Meet London-born UK Open Mic performer Layla Mai Knight:
Hi Layla Mai Knight, thanks for joining us! Let’s get into it:
Do you play solo only, or also in a group?
How old are you?
Where were you born?
Where did you grow up?
How did that place influence your music? (if at all!)
The area I grew up had no influence with my music now or then, but my musical influences came from my mum and dad. My mum loves funk and soul, we always have the legendary Prince, Soul to Soul and Joyce Simms playing round the house. My dad loves rock and indie, listening to Biffy Clyro, The Black Keys and Arctic Monkeys both of us head banging and learning how to air guitar. I have the best of both worlds and I think this did have an influence on my music today, as my two main influences are Florence and the Machine (Indie Alternative Rock) and Paloma Faith (Soul/R&B) My parents come with me to all of my open mics! I love them with all my heart! they are my number one supporters ! I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done for me, I am very very grateful to have beautiful supportive parents!
Where are you based now, and why?
I am based in London!
What got you into making music in the first place?
I started in Musical Theatre from very young. I needed help with a singing part in one of the shows I was doing, so I started taking singing lessons when I was 11yrs old and have been doing this ever since then. I did my singing grades which helped with my music theory and technique. This made me fall in love with music, learning songs and performing them. The excited feeling of learning a song is incredible! so I started to learn more and more and more!
What instrument/s do you play?
Who would be in your top 10 musical influences, and why?
Paloma Faith Florence and the Machine Lorde
Amy Winehouse Aurora Arctic Monkeys Prince Jorja Smith Joy Crookes
Do you write your own songs?
How many years have you been writing songs for?
I have started writing my own songs. I have written a song, which will be my first ever debut single. I am very proud of this song and I think the message will empower loads of people. It is a very powerful song and I can’t wait to sing it to everyone. This is a huge step in my musical career as a lot of people I know as some have seen my journey from the very first performance.
What process, or processes, do you often find yourself using when you write songs?
For writing my first original, the process was a little different to the normal way most people write their songs in. I started writing poems and ideas down, then a melody came. With this melody I fitted in the lyrics that I wanted like a jigsaw piece until I finished my song. the instrumentation came later on. I also have started to co- write with other artists/musicians!
How long have you been playing open mic nights?
Why did you get into playing them in the first place?
I got into open mics because I wanted to gain more experience performing to a range audiences. I also did this because I wanted to grow my confidence and self belief, I started when I was 16.
What advice would you give new performers who are just starting out playing their first open mics?
Just go for it! every musician has been through the same experience as you once! so I say: give it your all when when performing, enjoy and afterwards talk to everyone! that’s where you meet amazing people to work with, incredible friends and more followers on your social media! Also when performing take up space! this will show to people that you know what your doing and showing your self confidence shine! Also I would recommend to talk to the host before they start the night, to get to know them and to introduce yourself as they are the most nicest, talented people ever!
What’s the most bizarre, or fun, open mic, or gig, you’ve ever played, and why?
One of the most enjoyable gigs I played at was opening for a lovely artist at The Escape Bar in Shepherds Bush! This was a brilliant night as we all performed our sets and then after the gig was finished, we all jammed into the early hours of the morning! This built a lovely community and afterwards it felt like a second family! One of the most enjoyable Open Mics was the Two Bridges in London Bridge! I was fortunate to be a Featured Artist! This was great the energy was INSANE even on a Monday!! Lovely lovely people, host and venue!
If it’s not already, are you hoping to make music your full-time career?
What’s the one truth about you that people often find surprising?
During my time at school, nobody knew that I could sing! Not.A.Soul , my friends never knew either! This really shocked my closest friends when I told them that I was singing at open mics at the age of 16 and I was just starting to put snippets of my singing on Instagram!
What’s the most exciting project you’re working on at the moment?
My first debut single!
Do you have your own music video, channel or playlist you’d like to share?
Where is the main place should people go to find out more about you?
We’re done! Anything else you want to share before we go?