East London singer Dayor is breaking through the UK R&B scene with his sweet vocals and melodic beats. His latest EP, High Life, is only the start for him and what’s to come for the introspective singer. He’s fresh, honest, and here to talk about his EP and more.
Nicole: Tell me a bit about yourself and who you are?
Dayor: I’m Dayor, and I make music-I’m a writer and singer as well. And I like to make music that resonates with people and that touches on an emotional feeling with a distinct vibe that people can always go back to. They can always go back to a Dayor track to get that, but other than that, I just try my best, and hopefully things can skyrocket from here.
Nicole: Let’s take it back to 2019, when you dropped your first single, ‘Fly Shit’. When you first started dropping music, did you ever think it would bring you to where you are now?
Dayor: Honestly, I had no idea! Before I dropped ‘Fly Shit’, I had only been making music for about three, four months at that point. So, I made a demo, and the song that I released later, called ‘Make it’ was the first song that I had ever really properly made. And then, like I said, I made that demo like a few months before because I was just like “Oh, I’m just gonna try my hands at music, I feel like I could do it.” I enjoyed listening to music, so I just tried my best, and then that demo kind of just got sent. Before I even got home to really listen to it, the demo went around my area, and my brother was sending it out to everyone! So, everyone kind of knew of me before I was even ready to do music. Then it was kind of just like, okay, this is what I’m doing; it’s go mode from here, and then I just started making more demos, more tracks, and releasing. At that time, when I was releasing ‘Fly Shit’, I hadn’t even resolved it within myself that I was going to become an artist, I was kind of just like, okay this is what I’m doing. And everyone was telling me that I was good, so I was like, okay, let’s give it a go. I think that’s what kind of led to a lot of breaks, because I had to really look within and be like, “Is this what you want to do, are you sure?” It’s not just about releasing music; it’s about putting yourself out there and everything like that. But yeah, at the time, I had no idea I would be here right now, wanting to be an artist and being like, yeah this is for sure what I’m going to do and what I want to do for life.
Nicole: So, I was doing a little deep dive into your music, and after you released your single ‘Devil In Disguise’ in 2020, you didn’t release any new material until 2022. Did that break make you look at music differently when you came back, or was it just time for you to gain clarity on what you wanted to do?
Dayor: That break definitely made me look at music differently. Everything that was happening before that break kind of led to the break. A lot of the stuff that was happening before that song was kind of just eye-opening, like every day it was something. Every single day was another situation, and it was just like, wow, okay, this is a lot, and I don’t know what I’m doing, and I feel like that’s what really led to the break. During that break, I guess to people looking from the outside, it looked like I just disappeared, but I was still doing much of the same stuff. I just realised that things needed to catch up on the backend of things. In terms of like what I knew about music, the interactions, and the creation process. I kind of had to do a lot of learning, and I just said, you know what I’m just going to take a step back and do all this learning behind the scenes. That break just made me come back and realise how you do stuff. I still wasn’t as savvy as I thought I was and still have a lot to learn, but the break opened my eyes up and really helped me accruement myself towards what I was jumping into.
Nicole: What does music mean to you?
Dayor: It’s something different every day, to be fair. Making ‘High Life’ was about reflecting on escapism and reflecting on the vices I was chasing, and like putting it into music so other people can kind of feel how I feel. But music for me and what it means is always changing, because sometimes it’s like this is a passion and a dream, and then sometimes it can feel like work when you’re trying to get a mix ready or a track ready. So, all I can really say is that music is just something in my core, and it’s just a core part of my identity. Everything I do always links back to it, and it just shapes how I navigate the world and all my experiences as well. I feel like I’m fully embracing that identity. I truly feel like Dayor, and you know Michael, as some know me by, is truly just one in the same right now.
Nicole: What do you want people to feel like when listening to your music?
Dayor: I want people to know how I felt when I made the music, and I think that’s something that I do quite well. I put so much thought into the melody and how that pairs up with the beat, so that it can touch on a certain emotion. If I don’t feel like I’ve hit what I’m going for, then the song is back into the vault, and we go again. But I don’t really want to tell people how to feel about a certain song. I feel like whatever feeling it’s touching on for someone else, is dope. I just want someone to feel something. Just feel anything. My worst fear is someone just listening to my song and being like, “Okay,” not feeling anything. I think that’s the good thing about music: everyone can take what they want from it really and use your music for a different vibe.
