp, I just had some for dinner RESTAURANT? Thuan Kieu CITY? New York

BOOK? The Sun Also Rises, by Hemingway

MOVIE? Hero – The music by Tan Dun is so beautiful as well as the visuals, martial arts rock too



SO?: Thank you, Cayleah, for sitting down with SO? and sharing some of your life with us.

It was a wonderful experience chatting with London’s rising star, Cayleah. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Cayleah’s new video available on her website http://www.cayleah.com/set-to-fly-video-release/

Check out cayleah.com for news releases, photos, and tour dates!


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