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Saturday, March 14, 2020
Lila Ike Interview
The straight-shooting, free-spirited, yet easy-going singer who belts soulful tunes with a velvety smooth voice. Born and raised in the cool hills of Manchester, Lila attended the Manchester High School where her love for music truly started to form.
Affectionately labeled the ‘class clown’, Lila was usually in the position where she would be asked to create jingles on spot for class presentations or just be caught in class ‘freestyling’ with her friends.
She’s cites influencers from a wide range of genres- from pop to lover’s rock to rhythm and blues. She even goes as far as to describe herself as an ‘old soul’- often channeling the soulful sounds of influencers like Garnet Silk, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys and more.
Lila Iké was born Alecia Grey, the second oldest of four sisters; she chose the name Lila, which means blooming flower, and Iké, a Yoruba word meaning the Power of God. Her mother, an avid music fan, played an assortment of genres at home: reggae, country and western, R&B, gospel and jazz, which was significant in shaping the vocal versatility that characterizes Lila's traditional reggae sound with a glistening modern edge. "Dancehall was the only music my mother didn't play at home because its lyrics (sometimes) aren't really child friendly, so when I started writing my own songs, I wrote conscious lyrics that my mother would want to play in the house," said the singer. Recognizing the financial stress her mother endured providing for four children, Lila quit Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, about 40 minutes from Christiana, where she was studying to become a teacher, and found work at a call center in Kingston, over two hours away. Lila, admittedly, didn't know what a call center was, nonetheless, she relocated to Jamaica's capital, determined to make her own way and pursue her dream of a musical career. Lila performed wherever she could, including at open mic Saturday nights at Jamnesia, a seaside venue (located in Bull Bay, about 20 minutes outside of Kingston) where many Jamaican artists who have shot to prominence over the past 10 years honed their performing skills, including Chronixx, Jah9, Kabaka Pyramid, NoMaddz, Raging Fyah and Protoje.