With hard-hitting and soulful pop music, Layla Kardan is part of redefining the new sound of the Middle East. Watch her newest music video exclusively on Girls Are Awesome
Layla Kardan by Michel Takla
This Friday, we placed Layla Kardan‘s emotional new single “No Place” on our playlist of the best new music we’ve discovered the past week. Today we’re honored to be premiering the accompanying video, co-written by Kardan herself and shot entirely on an Apple iPhone 11 Pro in the Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai, where Kardan currently resides.
“No Place” is the second track to be lifted of her forthcoming EP, Abscission, which is set for release on February 26th 2021. The track is built up around a heavy beat and encircles a dark atmosphere in which her soulful vocals lightens up in contrast. The darkness of the track also reflects the theme of the song which explores the destructiveness of a relationship: “No Place is dedicated to all my ex-boyfriends who were too afraid of losing control and share their emotions but chose instead to control the narrative by keeping the relationship’s existence only on the surface while projecting their insecurities,” Layla Kardan says, reflecting on the track.
Layla Kardan is an international artist with roots in different parts of the world. Born in Belgium with Persian roots and Australian nationality, she is currently living in Dubai, where she’s one of the voices of a new generation of creative talents boldly redefining both music and fashion in the Middle East.
Besides making captivating pop music and working with fashion brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton, Layla Kardan is also active in charities like UNICEF, where she works with education for refugee children.
Get to know more about the brave new voice of the Middle East and her newest release in our Q&A here:
Can you tell us a bit more about the creative scene that you’re part of in Dubai?
– “Dubai has a lot of different pockets of society with different creative talents. There are the more urban kids and they’re amazing; and then there’s me and my peeps – a bunch of misfits looking to explore creatively with music and visuals and fashion. It’s amazing to have a circle of friends who are all so gifted in their own right. Spending time together is always about creative brainstorming, dreaming up ideas, and eventually bringing those visions to life. If we didn’t have the outlet during the lockdown we would’ve died. We all want to see each other rise so we work together to bring each other opportunities to create and have the community and the greater world see our work.”
What do you think are some of the most exciting cultural movements happening in your part of the world right now?
– “We’re becoming a lot more open to different mediums and styles of art in the Middle East. With the establishment of the Dubai Opera House, and other small theatres, there’s more of a scene emerging and that’s feeding the industry. There’s a forming of a music community that is coming together to lift each other up. Also, local fashion designers are on the rise, which is exciting too. We’re starting to have identifiable sounds and styles from the region, and that makes me happy and proud.”
For me, children are the future. Living in the Middle East and seeing how war and destruction have robbed these beautiful humans of a childhood breaks my heart. […] so I am going to make it my life’s work to help in any way that I can.
Can you tell us a bit more about your previous involvement with UNICEF and what that collaboration meant to you?
– Every year for the past few years, I have worked with UNICEF for the Ramadan drives in order to raise awareness and drive donations directly to UNICEF to help the refugee children and families in the areas/countries that need the most attention at that time. In addition to that, I have visited refugee settlements and camps in Lebanon supported by UNICEF as well as learning more about their programs in place to educate youth and offer them opportunities to gain working skills and internships and alleviate them from their current situation and eventually break the poverty cycle. I have also performed at a few UNICEF events. For me, children are the future. Living in the Middle East and seeing how war and destruction has robbed these beautiful humans of a childhood breaks my heart. The families have suffered so much out of no choice of their own, so I am going to make it my life’s work to help in any way that I can. If we are not of service to others and humanity in some capacity then we are not living a full life, one of meaning and purpose.”
What can we expect from your 2021 EP release?!
– “In addition to the songs I already dropped this year, I have another two singles part of my EP Abscission being released early next year. These songs are sonically more dark and industrial but in line with the theme of detaching from that which does not serve you. They were produced by a different team in LA and while initially, I wasn’t sure if I should group these songs with the first two tracks, the message and lyrics were so on point that it didn’t make sense not to. The videos for these tracks are crazy and I can’t wait to share them.
I have already started on my next project, which I hope to release by mid-2021.”
Who are (and have been) some of your biggest role models?
– “Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, Madonna, Cleopatra. Basically, any woman who questions and goes up against the status quo and makes an impact on the world. They were all ahead of their time and so empowered in what they were representing. Musically, I love Sade, Erykah Badu, and Jill Scott. I have to mention the incredible women of the Middle East, for whom I have the utmost respect and admiration: Her Royal Highness, Empress Farah Diba, Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, and Queen Rania of Jordan.”
Who are some other artists that we should all know about?