The straight-shooting, free-spirited, yet easy-going singer who belts soulful tunes with a velvety smooth voice is managed by In.Digg.Nation Collective, record label of reggae star Protoje. Having appeared as a featured guest on tracks by Protoje (“Flight Plans”), Royal Blu (“Believe”) and Koro Fyah (“Got it For You,” “Raggamuffin”) and on mixtapes by Addis Pablo & Equiknoxx Music and Yaadcore, she is now building her own catalog of impressive solo material.
“Biggest Fan,” her 2017 debut single, was a tribute to her mother, who despite initially disapproving of her daughter’s career choice ended up becoming her “biggest fan.” Her second single “Gotti Gotti” likewise acknowledges the wisdom of elders, taking her generation’s predilection for greed to task on a vintage reggae riddim. Her third single “Second Chance” taps into the past while revealing a sound that is fresh, new and all her own. The heavy drum and bass on “Second Chance” will be instantly familiar to long-time reggae fans, but Iké gives the rhythm a fresh coat, delivering “a rub-a-dub love song for the ages” (LargeUp). Passion Weiss raved that the track is “the best kind of lovelorn cry. It may sway and groove, but it’s potent in a way that nearly stings.” Iké also features on Protoje’s latest single “Not Another Word” along with Agent Sasco, released April 2019. The single has been featured on Spotify playlists ‘Dancehall Queen’ and ‘Dancehall Official’ as well as on iTunes Reggae A-List, premiering at number 2. Iké’s fourth and latest single “Where I’m Coming From” has her voice sitting on an ultra-modern reggae trap beat as she describes how she’s navigating and championing her way in the music industry.
When it comes to producing the finest singers and musicians in the world, Jamaica never disappoints. So it is with the Caribbean nation’s newest gem Lila Ike from cool Manchester.
A powerful natural old-soul voice throwback to the magnificent rocking roots, dub reggae era of the 1980’s it is surprising to many fans that she is only nineteen. Using the music as her backdrop, she infuses her militant yet beautiful lilting voice to capture ears, transporting her messages of truth through effortless lyrical talent from her hard-hitting songs so far Second Chance, and Biggest Fan.
I got an opportunity to interview the enigmatic Lila as she continues to take her rightful place among the humble re-igniters of Jamaica’s reggae and roots revolutionary music like the great Chronixx, Protoje and Koffee.
Q & A
You have a unique sound and look. Do you think that that is the main reason fans resonate with you especially those who appreciate Jamaica’s powerful roots reggae message and music?
“I definitely feel like my uniqueness adds to the interest people have in me.”
What inspired your look?
“What inspires my look is usually my mood. I dress how I am feeling every day.”
Why did you choose your stage name and what does it mean?
“Lila is derived from my actual name Alecia. Ike is a name I adopted. It means “God is powerful”. I chose this name because it represents me and how I see music- Divine.”
What drew you to the music?
“I was drawn to music from an early age. I fell in love with different sounds my mom would play around the house.”
Who are some of your musical inspirations and why?
“Garnet Silk. Whitney Houston, Lauren Hill, Buju Banton, Sizzla Kalonji are the few that come off the top of my head. They all have different sounds and are amazing performers.”
How important was Protoje in your evolution and continued growth as an artist?
“Protoje is a master mind in this field and most importantly he has vision and happens to also be an amazing friend.”
What do you believe makes Second Chance resonate with many of your fans?
“The reason Second Chance resonates so much is because of the riddim. It’s familiar and I am also singing a lot on this track compared to other songs I have released. This song also has my very first music video so people get to actually see visually who I am.”
Do you believe in giving persons a second chance and why?
“Second chances are definately necessary- everybody makes mistakes!
What inspired the song?
“The song was freestyle and the riddim inspired it.”
Do you believe in old-fashioned love and why?
“Old fashion love is best love. It’s cute, honest and it’s real.”
Do you think that some women can be quicker than men to jump-ship in relationships and why?
“People in general like to take an extreme way out of things so jumping ship is not just a women thing actually I believe the men are more quick to do so more than us women.”
You grew up in cool Manchester. What are some of your happiest memories growing up?
“Happiest moments growing are ones that included going on adventures behind my great -grand mother’s house which had vast greenery and farms which we would raid (my sisters and I). We would never go bored or hungry.”
What do you think about the resurgence of roots reggae and being a part of the movement?
“I don’t think reggae went anywhere. I just give thanks that there are conscious musicians doing the same thing within my time and am honoured to be a part of that crowd.”
Do you think that the women also have a voice in the movement?
“Women have a voice of course why not? The world is made of men and women and there are different perspectives that are necessary for the work to be done so both women and men have work to do in this time for our sons and daughters.”
What is your message through the music to your fans?
“My message is staying afloat in the seat of confusion. Live up and live yourself -positivity!”
At heart, are you outspoken or shy?
“I am a mixture of both. I’ll be outspoken within a crowd that gives me a voice and I’ll be shy where I feel I need to guard my energy.”
Do you write your own music?
“Yea I do write my own music am not opposed to working with writers though as everyone has a story to tell.”
How was your transition from Manchester to Kingston like, and how were able to manage?
“Manchester to Kingston was a life changing experience. I learned to really survive without my mom lol who was a crucial part of life.”
What inspired your song Biggest Fan?
“Biggest Fan was inspired by my mother.”
Was your mother unsure about allowing you take the musical route and if so why?
“My mother was not okay with me doing music. She felt I would fall victim to producers who basically would enjoy my company rather than my talent.”
Is your Mom your biggest fan, and how did you deal with her early reservations about your career choice?
“My mother is for sure my biggest fan and I just work hard to prove to her that I am capable of being a great artiste and a responsible one. “
What advice for young people to follow their dreams through your song Biggest Fan?
“My advice to young people or even old people is to just follow your dreams. Love it up and live it into being.”
What do you love about the dub version of the song?
“I love dub in general. It is vibes music so much more presence and life -enhanced perspective.“
When will you be launching your EP?
“An Ep is definitely coming but for now I am just recording songs with a view to releasing a few singles leading up to the EP release.”
Where in the world have you travelled to so far as an artiste, and what are some of your greatest memories so far?
“I have been to United States of America, Continental Europe and England. It’s been lit! Best especially was my first time on tour with Protoje and sharing a stage with him, a dream come through.”
Do you consider yourself to be a rebel?
“I am definately a rebel. I don’t like rules especially ones that make no sense and limits people.”
What kind of musical legacy would you like to have in the future?
“I would like to have a legacy that is completely responsible for the enhancement in lifestyle, mental ability and responsibilities of young people of this generation.