In an exclusive interview with INTERSECT, we delve into the world of the multi-talented artist Kayla DiVenere as she unveils her latest single, "Date Myself." With this release, Kayla presents a fresh and deliberate alt-leaning pop sound that reflects her maturity as an artist. Remarkably, at just 19 years old, her music skillfully encapsulates the complex journey of young adulthood with her irresistibly catchy yet introspective lyrics. Through "Date Myself," Kayla candidly addresses the challenges of modern dating culture and the inevitable disappointments that accompany it.
Your new single, "Date Myself," conveys a message of self-empowerment and self-love. What's the inspiration behind the song and what message do you hope your listeners take away from it?’
"Date Myself" was born randomly. I was talking to my mom one day. I was venting about all the bad dates I've been on and how frustrated I am. And it was like, "Mom, I want to date myself now"—just joking. And then I thought, wait, that's a cool concept, and I wrote it down in my notes. I have a full hour-long page of notes in my phone of just a bunch of song ideas I randomly get. At the studio the following week, I said, “Guys, I need to write about this.” It worked and flew out naturally. When it was over with, I was like, oh, this is so sick. I feel like many people could relate to it. It's so hard to find your person, and it's so hard to go on so many dates, and it's the feeling of constantly being let down. So many people can relate to it in that sense of just being let down by other people and heartbreak and everything and saying, I want to date myself at this point.
You've mentioned that "Date Myself" is about venting frustrations with modern dating culture. What specific experiences or aspects of dating inspired you to create this song, and how did you channel those emotions into your music?
I have been in relationships. I channel every emotion that I don't understand. Every time I experience something, I word-vomit into my notes. I turn it into something tangible. That's when I write a song about it, and it just makes me feel like a huge weight lifts off my shoulders. That's why I love songwriting: to take the emotions that are in my body and turn them into something that I can listen back to. It feels like a physical thing that I'm plucking out of my body and taking out all that negative energy.
You describe "Date Myself" as a song that celebrates spending time alone and being comfortable with high standards. Can you elaborate on the importance of self-love and self-acceptance in your life and how it influenced the creation of this track?
Self-love is a constant journey. Growing up is hard, especially as a teenage girl, and it's easy to compare yourself on social media. Growing up as a teenage girl is also complex and a constant battle of self-love, but I have made it a priority lately, which has been fantastic for me. I encourage everyone to strengthen their relationship with themselves before getting into anything with anyone, even just a friendship. Everyone is a reflection of you, and everything that you see is a reflection of you. If you work on that relationship with yourself, it makes everything better. You're the only person that you're going to be with for the rest of your life. You have to make it a good relationship. And getting to know myself better does positively affect my art. Right now, just because of the journey that I'm on, I've been making music that feels authentic to me versus the past. I didn't understand myself and what I wanted, and it wasn't as genuine. That journey has been improving a lot.
Speaking of your journey, as an artist who started acting at a young age and has now transitioned to music, can you talk about the creative differences between acting and music and how these two art forms complement each other through your journey?
It's wild. Acting and music– they're both different but similar at the same time. It's weird, but with acting, you have a script. You fall into the role and try to connect as many parts of you into that role. But it's like written out for you. Whereas in music, it's just a free-for-all. You could show yourself to the world in any way that you want to. It's more connected to yourself because you are the artist versus falling into a set role. But the main thing that ties them together is the vulnerability aspects where you need to be vulnerable. It's so hard to break down that barrier of vulnerability that is scary. I still think vulnerability is creepy, but growing up doing both, I have become a lot more comfortable with it, and just showing that vulnerability and making it more like a weapon than being scared of it.
In your music, your lyrics capture the highs and lows of young adulthood. Could you give us some insight into some of the themes or experiences that you explore in your songs that relate to this stage of life?
Mostly, my songs are just about things I experienced growing up, you know–heartbreak, betrayal, trust–really themes in general that everyone goes through growing up. I write things that people can relate to because I know that that has helped me so much growing up. Every time I was going through something, I always would find a song that said it ideally, and I would listen to it repeatedly until I felt better. I hope that my music can do that for some people.
You've mentioned that your music has a more mature and intentional alt-leaning pop sound. Can you share the evolution of your musical style and how you arrived at this particular sound for your new tracks?
It's been a journey. My dad brought me up on classic rock like Queen, ACDC, and Led Zeppelin. And I was really into that. And then, you know, growing up, in my pre-teen years, I got really into pop. And then, in my later teen years, I was really into indie. And everything I've listened to up to this moment has made me who I am today. And so it's a big mixture of everything that I've heard. Growing up in the music industry and just having so many people's opinions about what music you should make has taught me a big lesson because I was confused at one point. After all, people said, “Yeah, I see you as being this; I see you making music this way.” I'm like, okay, Well, if they see me like that, then that's probably what I am. I would start making music that sounded like what other people wanted me to make. It did not feel great to me, and I didn't know why, but something was wrong. When I finally just started listening to myself and started making the music that I wanted to make and that I wanted to sing and that felt a thousand percent authentic to me was when I was really like, okay, this is sick.
You transitioned from Montreal to Los Angeles – How did this change in the environment influence your creative process and artistic growth?
Moving from Montreal to LA was wild. It was a massive culture shock. And I was so confused when I got here. The people are a lot different. There are good and bad aspects everywhere, but it did help my creative aspect, being around like-minded people. What I love about LA is that everyone has a dream here, and everyone is chasing that dream, and everyone will do anything to get there, which can be scary sometimes. I love being surrounded by like-minded, driven people. It inspires me. And to have friends in the arts, it's so cool, jamming out together and just talking about things and encouraging each other. So that's been one thing that I liked moving here.
What are the next steps for you in your music journey? Can fans expect an upcoming EP?
I plan to release an acoustic version of “Date Myself,” which I'm excited about. Within the new year, I also will release a ton of singles that I have lined up because they're all currently living on my computer. Then, I'm going to work my way up to an EP. I've always wanted to release a body of work. That will be fun. I’m looking forward to it.
As a young artist, what advice would you offer to other aspiring musicians looking to find their unique voice and make their mark in the music industry based on your experiences and journey so far?
I would tell them to experiment without any boundaries. It's easier to understand what you like once you try many different things and see what's right. Living back to what I said before, make music for you and not for anyone else and not what anyone else tells you that you need to make. Just try to do what feels true to you and what you love. Be authentic to yourself.