Lenya Wilks is no stranger to spotlight. This Jamaican born singer has been creating waves since a young age; performing in several music competitions and tearing up stages across the island. She's definitely a force to be reckoned with so it's no surprise that even after a minor disappointment that Lenya would receive the opportunity to tour the world along with fellow industry veteran Beres Hammond. Now, the artist is unleashing her own music and moving the souls of her listeners. After a tremendous period of releasing a stream of heatseekers, Lenya is busy in the studio and getting ready to show the world just how talented she is. Yes! 2012 is inevitably going to be the year of Lenya.
Check out the music video for her sultry single "I Hate Love," and read the interview below to learn more:
EY: Tell us a little about Lenya. Where are you from originally and how did music become apart of your life?
LW: I am from the quiet quasi-rural community of Ewarton in Saint Catherine, Jamaica. I attended Charlemont High School and literally sang my way through school. From my first form year I led my high school senior choir and helped my school to many championship victories. Throughout my high School years I’ve won twenty-two gold medals and five trophies. I have been singing from I was a child; music has always been a part of my life. The Digicel competition brought me into the homes of the wider Jamaica, my three years with Beres Hammond introduced me to the hearts of many across the world. I started on my solo career path in 2011 with Zx5 Productions, under the direction of my manager; Sam Berley, I have six released tracks and I’m in preparation mode for my debut album.
EY: Describe your style.
LW: My style is pretty eclectic with a bit of edge, its trendy but not faddish, I chose pieces that I like and which represent who I am and the image I want to project. Musically, I am deep and I sing from my soul.
EY: Who are some of your musical influences?
LW: My musical influences are quite diverse and spans several genres; it ranges from my reggae roots through R&B to Pop. The legendary Bob Marley and of course Mr. Beres Hammond are very instrumental.
EY: You were a top contender in 2007’s Digicel Rising Star, the Jamaican version of American Idol. Can you explain how being on the show has impacted your life?
LW: The Digicel competition took me into the homes and hearts of Jamaicans, it gave me an opportunity to showcase my talent for several weeks and it served as the launching pad for my career because it put the name Lenya Wilks out there. Even now, some four years later, most people still remember me from that competition. I’ll be eternally grateful for the doors which Digicel opened for me and continues to open for others like me.
EY: After leaving the show you received the opportunity to tour Europe, the US, and Canada, along with industry veteran Beres Hammond. What was the experience like?
LW: The experience of working and touring with Beres Hammond can be described as incredible and invaluable. Touring all of those places is by itself a thrill but when paired with opening for the great Beres Hammond, I can hardly find words to express how exciting those times were.
“I like to immerse myself and be one with my music.”
EY: Fast forward years later and you’re now getting your own music out there. What do you hope people will take from your songs?
LW: I hope people see me as an artiste who has grown over these years and is now putting out some really good music, music they can identify with as they go through their daily lives be it happiness or pain. I sing from my heart and I really hope I can uplift the spirit of my fans and also produce some songs for the times when they need someone to share their pain.
EY: There’s a lot of emotion in your voice when you sing. Where does that come from, where do you get the inspiration to perform so intensely?
LW: The inspiration comes from within. I bare my soul in the songs. I like to immerse myself and be one with my music. I have an innate love for music and it just comes out through my vocals.
EY: “I Hate Love” is such a sad but beautiful song. What’s the story behind it?
LW: The track ‘I hate love’ is pure artistic expression. My manager wrote the track and I used my vocals to bring it to life. In life hurt sometimes invariably follows love and we can either blame the other person or we can blame love; as in the case of this song.
EY: Your recent single, “Baby Come To Me,” has a lighter mood. What inspired that song?
LW: All my tracks were written by my manager. We started with a R&B track [I Hate Love] then we did a pop track titled ‘Stalker’. ‘Baby Come To Me’ was time for a reggae track. We believe that music is universal and it serves diverse appetites. It is for this reason that I cannot be confined to one genre of music. Let there be something for everyone in my catalogue.
EY: How’s the process going for your debut album and can you give us some details about the concept?
LW: The process is going well. We believe that the process of this album must be carefully thought through because it will represent my first collective impression on people.
“…now, it’s not just about ten contestants in a competition it’s competing on a much larger scale in a vast industry and every day is a final.”
EY: When are you planning on releasing it?
LW: I’m targeting first quarter of next year.
EY: How have you evolved since your days of competing in musical contests to where you are now as a solo artist?
LW: I have grown significantly as an artist, I was fortunate to have worked with Mr. Hammond which played a significant role in my development but I still have a long way to go if I want to be taken seriously as an artist on the world stage. There are many greats before me, all of whom have set incredible high standards. I must evolve in my creativity and craft because now, it’s not just about ten contestants in a competition it’s competing on a much larger scale in a vast industry and every day is a final.
EY: What’s next for Lenya Wilks?
LW: Promoting my released singles so I can become more visible to my fans and promoters as I seek to get on more shows. Continuing to work in the studio to put the finishing touches on the album. I’m also very excited about a collaboration I’m doing with one of Jamaica’s top reggae artist. Essentially it’s about positioning myself on the road to achieving my ultimate goal which is to make a name in the world music industry.
EY: Thanks so much for taking the time. Please leave a message for your fans around the world, and any tips for those trying to break into the music industry.
LW: Thank you for inviting me to share my dreams with your readers. To my fans I say many, many thanks for all the support over the years but my true test has only just begun and I’ll need you now more than ever, and I vow to make you all proud. Perseverance is important for anyone trying to break in this industry, stay true to self, try to learn the business side of the music and surround yourself with smart supportive people who are there to help build your dreams. And most of all remember; “not everyone who walks beside you is on your side”.
Find out more about Lenya by visiting the following link: