The visionary behind awfultune is recently and proudly transitioned Layla Eden, who has been producing and releasing music independently by-way-of her laptop in upstate New York. Now, the 22-year-old heralds over 100 million global streams, officially evolving out of indie bedroom-pop obscurity. Fans can enter the world that awfultune created, a space for all in the midst of her “transition to becoming happy…”
The Dear Sarah EP marries previous bodies of work entitled michael (representing the past) and layla (representing now and the future). Both projects present an eye-opening, unfiltered stream of consciousness written by Layla herself before turning 21. While what sparked the release of the new EP was the success of “I Met Sarah In The Bathroom” (her top track surpassing 30 million streams), Layla admits she didn’t want to release the full collection at first. Having initially felt she’s grown sonically in her work and as an individual, Layla ultimately realized the tracks are a time capsule of who she used to be and a link to her fans. The EP represents michael and layla coexisting together, and the layers we all have as human beings, as we watch Layla evolve on her journey.
Layla Eden notes, “It all started with needing a Soundcloud username back in 2016… but now, people actually really like my music. I didn’t mean for it to be ironic and it’s pretty funny now.” She elaborates on the EP, “While the person I refer to as ‘Sarah’ in my songs was based on a friend, ‘Sarah’ fundamentally becomes the person I worked through a lot of pain to be – someone I love and respect. With everything I write though, I try to take it in a literal sense and also a metaphorical sense. From there, I can seemingly tell a story that my listeners can take literally and enjoy and still keep things pretty fun and entertaining for myself. Everyone always wanted a continuation for ‘I Met Sarah in the Bathroom’ so this EP is just that. What happened after the party and so on. The interludes came together after part two (‘Dear Sarah’) just to really pull everything together. I love it so much!”
Its unapologetic narrative has all the qualities of an indie movie in the making. Layla’s never been hesitant to bare her soul on the lyrical page, but there’s an unfettered verve in Sarah’s character arc that can be traced to a watershed moment in Layla’s own life: a gender reassignment, and the subsequent peace Layla found with it.
Her journey is being openly documented through Instagram to share with her fans who show unfettering support, which in turn she offers to them. Production of a mini-documentary following her transition is in progress for release in the new year, in addition to new music.
When it comes to sharing pieces of herself, uncensored with the world, Layla Eden says, “It is completely terrifying. Sometimes even downright uncomfortable. My music is like a diary entry that millions of people are reading and listening to. That kind of vulnerability is what resonates with people most though. I’ve grown and changed enough to the point where I’m not afraid of who I used to be. Every version of myself is my truth regardless of if I’m not attached to that person anymore. I’d rather face it than run away from it. I am no better than anyone else and I’m just like you. It’s the cliché, but it’s very much the truth.”
Through trials and tribulations, Layla Eden is both an austere champion of the LGBTQIA+ community and a perennial advocate for anyone who’s simply ever felt alone or estranged from themselves.