Ivory Layne: Your New Favorite with Good Girl Guilt

emilytreadgold #3, Features

Raised in a musical family, Ivory Layne discovered her own passion for music at 14, inspired by artists like Imogen Heap, Arcade Fire, and Coldplay. Through platforms like Patreon, Ivory shares her music and the stories behind her songs, forging a deeper connection with her fans. Join us as we delve into Ivory Layne's artistic evolution and explore the heartfelt inspiration behind her music.

How did you get started in music? 

Ivory Layne: I come from a really musical family. My dad is musical, and my mom has always been into writing,  poetry, and things like that. So I was very inspired from an early age, but it wasn't until I was around 14 that I started listening to Imogen Heap, Arcade Fire, and Coldplay. Those three artists really inspired me to start writing music for myself. And get into production as well. 

That's awesome. I love Coldplay. You said some of your musical inspirations growing up; who would your favorite artist be or your favorite song? 

Ivory Layne: I'm pretty true to the favorites I've had over the years. It's very rare that I branch out and listen to new music. I'm trying to be better about that. My favorite for years has been "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel. I love Peter Gabriel's music. I love his production and the art and intentionality he puts behind everything. 

My favorite song other than "In Your Eyes" would be Viva La Vida by Coldplay. The track is so good and inspiring, and it has an amazing drive. I also have no clue what the lyrics mean, and I don't want anyone to explain them to me. I like that I don't know what it means. 

And the third one, I would say favorite song wise and just an incredible artist Tori Amos, her song "Cornflake Girl." 

Those three songs, if I'm having a bad day, or I need to be inspired, or I'm in the car, and I just need to tune out for a little bit as I drive safely, then I'll put on one of those three. Those three are my favorite songs and three amazing artists that really inspire me, and I go back and listen through their works. 

How did you navigate learning music so young? 

Ivory Layne: My dad is an amazing piano player and vocalist. So, I grew up playing in churches with him, and he would teach me little things.

I did piano lessons for a little bit. But then my parents figured out, that I was cheating and I knew how to play by ear and I was pretending like I was reading the music. They were both excited that I knew how to play by ear and annoyed that they were just shelling out money for something I wasn't actually learning.

So I learned piano first, and I always say I got it from my dad because he plays by ear. Once you know something like piano, getting into something like production is pretty fairly simple because you can have a MIDI controller, and that's a piano format.

Okay, that's awesome. So, what's your creative process when you're writing songs, and what influences you to keep writing and motivates you?

Ivory Layne: It changes every year for certain seasons of my life where I'm experiencing different things. Right now, I enjoy having fun with what I write. Earlier this year and late last year, my goal was to write about things that scare me - more existential things than cockroaches. 

This year, I started a Patreon page. It was something that could kind of allow me to share full demos for this segment on my Instagram, Track Tuesday, where I unpack a track, how I produce it, and the thought process behind it. I could give fans of mine access to the whole thing with the lyrics, and then the next day, I'll post a little audio snippet talking about the process of writing the song. I just started it to see if anyone would be interested, and slowly, it's been growing, and now I have this sweet little Patreon family. I get excited writing songs that will be fun to share with them. 

Talking about things you're scared of, I know you were scared to release that song. Can you tell me more about your personal experience with that and what inspired the song? 

Ivory Layne: Absolutely. That song came out of me being afraid to write on that topic: women, sex and growing up, just kind of being ashamed of my body as a woman, and a lot of what shaped a false narrative about my body.

I had always wanted to write about that, and I had gone to therapy about that. But I just didn't think I would ever if I wrote a song about it, I'd never release it. I posted a little snippet on TikTok the day I wrote it because I had a cool guitar idea. It was very 90s guitar-forward, which isn't my usual style. I had friends messaged me about it. It's a weird opening line: "When you grow up in church, and they tell you that it's easy cause the girls. Well, because the boys only want one thing," and then it stopped. That was my first little teaser. It was really just me dipping my toe into the water of writing about something and writing about something that was really isolating. Which is a shame, and then sharing it and realizing, wow, So many other people have experienced very similar things to what I've experienced, and maybe this could help someone, so that's how the song kind of came to be written and came to be released.

How did you feel when you first heard your music on the radio? 

