Home Music Layton Greene Shares How Healing Has Fueled New Music

Layton Greene Shares How Healing Has Fueled New Music

Layton Greene Shares How Healing Has Fueled New Music

“Love” was one of the first words Layton Greene belted to her mother on a sunny afternoon while she and her cousins were pretending they were on American Idol. It was Greene’s idea to play a game that was familiar to the family, yet something during this iteration of the game would strike a different chord: Greene’s voice. Her cousins gasped: “Oh my… you can really sing. Hold on…” Then they took her to her mom, Greene sang, and her mother cried in amazement. Her family exclaimed that Greene was destined to sing, a moment that filled the room like answered prayers.

Although Greene recalls not growing up in a highly musically inclined family, her mother always wanted to sing and dreamed of having a daughter who one day could. Then interestingly enough as Greene grew older she would find a way to sing any chance she got, a passion her family fueled. Early on, Greene’s grandmother signed her up for the choir, and while she often didn’t know all the words, Greene sang what she could. Her stepfather also frequently listened to music and introduced her to tones of all kinds.

“I remember singing on the porch for money. My family would always ask me to sing, and I would say, okay, but I’m nervous. So I would tell them to turn around and say, ‘Well, I need some money or something.’ I was a hustler.” She’d sing, they’d clap in amazement, and the exposure would boost her confidence, leading Greene to record a video in 2017 remixing Kodak Black’s “Roll in Peace” that would go viral, setting her music career on an expansive trajectory. In the years following, she’d record hits like “Leave Em Alone,” which has amassed over 85 million streams–and counting–and went number one on YouTube Music’s R&B on the Rise, in addition to releasing a successful EP all while continuously trending millions of listeners on Spotify and other music platforms.

The Music At the Heart of Greene’s Early Years

“When I first started singing, I only listened to what I could. I didn’t have resources to listen to the music I enjoyed, so I was really into what my stepdad was listening to,” says Greene, whose stepfather would play Kelly Price, Mary J Blige, and others. Keyshia Cole, however, was one of Greene’s biggest inspirations. She appreciated the artistry of Cole’s storytelling, which she wished to portray in music of her own one day. And in recent years, she’s grown to listen to and love Brandy’s music, from the harmonies to the melodies, which have inspired Greene’s music today.

Greene shares that she has enjoyed how each artist engages in storytelling, inspiring her to lean into amplifying themes from the beautiful mosaic of her life. And while Greene’s story would include homelessness and juggling life as a high schooler slipping away from school while working to “survive,” she’s found that a combination of small strategic moves can transform anyone’s life: “I ended up leaving high school, made a video, and my whole life changed.” However, on her journey to artistry, this wouldn’t be the last time Greene faced difficulty, but as she’d grow on, she’d build a support system that would position her to thrive in the industry.

Greene signed to the label Quality Control in 2019, a move that she’s found has synergistically created a space for her to create music authentically: “They are so supportive outside of the music. They care about me, and I think that’s a big plus,” says Greene who has found it can be nerve-racking for new artists entering the industry. So when she put out her EP “Tell Your Story,” she describes having felt the liberty and autonomy to move freely within her career. This freedom would signal Greene’s rise within the industry until the pandemic changed Greene’s tune: “When I put out ‘Tell Your Story,’ I put out a lot of my story, even in the song ‘Blame On Me’… And I think I didn’t understand what I was putting out. I guess I was a lot younger, and don’t regret putting it out at all, but some of those things I hadn’t fully healed from,” says Greene.

The Healing Journey + Releasing New Art

When Greene returned to the lab during the pandemic, it was as if all the childhood experiences she’d not confronted came rushing back to her, and leaning into the illusiveness of her thoughts led Greene into a depression: “I guess I felt like I was stuck in my mind,” says Greene, who, before the pause created by the pandemic, felt she was on-the-go with interviews, shows, and more. “I was creating music that I thought people would want to hear or that would fit into the industry. And it wasn’t reflective of me,” says Greene. While that time was a challenge, the two-year period was Greene’s most incredible reminder to lean into the uniqueness you offer the industry as an artist.

“I feel like you have to be mentally strong for this industry. And there were a lot of things that I didn’t heal from… I needed that solitude,” says Greene. With the time to heal, give birth to her son, and heal some more, Greene has gained renewed strength to keep going: “My son opened my eyes to realize it’s never just been about me, but… I have a way bigger purpose.” This purpose has set her on a path to create different iterations of music that even ended in some unfinished songs before Greene landed on three singles that easily flew from her pen for her latest project. The singles include “Spin Again” and “Something,” that have left millions of listeners excited for her project to release, and “Cinderella Story” that launched today.

For example, while working with producer and songwriter Izzy Lott, Greene cut “Something” in 2021 over the course of a day, during a time when she found out she was pregnant with her son. She then played the song for 48 hours straight, noting the music’s fun vibe that resonated with how she wished to show up in the industry. While reflecting on her musical strategy with songs like “Something” and her superpower as an artist, Greene expresses: “I do feel like I have a good pen, but I also feel like it’s the rawness and the emotion in my voice. That vulnerability draws listeners in.” Honing this rawness through storytelling, which is often reflective of her journey, has enabled Greene to bear witness to the stories of many listeners, which has fueled both the triumph and strength portrayed in her music.

Reflecting & Sowing Wisdom For Next-Gen Artists

With Greene’s passion for storytelling fueled by the healing she’s engaged in throughout her life, Greene’s been keen to sow seeds for the next generation of artists. These seeds–or words of wisdom–include:

  1. Be comfortable with the uncomfortable: “Put yourself in situations you know need that may be uncomfortable. Those were the actual situations where I started to see progress. You don’t want to always be comfortable.”
  2. Be consistent: “Keep progressing on your journey. You’ll find there are peaks and valleys on every path.”
  3. Your mental health is a priority: “Mental health, physical health, and emotional health are important. Additionally, having people in your corner is essential. The one thing I regret is pushing people away who wanted to help. Accept help [that morally and ethically resonates with you] when you can. You can’t do this by yourself.”

Greene is excited that when people listen to her upcoming project, they will feel this wisdom shine through and may hear themselves, see themselves, and know they’re not alone in what they are going through: “I know I’ve felt alone often. And so what I’ve created space for in this album and my music is the vulnerability to allow listeners to learn they are heard, seen, and not alone.” By creating space for vulnerability, on an album mainly featuring original songs, Greene believes listeners will also become enlightened to how she’s sonically grown. “I feel like I’m back and able to give the best version of Layton Greene to the world,” she closes.

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