Dive into the soulful sounds of Alt-Pop artist Dela Kay as she returns with her latest single, "Let You Down." This emotionally charged release signifies a pivotal moment in Dela Kay's musical journey and unveils her raw vulnerability and authentic storytelling prowess. Teaming up with producer Stefano Pigliapoco, the song emerged from a collaboration that ignited creative sparks from the very start. "Let You Down" transcends the conventional boundaries of modern dating, offering listeners a profound glimpse into Dela Kay's odyssey. The genesis of the songwriting process involved Dela Kay envisioning the perspective of the other person in a relationship, a narrative that organically transformed into a poignant exploration of her own emotions—delving into themes of trust, vulnerability, and the haunting fear of self-sabotage. In an interview with Intersect, Dela Kay talked about her background in Nashville and the transformation of her sound.
"Let You Down" offers a personal and vulnerable look into your experiences with modern dating. Could you share some specific experiences or emotions that inspired this song and how you approached translating them into your music?
I think I’ve found myself in a few different situations where I’ve met someone new and everything seems to be great, but as soon as I get to know them all of my past traumas come up and I worry if they can handle all of who I am. It’s the fine balance of enjoying all of the wonderful new exciting feelings while also battling the fear of self-sabotaging and not knowing whether I can trust myself with someone new. I had started dating around casually over the summer and found myself in this exact situation. The vibe with that person felt great but there were so many things going on in my mind as I’m sure it was probably the same for them. I initially started writing the song from what I imagined they might be feeling in the situation and it quickly turned into a reflection of my own feelings about things. I think so many of us find
ourselves dealing with these types of emotions in the modern dating world and I hope my fans can relate to the lyrics and know they’re not alone but also live in that feeling of a new relationship because I think we can all agree it feels really good.
Your musical influences, including artists like The Maine, Maggie Lindemann, Paramore, and Avril Lavigne, are diverse. Can you discuss how these artists have contributed to your unique sound and style, and are there any specific songs or albums by them that have significantly impacted your music?
Paramore, or Hayley Williams, is actually from my hometown in Franklin, TN, so I grew up really listening to their sound a lot. “All I Wanted” and “Where The Lines Overlap”— really that whole album of theirs was my favorite and started getting me into that style of music from a young age as well as everything by Green Day. Green Day was my favorite band growing up and for years when I did musical theatre, they made American Idiot the musical on Broadway, it was the most amazing merging of worlds for me and formed my love for rock/alt/punk music even more. Of course, I’ve always looked up to the princess of punk, Avril Lavigne, like most alt artists. Everything she did as well I always thought was super fun and high energy. Now being in the alt scene a bit more, I’ve fallen in love with bands like The Maine and love the sincerity they have in their lyrics. They’re a band I would love to tour with. I really love their songs. And some of the other artists I listed I feel like have great energy and a dope vibe. I think as an artist we always take little bits from the artists we love and make it our own. And I hope that from admiring all of these artists, I’m now creating something that’s unique and authentic to me.
As an artist, how do you balance the challenge of maintaining your unique voice while drawing inspiration from these influences, and how does this play out in your music, especially in "Let You Down"?
I think at the end of the day, my songwriting ability from growing up in Nashville has really become the foundation of everything I do, and has helped propel me forward into this industry. And I try to let that carry through in my vocal. I wanted “Let You Down” to be uptempo and fun, but also vulnerable and cutting. I think the pairing of the lyrics along with the melody has a lot of sincerity to it. If anything I hope as an artist I maintain a lot of sincerity and vulnerability in my artistry and hope that’s what sets me apart.
"Let You Down" is a significant release. Can you delve into the songwriting process and your creative choices regarding melody, lyrics, and overall sound to convey the complexities of modern dating and your journey?
Well, firstly, I got to write this song with my friend, Stefano Pigliapoco, and the two of us just work really well together. He’s an extremely talented producer, musician and writer and so when we started talking about my dating life and feelings that were coming up it was super easy to kind of do a few melody passes along with the track we had started. And then once we started getting some words coming out,
it became a super solid idea and we just ran with it. We wanted it to feel bouncy and dancey but also super heartfelt and real. I think the balance of the super rock/alt production with the soaring melodies makes it really catchy from a creative perspective but also super personal lyrically. I felt like it came together super well and I’m very happy with what we’ve ended up with.
Your ability to tell genuine stories in your music is emphasized in this release. Could you share more about the stories you aim to speak with, "Let You Down," and how they connect to your broader artistic narrative?
