After making the decision to make her new album available for free online, Toya Delazy explains why and talks about her musical journey.
Please, tell us about your new album.
The album’s name is Ascension. It’s about rising as humanity to points we never thought we could ever reach. It’s about knowing which rules to make and which ones to breach. Ascension has songs that dealing with having a bad boss, and not being able to make a decision about what career you want; songs about loving forbidden fruit and being different from others; and songs that enlighten people about the solidarity that there is in being yourself and carving your path.
How different is Ascension from your previous albums?
My first album Due Drop was about breaking free, accepting who you are, comforting your heart, dealing with loss, and loving like you never been hurt before; it was about dreaming to become. I called it Due Drop by playing on the word dew, which is the first to cover a blade of grass in the early morning, symbolising a fresh new start full of ambition and promise. Ascension is the second chapter of my story, after breaking free from fears and going for the things I have dreamt of; it is about the becoming and creating the person you want to be.
You’re now independent as an artist – how is that working for you and what challenges are you facing?
I am half-independent; it’s great because I control more of my music direction and artistry, but it has limitations as it’s not full control. At times, it works out as an inconvenience and restriction.
You disappeared from the music scene for a while. What were you up to?
I decided to get out of Joburg to clear my mind. I went through a time where too many people were talking to me, and I was losing myself and my main message that I began with was dwindling in the mix of what the label wanted me to be. You see, Delazy existed before the label was there, and that mission I set for myself is a journey I allowed everyone to join. I went to Cape Town to reconnect to myself, lived close to the beach, I traveled extensively so that I could find myself in the different cultures and be part of a global culture. I visited Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, Thailand, England, Amsterdam, Paris. Through this entire journey, Ascension was brought to being.
How would you label your sound?
I call it a soulful mix of Jazz, Electro, Hop, Pop, JEHP. It’s a mix of all the genres I love – I’m a classical and jazz trained pianist. I have been playing since the age of nine, studied at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal, graduated from Creative Arts College in Durban, so as mad as this mix sounds, I know what I’m doing and judging by the response, you guys love it too!
What else can your fans expect from you this year besides music?
Expect music, music and music! My fans are going to connect globally with other fans from all over the world. It’s already begun – to know more check my Facebook www.facebook.com/toyadelazy. People can also expect a tour organized in a way that has never been seen before. I can’t tell you more yet – the team is currently working on it. I’m also in chats with an international clothing brand, so expect some fashion too!
Who are your musical influences?
Claude Debussy, Tracy Chapman, Nirvana, Amy Winehouse and B. Lewis.
What has been your fans response to Ascension?
They love it! They say it’s futuristic, and makes them feel empowered and invincible.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced as an artist?
My music label and I have a rocky relationship. It used to be great when we first released Due Drop, but then I felt as though they became complacent and I wasn’t done pushing forward. I guess I have grown to a point where I feel mature enough to handle my career, independent of my label. Being in a huge corporation means you have to fight for attention and it takes long for decisions to be made; you lose your fluidity. It’s great for when you are up and coming, but once you find your feet, the label should let you stand and not try sink your boat. It kills creativity and motivation, that’s the worst thing for a performing artist whose life is based on just being an artist.
Who is your biggest competition in the industry right now?
It’s hard to say who my competition is in my genre, cause I am in my own lane, with incredible fans that engage with me. We connect, chat, hang out – I love them so much! You can’t see what we are doing from a distance, but one day, when it all falls in place you will understand why I’d say I have no competition. I am my own competition.
What is the one thing about yourself/music that you want your fans to know?
It’s made out of love, and should make you feel something. When you are low, I want to make you feel better. My music is a spiritual turn up! Call it what you will, it has no age restriction and all it needs is a mind that’s ready to be healed. It’s what I do, and I want to share it all with you!