27th – 29th AUGUST 2021
1 GREAT FESTIVAL
GET TO KNOW… LAYLA ZOE
Layla has performed at some of the biggest blues, jazz, and folk festivals in the world, released thirteen albums to date, has been on stage with some of the greatest blues legends of our time and continues to impress audiences all over the world with her humble but passionate personality and stage presence.
Here we chat to her about the Rolling Stones, Vancouver Folk Festival and the benefits of wearing a warm scarf…
Q: What kind of music were you brought up listening to?
A: I grew up listening to the music my father loved which consisted mostly of old blues (Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, etc) as well as artists such as: The Band, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Tom Waits, Ry Cooder, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and many more.
Q: What was the first record you ever bought?
A: High Tide and Green Grass – Rolling Stones, was the first tape cassette I bought with my own money as a child.
Q: What was the first concert you attended and how old were you?
A: I attended the Vancouver Folk festival when I was very young, as my father was working with the festival doing tech and sound. But my first memory of an actual concert was seeing Long John Baldry with my mother, when I was around 7 or 8 years old, I think. It was a wonderful concert.
Q: What is your favourite track to perform live and why?
A: I do not really have one favourite, as I have been performing for years and enjoy performing many songs for different reasons. But I guess one of my favourites is ‘Highway of Tears’ as it asks a lot of me emotionally on stage and is about a subject I feel strongly needs to be understood and changed.
Q: What has been the most memorable time of your career?
A: I don’t really have a specific ‘time’ but have many moments I cherish, like singing with Jeff Healey in Toronto, winning the Compo 10 blues songwriting contest in Finland, performing alongside my dear friend Sonny Landreth, winning Blues vocalist of the year at the European Blues Awards, and making the album ‘Gemini’… but every show and moment always bring special moments, like connecting with fans after the show when they come up and tell me how a song affected them or how they felt during the concert. All of these moments are equally special and memorable.
Q: Any travel tips for a musician?
A: When travelling, I always bring my own pillow on tour if I can, as this can make a huge difference when staying in different hotel beds each night. I also stay hydrated when on the road, particularly when flying. And a big tip for singers is to wear a scarf. I always hated scarves before I realised how wearing one would literally stop me from getting sick or losing my voice on tour 90% of the time! It is a very important tip, I wish I had learned much earlier in my career. But not some flimsy thin little scarf! I am talking about a big thick warm scarf that can protect your throat. Often we come to clubs where there is not enough heat in the building when we arrive or where the backstage does not have enough heat. I live in my scarf on tour. It protects me from many situations I cannot control on the road.
Layla performs at the next Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival in Colne – August 2021.