How Soulstress LayFullStop Creates a Relationship Between Poetry and Music.
She opened for Masego at the Bristol stop of his 2018 UK Tour, and since releasing her debut album Colour Reaction, LayFullStop is definitely one to watch this year. The Birmingham native seamlessly blends her soulful sound with an eclectic mix of singing and rapping to create songs you can’t help but vibe with.
LayFullStop’s love of lyricism navigates her creative process, providing her with the tools for inner thoughts to come to life. As a young child, she developed an interest in literature and poetry and this passion for verse “evolved into singing and rapping” as she got older. In Colour Reaction, it is obvious that the words are what shape the songs. “Sometimes it’s singing, sometimes it’s rapping, I don’t really distinguish it. It’s whatever comes out of my mouth to be honest”, and it is this ambivalence towards her vocal delivery that sharpens LayFullStop’s unique melody. Within one song, there is a combination of jazz, soul and hip-hop influences, perfectly balanced and never letting one style be compromised by another.
Describing herself as a “woman of art”, LayFullStop’s sweet tones provide a breath of fresh air to the UK music scene. Defining her work as art is no exaggeration. You can feel the emotion in every song, and how each beat means something to her,
LayFullStop’s music is more than just sound; the poetic nature of her songs share something intimate, “the only way to sum up [my music] is that it’s personal, and it’s how I feel”.
LayFullStop’s unique sound is both eccentric and headstrong in its delivery. Taking inspiration from people such as Erykah Badu, Estelle, Ella Mai and Janelle Monáe, it is clear that she has a preference for artists who are vocal in expressing their ideas. The authentic nature of LayFullStop’s music stems from her love of musicians who “stand for something other than the music, and that is someone worth looking up to”. As a female artist in a profession dominated by men, LayFullStop feels the importance to make music that represents her views in an honest and transparent fashion.
It is with a similar straightforward approach that we see LayFullStop’s in her music videos. Depicted against everyday, urban settings, her energy and effervescence light up the surroundings, bringing derelict scenes back to life; in Bohemian Queen, her animated moves transform a construction site into the perfect dancefloor. She exuberates confidence whilst rapping “you don’t know me and you cannot waste my time. You don’t know me and you’re not worth all my time”. Such displays of self-assurance are important to the creative process for this talented artist, wanting to inspire her listeners to feel “strength and solidarity”.
LayFullStop’s music and messages encompass “personal, vulnerable, mysterious and subliminal” vibes that aim to engage listeners with the “energy” curated in her sound. Her lyrics possess an empowering tone that is subtler and more nuanced than her contemporaries. And it is this energy that boldly shines through when seeing her perform on stage and listening to her rap. We hope to see this “soulstress” continue to flourish and grow as an artist, receiving the recognition she deserves.
You can follow Layfullstop on Instagram @layfullstop
Photography: Derrick Kakembo
Words: Timi Sotire
Film edited by: Ewa Magdalena