Check out our interview with Singer-Songwriter, and record-maker Chayla Hope, who has teamed up with Initial Talk [Dua Lipa collaborator] for the release of her “Long Way” remix.
Given the retro sound that “Long Way” already exudes, the song is a tribute to the sounds of the new jack swing era, and Initial Talk’s remix pushed the song in a ‘90s house direction, referencing the sounds of the Chicago scene in particular to unlock new melodic frontiers for Chayla’s topline vocal.
Follow Chayla @chaylahope
Hi Chayla, please tell us a little about you?
I’m a queer Jewish pop singer who loves anything that sparkles. I did drag for years and was a machinist at the same time. I didn’t realize how much my life was like the movie ‘Flashdance’ until now! When I love, I love deeply… which is very often.
We’re sure you have been asked this million times, but how did you get in the industry?
I swear it’s in my blood. There’s truly never been anything I’ve wanted more than to do what I’m doing now.
How has this changed your life?
It is my life. My need to create possesses every spare moment. It might sound silly, but my musical career is everything and I’ve never been more fulfilled or stressed out at the same time.
Describe your sound in 3 words?
Dancy, dramatic and vulnerable.
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
My family has always dabbled in music. One of my earliest memories is jumping off my dad’s guitar amp and pointing at our home camera like a rock star while belting out the words to “Wild Thing.” He introduced me to Jeff Buckley, who is still an abiding inspiration to this day. My mom frequently blared Celine Dion around the house, which I like to think informed my love of dramatic vocals. I’ve also found inspiration in the fearless artistry of Annie Lennox and Robyn, who has my heart.
Do you play any instruments?
Many, but for writing and performing, my top three are piano/synth, guitar and theremin.
Tell us about your new single “Long Way”? What’s the story behind the song?
I wrote “Long Way” with my producer at the time during the sessions for my debut album Damn, Feelings as a total nod to the production style of Janet Jackson and Quincy Jones. It’s about telling someone “hey, you can totally count on me for the most part…but don’t expect me to always be around!”
How was working with Initial Talk?
It was a dream come true. Initial Talk has been on my bucket list of people to work with ever since I heard his remix of the Perfume Genius song “On The Floor” back in 2020. I still can’t believe it happened, to be honest. When we got the remix, I was so excited I burnt my breakfast!
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
Creating in all aspects, from writing music to making my own clothes that speak to my creative vision. Most of all, I’d say it’s hearing from people who have been touched and empowered by my work. It makes the world a little more beautiful and a little less lonely.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
To listen to myself, and not always be so trusting. At the end of the day, everything comes down to me. I’ve also learned to remind myself that I am an artist, producer and songwriter, and that no one can take that away from me.
What advice would you give to your younger self and why?
To not shy away from what makes me me. People think I’ve always been bold and brave, but, the truth is, if I pushed through the fear a little more earlier in my career, I’d have a lot more experiences and memories to enjoy.
What’s next for Chayla Hope in 2023?
Before going full-time into music, I used to press vinyl at Gotta Groove Records. This spring, I will return to Gotta Groove Records to press the full-length vinyl for Damn, Feelings, which will be released with Wax Mage Records this summer! There is of course new music coming and some visual art as well!
How would you explain your fashion style?
It truly depends on the day! It’s all self expression and changes a lot. The common theme is the Midwest is a little scared of me haha. I’d say sweet with a little darkness. Most days, I’m glam to the heavens and love a good suit.
What is your own definition of happiness?
The personal meaning of success: breaking out of comfort zones and proving I can do more than I thought I could. I’m happiest when I’m in studio writing.
If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Whitney Houston or Betty White. Whitney to make me a better singer, and Betty to make me a better person 💗
Do you support any charity?
I’m a huge advocate for animal adoption and rescue. Instead of doing a music video for my single “Forget Me Not,” I donated the budget to German NGO WildatLife—to aid in their important anti-poaching work saving monkeys, lions and elephants—and the Sacramento County Bradshaw Animal Shelter’s TEAM Bradshaw to help with their ongoing animal rescue work.
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
In the studio writing, playing shows, helping more animals and continuing to make a name for myself in music.
What is your favorite song to belt out in the car/for karaoke?
Pat Benatar’s “We Belong.”
What do you think of Social Media?
It’s helpful for getting the word out about your art, but I think it’s mostly harmful for musicians. Promoting yourself is a 24/7 job that can take away from your music and makes it difficult to base your worth on anything other than followers and likes, but i do enjoy when it brings people together 💗
Where can we follow you?
My website chaylahope.com and on your social media platform of choice (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube) as @chaylahope.
Book: I really love Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel The Sandman.
Quote: A comment that I recently saw on TikTok: “They mourn us while we truly live.”
Movie: I’m a huge fan of horror movies, but I’d have to say ‘High Fidelity.’
Tv Series: The Golden Girls
Favorite Food: Mango Sticky Rice
Travel Destination: Scotland
Sports Team: The Cleveland Cavaliers
Photo Credit: Lindsey Poyar