Ivory Layne: Well, first, I was tired because it was UK radio, and we'd stayed up at a weird hour to listen to the first song, I think, Lonely Hearts, that was played. Oh my gosh, I felt so many different emotions. It was bittersweet because it was so sweet and exciting to have something I had worked on for so long get played. But it was also a little sad because I wasn't in that same country. The amazing part about it is I have some friends who live over there. One of them, in particular, would send me a video or two when it was playing in Tesco or a supermarket, or they heard it somewhere, and that was fun to be able to live that.

But looking back it was such an exciting experience, and just kind of lit a fire underneath me to, get more opportunities like that when I'm in the same time zone, so I'd love to go back to the UK and try it all again. 

You wrote some songs for other artists like Cory Asbury and Tom Grennan. How does the process differ for you when writing for yourself than writing for others?

Ivory Layne: Personally, I really appreciate where an artist comes from because I am an artist.

I've been doing this for 10-plus years, which is wild to think about, but I also am a producer. I love being the go-between for the artist and producer where I can speak producer, but I can also speak artist where the focus is always the artist. I really want them to feel like we're writing a song that is theirs and that they can sing over and over and not get bored or tired or feel disconnected from the lyrics. Other than kind of being the go-between, I love sitting down and just playing therapist. I am an observer at first, and then I become a translator. I take their thoughts, and I translate them into a lyric idea. I think probably in that situation. They don't realize that what they've said is really a great hook or a great idea. Cause they just needed that outsider's perspective. 

If you could collaborate with any artist or artists, who would it be?

Ivory Layne: You know what I'm gonna say? Coldplay! I love them so freaking much, I really do. I also would love to collaborate with Florence and the Machine. I love Florence and the Machine. And I think that doing something with Sam Fender. He's an amazing artist in the UK. I'm obsessed with him. I just think he is one of the greatest songwriters right now. And people are just sleeping on his songwriting. He's doing great, but I just want the whole world to appreciate how great his songwriting is because it's absolutely masterful. I would love to work with him. 

How do you feel your music and artist identity have evolved since you started, and where do you see yourself going in the future

Ivory Layne: I think when I got started, I was so eager to just make music, and I kind of allowed a lot of people to speak about who I would be as an artist. I was really young so I don't slight myself for that.  That encouraged me to grow over the years. I think I've found my voice and realized, you know what? I don't think anyone's ever going to figure me out. I don't think a lot of people can be figured out, and whether that's genre, whether that's what type of stage I'm going to play on, what type of audience I have. I've always just loved a wide assortment of things. 

So, as far as my artistry is concerned, compared to where I started, now I'm just a lot more free. I'm an independent artist, so I am literally free, but I've just kind of tapped more into who I am as a person, what I like as a person, what kind of songs I want to hear, what kind of songs I feel like my soul needs to hear instead of what would make me look cool or stand out or chart you know commercial success has always been my dream.

Well, that's great! What's your best piece of advice for young women?

Ivory Layne: I would just remind them, this is what I needed to hear when I was a little bit younger, it's what I still need to be reminded of today. You don't exist to attract. That's not your sole purpose in life.

And the people that want to help you be with you, and I'm not talking about romantically; I'm talking about helping you follow your dreams, become a better person, and live the life that you want to live. Those people are gonna come into your life, and you don't have to fight to make them stay, you don't have to fight to attract those people in, it's just such a natural thing, and so, I just wish someone would have told me and reminded me,  even just three years ago.

Is there anything else you'd like to share? 

Ivory Layne: Thank you for taking the time to interview me, I'm so glad that you loved Sunflowers and you love Good Girl Guilt. We're currently working on the next single to release, which is so exciting.

And if anybody wants to follow along on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/ivorylayne. That's been a fun new development since Good Girl Guilt came out. And it kind of happened because of Good Girl Guilt! So there you go!

Alexus Vanderpool

I’m a concert enthusiast who loves tea and boybands. If I’m not at a concert I’m probably reading a book, fangirling, or jamming out to One Direction. I’m very passionate about music and love the way it brings people together. I love moments where friendships blossom over a mutual love for an artist. One of my favorite quotes is “Real bands save fans, real fans save bands.” Follow me on insta @lexi.vanderpool