Music artist, activist, and fashion muse Layla Kardan unveils “Loyalty”, another cut from her upcoming EP Abscission, set for release on 26th February 2021. With the help of producer and co-writer Juan Ariza, whose production credits include Dua Lipa’s “Pretty Please”, Layla Kardan creates a dark musical world full of strange, scary, ear-crackling sounds over which she lays her vulnerable vocals and emotionally gutting lyrics offering vivid snapshots and dissections of her complex love relationships. “Loyalty” says Layla is a song about “taking a stance before entering a new relationship by laying your cards out instead of re-enacting the same toxic patterns, because Loyalty doesn’t come easy”, she enthuses. Her deep self-reflection and personal growth through the song result in a new found unapologetic poise, her innocence replaced with a truth-telling filled story, bolstered by her ability to influence emotion.
Directed by Michel Takla, the conceptual and brooding visuals accompanying the track tackle social issues Layla has been advocating for, the inclusion and representation of black Arabs in the UAE and the tradition of arranged marriages. Layla explains, “We shot the video before the BLM protests in the USA started, while editing the footage with the director we felt it was important to leave the scene between the Sudanese and the white actors. Anti-blackness has long been a problem in our region but it is rarely discussed.”
Styled by creative director Rabih Rowell, another important figure in the emerging ME fashion scene – Layla wears a black couture dress by avant-garde fashion brand ORAZ, the collection designed by Anna Yinan Zhou is based off of her own heartbreak, the dress became a way to express how the relationship made her feel – like she was choking, which perfectly represents the profound unhappiness and spiritual death young Middle East women go through when forced to marry men they don’t love.
Layla is a Third Culture Kid, born in Belgium with Persian roots and Australian nationality, she currently lives in Dubai, her cross cultural background has influenced her music, which is deeply rooted in human nature and aims to transcend cultural boundaries. Part of the new scene of artists redefining the Sound of the Middle East, Layla is more of a music artist, from working with charities including Unicef on the education of refugee children, to collaborating with some of the biggest fashion brands and including Jean Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel, as well as publications including Harpers Bazaar, GQ, Grazia, Vogue, and Esquire, with the latter awarding her their Musician of The Year in 2018.
“Loyalty” shows a mature artist capable of creating powerful self-empowering R&B-tinged dark-pop, filled with tales of love and loss.