Rayla is an emerging singer-songwriter, who at the age of 17, has an impressive resume of songwriting and stage credits. She’s been handpicked to open for such heavy hitters like Daya, Olivia Holt, and Jana Kramer. She recently went on the Initiation 2.0 tour, opening for 4th Ave. She also sang the theme song, “Just Wanna Go” to Disney Channel’s new series, Fast Layne.
Rayla began writing her own songs when she was just five years old and credits Halsey, Camilla Cabello, Taylor Swift, and Ed Sheeran as her major influences. We chatted with Rayla about her love of playing guitar, what kind of guitar she wants to play, her new EP, touring and much more.
Although it’s known that you’re primarily known for your singing and songwriting, you also love to play guitar. Can you tell us your history with it?
Rayla: Well, I wanted to get a guitar for my eleventh birthday, because of Taylor Swift. I didn’t know how to play it, I just know that I wanted one. So, I was in Florida, and on my eleventh birthday, I spent hours at Guitar Center picking out my very first guitar, which I do still have. But now, I play a Luna. I’ve had my guitar for, I think I’ve had it for five years. And it’s still together, still in one piece, so that’s my girl.
Is there any other guitar that you really want to play, that you haven’t been able to get yet?
Rayla: I like Martins, and I would eventually like to get a black Martin acoustic because I’ve played those before and I think they sound absolutely beautiful. I just am living with my Luna for now, and then eventually, that’s the goal.
Now, I love the fact that you’ve been hand-picked to open shows for hit artists like Fetty Wap, Daya, and Olivia Holt, among many others. When you were hand-picked to open the shows for these artists, what was your initial reaction to all of it? Was it shocking, overwhelming, what were you feeling?
Rayla: The very first artist that I opened up for that was big was Jana Kramer. I remember getting that email, and I was a huge fan of hers, and I actually cried when I met her. I remember we got the email, and I was like, wait, do I have to audition? Is this an audition? Do we have to pay money? Do we have to pay money to open? And no, they just emailed me and asked me and I was like, of course. So then after that, I had all these other opportunities. It’s just been so cool to sort of be on the same level and watch the artists perform and do their thing, and just study and get to know them. They’ve all been – I’ve had no bad experiences so far – they’ve all been really amazing, and every experience is different and better than the next, so it’s awesome.
Absolutely, that is awesome. Is there an artist that you really want to share the stage with that you haven’t yet?
Rayla: Yeah, right now I’m very into Post Malone. I would love to do a song with him. But I think it would be really cool to perform with Taylor Swift because I feel like her sets are just huge and fun and amazing, and very detailed. So it would be fun to share the stage with her
You’re currently on tour with 4th Ave; what’s that been like so far? What’s your favorite thing about touring?
Rayla: That’s been awesome, getting to know all the guys. I loved touring with another girl, her name’s Asia Nine, and it’s become like a little close family. We’re all experiencing the same thing, and we’re all on the same level, and just going through the same stuff. It’s kinda cool to just have people that understand it. We’ve been having an awesome time. My favorite part is definitely performing because I feel like that’s the time when I really get to be intimate with the audience. For me, I like to go onstage and see who I’m singing to, to talk to them. That’s definitely been extremely rewarding, and I’m really happy with it.
That’s awesome, I love it. How is it with the guys of 4th Ave, do you guys hang out on the tour bus and all that stuff, or is it just you?
Yeah, I do travel with my team, and they travel with their team. But before the show, in their green room and stuff, we’ll hang out before everyone goes on. Then, usually we’ll have to get back on the bus and go straight to the next venue, but we watched the Super Bowl, we had dinner while we watched the Super Bowl, so yeah, we’ve hung out and gotten to know each other. They’re really awesome guys and really talented.
You recently released your EP, Alter Ego. What was it like writing and recording for it?
Rayla: I’m very excited about it! Basically, it’s just a lot of my personality put into my songs. This EP is very fun, and I wrote most of these songs within the last six months or so. It’s just been fun because picking the songs that were going to be on it, and creating and watching it all come to life has been really cool, just because I’ve never really released a whole bundle of songs.
So what’s next after your tour with 4th Ave and your release of your EP? Are you going to do more shows?
Rayla: That’s hopefully on the horizon, but at the same time, with the release of my EP, I also sing the theme song to the Disney Channel’s newest series, Fast Lane. Then hopefully more music and all of that.
That’s always good, I love that. I love stories like that. Stories where you can get along and enjoy each other’s company. My next questions for you are fun questions. Who was your first concert?
Rayla: I think it was Hannah Montana, and it was Hannah and the Jonas Brothers. I’m 90 percent sure that’s my very first thing that I remember is Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers, and I went with my mom and my sister. But I don’t think I had a very good time because there was a lady behind me who screamed the whole time. It was my first concert, so I was like, what? But it was awesome. It was fun to see – I kinda got to get a glimpse of that with Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers and all that, so it was cool.
So speaking of, you just told me who your first concert was, what was your first album on CD?
Rayla: I don’t remember which one, because I don’t remember what my first album was that I bought. I don’t remember that because before that, I was just listening to my dad’s songs, and my mom’s songs, and all that. I want to say maybe it was Hannah Montana too.
So who are your top five artists or albums you wouldn’t want to live without?
Rayla: I’m going to have to say this is a hard question because I love all different types of music. But, right now, I would say Halsey is one of them. Julia Michaels’ newest EP is really cool. I’ve been really into Lady Gaga like the whole “A Star is Born” thing, I’ve been really into that. Who are some old ones that I liked a lot? Oh, this is so difficult. I have people who I’m thinking of now, and it’s people that I used to love and now are back. Ariana Grande, I think she’s pretty cool, and I’m excited for her new album coming out. Who’s the last one? Well, what’s yours? What’s your last one?
Rayla: Yeah, see? It’s hard because there’s just so many, and it’s just so hard. All right, I’ll say Post Malone. I forgot about him. Post Malone.
Which one? His new one or Stoney?
Rayla: That’s not fair. Both of them.
Do you have a guilty music or entertainment pleasure?
Rayla: I don’t know. I mean, that’s hard, because there’s one band that I’m in to, but I feel like not a lot of people know that I listen to. Twenty One Pilots. Yeah, I think they’re really cool, and I saw them live and fell in love with them. I guess I don’t really tell many people that I listen to them. But I think they’re really talented.