Nicole: So, we have to talk about your EP High Life, which you said is about escapism, and what that looked like for you at that current moment. Are you still looking for a place to escape to now?
Dayor: Yeah, I am always. I feel like that’s always my problem, like I’ve always got my head in the clouds. My managers would probably tell you the same thing. I feel like I’m always chasing something new or trying to feel different to how I felt in the moment. I don’t think that’s ever really going to leave. I don’t know when that’ll leave me. But I feel like the EP was mainly just me reflecting on what happened and how I felt. I feel like I still feel the same, but I’m just going about things a bit differently and not throwing myself headfirst into things like before. But yeah, I always feel the same; I don’t think that will ever really be resolved in me.
Nicole: What made you call the EP High Life? Did the name come to you naturally?
Dayor: I feel like I’m good with song names, but I’m bad with anything else! It went through a couple different suggestions; no one really knew a name to capture it. And then I was just like, okay, cool, the first single is going to be ‘High Life’ and I feel like that’s the closest to encapsulating the vibes of what I was saying about escapism and wanting to live on a high, and I feel like that matched the whole vibe of the EP, so I was like, okay, let’s go with it. It didn’t take that much thought, but it’s just like, okay it fits; it works, so let’s go with it.
Nicole: What was it like seeing the feedback and response to the EP after dropping it?
Dayor: It was good! I feel like it’s always weird because I’ll be on, like, music Twitter, and some of the words people will be using to describe music just reminds me that I’m actually an artist who makes music and that people will judge it. And they’ll think that my music is as good as the other people that they listen to and like artists that I also listen to, so that was just really the wildest part. People just being like, “Yo, your music is really good,” and not just good for what it’s supposed to be, but good as in it can go against anything. And I was just like, Wow, that’s crazy for me. I was just trying to make something the best I could make it and what I felt was good to me and other people really recognised that and recognised what was good about it, so that was really just the craziest response.
Nicole: Who do you go to for advice if you’re a bit hesitant about something?
Dayor: It’s one person, really; it’s my brother Emmanuel, or as he likes to call himself, E Man. He’s two and a half years older than me, but we were raised like twins, so my brother is my big twin basically! In some ways, we’re different, but in other ways, we’re mad similar, like we share the same mind. Since I started doing music, he’s kind of always just been that person and not even just with music but in life. When it comes to life stuff, he would just drop wisdom, and I would just be like, Okay, rahh?! Like he’s that kind of guy. So yeah, it’s definitely my brother; he’s a big music guy as well. In my opinion, I feel like he’s got one of the best ears for music, and he knows what’s good and always gives me the real. I trust him that much. Cool guy, man.
Nicole: What do you draw inspiration from?
Dayor: I’m a visual person, and I’ve always had a thing for, like, film and media, like I was always big on comic books, TV shows, manga, and anime growing up. So, every time I am making a song, I’m always picturing the visuals, so I guess I just draw inspiration from that. When I make songs, I think of certain films, like with ‘Take Flight’, I thought of the films Chronicle and Project X. So yeah, film and media are a big influence for me. Music is an influence for me as well, but I try to stay in my own zone with that, but there’s obviously some big influences that I do have, like your Kanye’s and Coldplay’s, and I like Stevie Wonder a lot. Those are my big influences mainly. I want to draw more influences from life experiences as well, like specific scenarios, and then like break them down and go into depth with it. That’s what I want to do more of in the future.
Nicole: What albums or artists have you been listening to recently?
Dayor: Okay, so I’ve been listening to Stevie Wonder, Songs In The Key Of Life; that’s a constant, though! I’ve been listening to Ryan Beatty ‘Calico’ a bit; he’s dope. Those are the main ones, and then there’s SZA, SOS; that’s a big one as well. And I like J Hus’s album, Beautiful And Brutal Yard; I was listening to that the other day. That’s cold. And Big Conspiracy too!
Nicole: Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Dayor: Ooh give me a moment! I don’t know, maybe Labrinth or Kanye. If I could ever do a song with somebody, I would want to do a song with Yeat. I like Yeat’s music. I feel like that would be a contrast of vibes. That’s a random one! Kendrick is a big one as well, who I respect. I feel like that could be a dope song. Then there’s people in the UK that I do know personally, and we need to get those collabs going as well. So yeah, there’s a lot of stuff I want to do in the future with a lot of different artists. I haven’t had another person featured on my own track, so I definitely want to do that in the future. Maybe next year, coming up soon.
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