Jamaican Music Music Interviews

Conversation with Upcoming Jamaican Singer, Lenya Wilks

Written by Glen Benjamin

This week we interview upcoming Jamaican singer Lenya Wilks. In 2004 and 2005, Lenya won the trophy for best soloist at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Music Festival. In 2005 she also placed 2nd in the JCDC Children’s Gospel Festival. She toured extensively with Beres Hammond between 2007 and 2010 as a solo act. She has performed around the world including the USA and Canada, Europe and the Caribbean to rave reviews. She recently released a few singles and is working in the studio on a new album. Here is our conversation with Lenya.

1. Tell us about your background and how did you get started sings?
I was never able to pin point the actual starting point of my musical journey because as far back as I can remember, singing was a part of me.  You know, I can’t remember my first doll but I can remember at age six I told my Grandma that I wanted to be a singer.  
2. How would you describe your sound?
I’d like to think that I have an international sound, a world sound.  I dream of my vocals standing amongst the best in the world and I’m hoping with time and maturity that dream will be realized.

3. You sing R&B and Reggae and possible everything in between. What genre do you like best?
I’m very comfortable singing R&B and Reggae but music is universal hence my desire is not to be limited or contained inside one genre of music.  Varity is the spice of life they say and for me; music is the spice of my soul.
4. Tell how about the song “stalker”? Did you write the song? What was your inspiration to write the song?
My manager wrote that song.  He often said his inspiration for writing my songs comes from my vibes, my outlook on life, my personality and my moods.  He loves to play with words and so he thought he’d put a “positive” spin on the word stalker.  I love the lyrics and just had fun singing it.  It’s a very sexy song if you listen to the words you’ll find that it’s me stalking a fine looking dapper. 
5. How about the song Hate love? Tell about this song and why you wrote it?
This song was also written by my manager.  Once again his acute desire to play with words hence the oxymoron ‘I Hate Love’.  We were on the phone one day and I told him that I wanted a song titled ‘I hate love’ and in about fifteen minutes he wrote the song and the rest was history.  The song is however more about blaming love for the hurt and pain you feel when a relationship goes wrong.  It’s like, he did something that caused you hurt and yet you stay as oppose to reciprocate.  You stay because of love so you blame love for the hurt you feel. 
6. You have a few singles out there. When can we expect your album to be released?
We have four tracks released so far; ‘I hate love’ ‘Stalker’ ‘Baby come to me’ and Friends with benefits’.  All the tracks for the album are completed but we are watching the responses to the released tracks whilst we formulate our release strategy and in the meantime we are working on some bonus tracks.  We can still release the album this year but if not I’d say early next year.  
7. Can you tell us a few of the songs by Jamaican artists that you have either penned or collaborated with?
I did a collab with Chuck Fender some years back on a track called hypnotize.  I co-wrote the song ‘Fly’ which was released on the GreenSleeves various artist album in 2008 but this is my debut year of really recording and releasing; the start of my solo career journey ie.  That’s why I called it the year of Lenya for Lenya. 
8. You toured with Beres Hammond. Was that your first tour? What was that experience like? What is the one lesson you learned from working with Beres Hammond?
I toured with Beres Hammond for three years.  We’ve been to the USA, Europe, Canada and the Caribbean. That experience is invaluable and it will remain a part of who I am for the rest of my life.  For me, the most valuable lesson would be the importance of hard work and commitment to your craft.
9. I know it is early in your career but what is your proudest moment so far?
I must say I am humbled and overwhelmed by the reactions to my first track – I Hate Love.  It’s an indescribable feeling I get whenever I sit and read the comments or hear someone talk about how they love the song.   I regard this as my first song because I was fully involved in the whole production. 
10. What projects are you working on right now?
We have for the most part completed all the tracks for my debut album so we are in the process collating and designing the tracks and artwork as well as doing some bonus tracks which could possible make it on the album.
11. If you were stuck on a desert island and given the choice of 2 albums to put on your ipod which artist would it be?
Well, first I need an iPod (LOL) so all you promoters out there please call me for your shows so I can buy my iPod….. That would be a tough choice because there are some very talented artists out there with creative writing skills so, here’s what I’d do.  Since we are in the time of the greatest technological advancement I’d ask that my choice be to choose two genres then I’d pick R&B and reggae.
12. How would you describe your own personal fashion style?
Dynamic, trendy and ever evolving.  As an artist you cannot be limited or restrictive.  As you grow you must change and for me change is an integral part of growth.   Ever growing ever changing.
13. My favorite guilty pleasure is
Shopping [lol]
14. Growing up my hero was…
My Mom; my biggest inspiration.
15. A movie I never get tired of watching is…
Titanic; makes me cry every time.
16. Thanks for your time. Do you any closing thoughts?
I’d like to say many thanks to my friends and fans who have been giving their support to my musical journey thus far. I’d like to extend a special invitation to all those who are not yet on board; your support will be greatly appreciated as I try to take my music to the world. Special thanks to Mr Beres Hammond and the Harmony House family for laying the foundation to my music career.  Very special thanks to my Manager, my record label [Zx5 Productions] and my entire production team. To all the promoters out there; I’m ready and looking for work.  We can be contacted at: 876-290-3565 or get more information on our website.
Thanks for having me and please keep giving your support to the voice of young artist…..one love….

About the author

Glen Benjamin

I strongly believe there are 3 sides to every story. Telling each side is the challenge.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that - Martin Luther King