You'll No Longer Feel "Overwhelmed," Once Listening to LIIYO's Latest Ballad

London-based, Pop artist LIIYO made their official debut in June 2020 after spending five years in KPOP-inspired Pop groups. Under their new moniker, LIIYO fostered and conveyed their authentic sound, that expresses various elements through a darker, more grounded, and humanistic edge.

LIIYO, released their third single titled, “Overwhelmed,” after taking a moment to connect with their fans during the lockdown and finding out exactly what it was that they needed to hear from them. As a result, an aptly irresistible, compassionate Pop ballad was born.

Through a slow tempo of radical fusion that takes on the essence of Soul and Electro-Pop, “Overwhelmed,” delivers listeners the ease of comfort and suitably relatable content in the depth of storytelling that LIIYO conveys. Teaming up with mastermind producer, Will Henderson, you can’t help but hear the instrumentation take nods from 90’s R&B and 80’s Electronic music as it has you swaying from side to side.

Balancing on the tightrope of modern wave synthesis that shares resonant tones with nostalgia, the delicate and raw vocal talents of LIIYO submerge your speakers in a sonic delicacy.

Offering up the most authentic version of LIIYO, “Overwhelmed,” navigates through themes of validity as LIIYO carries forth the realness he glistens from within. LIIYO affirms that the feelings that left you feeling so alone in the preceding anxiety-soaked months were felt collectively as he opens his arms and pulls you into a warm embrace.

Guiding around the heavenly preservation of vocals that are sent from above, we feel the moral compass inside of LIIYO finding its way as the direction and path created will be a fortified foundation for others to follow. As we sink into our seats and appreciate the true artistic talents of LIIYO, we find solace in knowing that they are lighting a dark path for others to find a light.

Welcome to BuzzMusic, LIIYO! Congratulations on the release of, “Overwhelmed.” Could you please share the wholesome experience of connecting with your fans to gain inspiration for this record?

It's great to be here and thank you for the support on the release of my song "Overwhelmed". I am so happy with the track and it's great to be able to talk about it! It's quite an interesting story on how the track came about. I had been working with a super talented New Zealand based producer called Will Henderson and he approached me with a ballad track that I absolutely loved but decided to take some time on before I released it. I'd reached a point where I had been releasing upbeat tracks one after the other and happened to ask my Instagram followers what kind of song they would like to hear next. I didn't expect them to choose a ballad and all of a sudden, the pressure was on because it was then time to show some vulnerability. That's when I went back to the track that Will Henderson had given me and that was when I knew I had my next release on my hands! I sat down with the song and started writing and I will be honest, I expected it to take a while as ballads are not something I have done often in the past but the lyrics just flowed and the melody stuck like glue. It was a weird experience for me because it usually takes me at least a few days to cement down something that I am happy with but it just came all in one go. Writing about a topic that is really close to home for me allowed me to hone in on the elements that made the song special! It was actually quite enlightening and to think it all came from a random Instagram Story!

We found that your vocals radiated on this track! How is the creative process different in the new path that you have found versus when tackling KPOP creations?

Thank you so much! That actually makes me really happy to hear! I tried really hard to showcase a different side to my vocals on this track as I've been known to sing more upbeat songs but I wanted to really draw out some emotion in this one. With it being a topic that I, along with millions of others, have experienced in the year 2020, I wanted to convey a feeling that people would understand. I have always tried to have a semblance of emotion in all of my previous tracks but they were always more focussed on being catchy and that's probably due to me being so heavily influenced by KPOP which is all about those hooks and melodies that get stuck in your head. To be quite honest, it was difficult working on something that is so far removed from what I usually do as it was completely forcing me to work outside of my comfort zone. It did take me a little longer in the recording studio to nail down what sounds I liked as I was working with harmonies that I usually wouldn't consider but I work better under a challenge! I had to learn to adapt to new melodies but it definitely taught me some tough lessons on how to be a better songwriter. I will absolutely return to a place that is musically a little closer to the sound of KPOP, which is what I usually do, but I will absolutely always bear in mind that it is a good thing to branch out now and then and work on something a little off branch.

Could you please share a glimpse of what the recording session looked like when bringing, “Overwhelmed,” to life?

So the recording session was done with my Sound Engineer Junaid and it started as a simple recording session. I worked first on the verses, recording the verses and pre-choruses, and then moved onto the chorus. I recorded the main bulk of the song in one recording session because I just found that the melody worked so well with my vocals. The problem was that I, and Junaid, felt like something was missing and he basically threw me out of the fryer and into the flames by telling me that he wanted me to do one full take and to improvise harmonies and ad-libs without stopping. As someone that tends to overthink such things, this terrified me as I hate making mistakes and hitting notes that don't sound right but I took him up on his challenge and sang all of the ad-libs that are heard in the final version of the song. I don't know what came over me, some strong emotions I guess, and I just let loose. It was such a freeing feeling just letting out my emotions by just singing and not thinking about things. We agreed that it sounded really good and I was so happy with it. It was probably one of my favorite studio sessions that I have ever had!

Where do you find the majority of your inspiration for the melodies that you create?

I usually try to listen to as many songs as possible to broaden my understanding of melodies. I would say that 98% of the time, the music that I listen to is KPOP but when I do listen to Western Music, it is a wide range of genres that I put on my playlists. I have been raised with a mixture of pop, rock, RnB, soul, reggae, soca, and many other genres and so I try to think about melodies often found in those genres when writing my own melodies. I record myself singing something onto my phone if a melody pops into my head and return to it when I am sat down with a coffee and writing a potential future song and if the recorded melody suits then I begin to develop it further. I wouldn't say that I have a surefire one-track method for every single song that I write but I definitely do try to mix up different methods as often as I can.

2020 has been a very challenging year for everyone. What has been keeping you inspired to create music? What advice can you give another artist who's finding it difficult to do so?

I became a solo artist in 2020 after previously being in two pop groups. That in itself was particularly challenging but it was the sense of freedom that has filled me with inspiration to write and release what I want without limitations. It has been an incredibly tough year in our personal lives, but in terms of my music career, finding the courage to hone in on my branding as an artist gave me something to work on and focus all of my attention on. To be quite honest, I was just excited to show people a more mature, confident version of myself and it pushed me to keep writing and keep releasing the best possible music that I can. It's sometimes very hard to maintain that momentum and it's easy to wonder whether the degree of success that can be achieved is worth the grind that is required but it is about recognizing that this is something that you love and cannot live without. I go through phases where I doubt myself or wonder just how successful I can be but I have to tell myself that I cannot imagine doing anything else and that success is only earned through hard work. I would always advise my fellow artists to always follow their judgement. If they hear a melody in their head that just will not leave their minds, then record it and write it. If they begin to doubt themselves then they need to remind themselves that there is always going to be someone who loves what they do. If they know that they love what they do then find an avenue that truly harnesses what helps them to manifest their creativity and focus on it. I love what I do and i want to see others achieve success and see what they release and to do that, I need them to be working on new material too! It's all about supporting one another and I would encourage anyone to reach out to me, or another artist or producer, and talk about stuff! Collaborate, feature or even just pick their brains on things. It's a tough world but its the community spirit that pulls us further up the ladder in this industry and I truly believe that.