I was so excited to have this song be the first of many songs to be released, because it really is a staple piece to how I would like to be remembered or identified as, as an artist. It is catchy and memorable but it’s also raw and sincere. I aim to be as authentic as possible and work to be as vulnerable as I can be with my songwriting. Of course many songs will be about my romantic life but I think the main thing all of my songs have in common is the ability to remain real and raw no matter how crazy the production gets and “Let You Down” is the perfect example of that. It pairs a bouncy, fun alt/pop production with simple yet real and vulnerable lyrics and that’s how I want to establish myself for being known for in the alt scene.
Your journey as an artist is evolving with each release. What are the most prominent ways you believe you've grown and developed as an artist, particularly in the context of "Let You Down"?
I’ve grown so much in the past few years musically and in my own personal life. I’ve unfortunately experienced a lot of hardship and trauma. Towards the end of 2021, I had a severe concussion, which put me out for months. And then just a couple of months after my concussion, I was sexually assaulted on my first night working a new job I had taken to help pay for my medical treatment for my concussion. I was at my absolute lowest and navigating through a really dark headspace. That was also the year I had paused releasing music for a minute because I was discovering what kind of music I really wanted to do. Those events changed the very core of who I am in more ways than one, but truthfully, it really sent me into the direction of the kind of music I’m making now. I’m becoming more comfortable being raw and vulnerable and being more open about how I’m really feeling. Finally working with my friend Stefano to do these songs was such therapy. He knew exactly the sound I was going for and allowed me to fully focus on melodies and lyrics. “Let You Down” felt like the first time I was finally hearing what I’ve always
imagined my music sounding like in my head, fully coming to life. It’s been super fulfilling making this song and it’s given me the ability to grow in so many ways, pushing myself outside my comfort zone and opening up the door to creating even more songs like this! I’m finding it’s ok to make emo music that feels happy and happy music that feels emo, and “Let You Down” is the perfect combination of all of those things. It has moments of working through complex emotions while also being hopeful and excited. And that’s exactly kind of where I feel like I am in my life right now.
"Let You Down" reflects your roots in the Alternative genre. What about this genre resonates with you, and how do you see your sound evolving within the Alternative music landscape?
I feel like this genre resonates with me the most because of the organic instruments. I grew up in Nashville playing in rock bands at such a young age and when I think of all the artists I admire, they’re all such killer performers. The energy alternative music brings to a live show is unlike any other. And truthfully, I grew up an emo kid and I still am an emo kid. So to resonate with that kind of rage or angst or high-energy type of music feels authentic to me and who I am. And it’s just super fun! Who doesn’t want to be at a rock show? Moving forward in the alternative landscape, I have a lot of different styles and different parts of who I am to still share with my fans. Some stuff is more pop/punk, some more heavy rock-leaning, and then some have a tinge more pop/ bedroom pop vibes. All still falling in the alternative lane. I’m super excited to share with my fans how my whole project has come together!
The music industry is ever-changing, and artists often explore various genres and styles. Do you have any plans or desires to experiment with your musical style in future releases, or will you continue to explore your Alternative roots?
I know I previously mentioned my sound having different influences with each song but I really don’t see me leaving the alternative scene. Overall it fits me as an artist the most and I think no matter what I do at the root of my writing it will always be more alt-leaning. I’m totally open to writing with and for other artists of all genres but for my artist project I plan to stay put.
The song "Let You Down" suggests a degree of self-reflection and introspection. How important is it for you to create entertaining music that allows your audience to reflect on their experiences and emotions?
I feel like that’s the whole point of songwriting, at least for me. I think no matter what you’re writing about, whether it be a song about being super depressed, being in love, or simply just a song to shake ass to, it needs to make people think. Think about their relationships, their life, and what it makes them feel. In all of my songs I work to dig a little deeper than just being a form of entertainment, so that there’s a deeper level of relatability to my listeners and fans.
As you continue to evolve as an artist, what are your aspirations and goals for your music career, and what kind of message or impact do you hope to leave on your audience through your music and storytelling abilities?
I want to be an example to my fans, that no matter what you’ve been through, you can always keep going. To stay true to who you are and live in that truth. There have been many moments in my life where I almost let my anxiety or depression win, and I still have to work daily to keep myself in check, but with perseverance, I have been able to continue making music that I love with people that I love, and I want to encourage my fans in whatever walk of life they're in to keep going and keep the faith because things do get better. As an artist, I hope to continue to grow, play around the world, and never stop creating. I aim to be one of the best songwriters in the industry and will continue to work hard to prove myself and improve myself every year. I ultimately just want to continue having fun and remember why I love doing this. I think we can get so caught up in the rat race of the industry and at the end of the day I’m doing this because my heart depends on it. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.