It may have been a small and intimate performance, but in her first-ever headlining appearance in Nashville on Tuesday, Iyla proved that she can be a force in the music scene.
After taking the stage at The High Watt, it took all of just 30 seconds for the Los Angeles R&B up-and-comer to prove what makes her special. As the opening notes to “Owtv” dropped on the speaker, Iyla quickly won the audience over, showcase the vibrato in her powerful voice, while mixing in a little rapping during the track.
From that point, the crowd was hooked as the next 40 minutes flew by in the set. With only two EPs to her name – including her most recent release “OTHER WAYS TO VENT” – Iyla’s set list was short, but she performed every one of her tracks on those releases.
While the crowd thoroughly enjoyed her getting to showcase her vocal range and ability, it was the faster paced songs that really had the audience grooving on Tuesday. The moment that the opening beat of “Cash Rules” dropped – a track which features a sample from Wu Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M” – the crowd was hyped, immediately grabbing their phones to hit record on the performance.
While she was able to showcase her talents, she also delivered a message about not being afraid to be different and standout. That message resonated well with the Nashville crowd, in part because Iyla herself doesn’t fit the typical mold when it comes to R&B.
It’s not what you expect from a 26-year-old white girl, who self-describes herself as a “valley girl” to get up and perform. Then again, that’s just another layer to what makes Iyla unique.
“No matter who you are, no matter where you’re from, no matter what you look like, who you identify as and you’re worthy of greatness in whatever you want to do in life,” she said. “You’re worthy of anything that you want to achieve, no matter who tells you that you can’t do it. You can do it. I promise you. I’m here tonight and it feels unbelievable and surreal. Life is a journey, but it’s worth it to be here and I’m grateful that we are here connecting right now.”
As the set was coming to an end, Iyla left with two fan favorites. She led off with “Flowers” – which was a theme on Tuesday, as her backdrop was a paneling of flowers and additionally her mic stand was also covered in flowers. She concluded her 45-minute setlist with “Juice,” which allowed the singer to step away from behind the microphone in order to showcase her dance moves.
Just before exiting the stage, Iyla promised that she would be back to Music City. It’s a safe bet to assume that those in attendance will be eagerly awaiting that return.