chats with cath: Aylee

Music is intertwined into so many aspects of our lives. Whether it’s a little jingle on a commercial that gets stuck in your head for days or that song you blast when you need a pick-me-up, it’s safe to say most of us couldn’t imagine a world without music. Some prefer to keep their singing confined to their shower or car while others share it with the world. One of those people who share their talent with the world is Aylee, During our shoot at the Japanese House & Garden in Fairmount Park, we soaked up the serene atmosphere and made the most of the breezy autumn afternoon.

Keep reading to get to know Aylee for yourself.

if you only had a few moments to explain what your art to a stranger, what would you say?

“My art is my testimony. I didn’t chose to make gospel music, God said the only way I could pursue music is to sing for him. My gifts of singing and songwriting are used for his Glory and I’m honored. Plus I get to tell my story and testify about the greatness of God all in one breathe and it’s magical.“

what’s your earliest memory of music?

“My earliest memory of singing is when I was 10 years old and I received my first solo in my grandmother’s church. I sang Silent Night and my grandma was so proud. I also got in a fight because a girl was jealous I got the part. She later became one of my best friends. Lol”

what’s your favorite thing about the music/creative scene in philly? 

“My favorite aspect of music/creative scene in Philly is its diversity. There’s a tribe for everyone where one can feel at home and accepted. What I also appreciate is the growth that’s happened in the creative community. From local entrepreneurs thriving in business, to organizations like Rec Philly providing resources, to music of all genres playing in venues all over the city. Philly is the Mecca of creative performance at the moment.”

as a creative person, do you ever feel a struggle to balance personal & professional work? 

“Yes, all the time. I work as a attendance coordinator for a charter school, run a hair styling business out of my home and write and sing on a daily basis so yes balancing it all is trying at times. On top of that I’m a wife, bonus mom, and active member of my church so a to do list is my best friend. I’m a planner, but I ask the Holy Ghost what moves to make often. So though life can be draining at times I’m enjoying it. I do however want to start yoga lol”

when you get a creative block, what are some ways you overcome those? 

“What I can say is I never force the music. I dwell in the space of creativity when it hits me. Whether that’s when I hear a dope beat I connect to or when I’m overhearing a conversation that inspires a song. When the juices start flowing, I give my creative side full range. Ideas come at the strangest times for me but I will say my bathroom is a place where hits have been created!”

what are some of the biggest challenges you face as an artist, especially as a woman?

“I’ve faced numerous challenges as an artist, first with accepting my sound as different as is it. Then finding the right creatives to work with. As a woman, when I first started in this industry I was combated with many sexual advances from my male counterparts. Being taken serious in the music industry takes talent and dedication, and in the past 10 years, I believe I’ve shown I possess them both. Budget has been a challenge as well but in the right season, God opens doors no man can close. Honestly I’m grateful for all the challenges because I’ve grown as an artist and a business woman. Even with this album, the lack of a team showed the necessity for one but these are all lessons learned.”

what are three things you never leave home without? 

”I never leave without my phone, a coat if needed, I’m always cold and lipstick."

what are you working on now? and what’s next for you? 

“I’m releasing my debut album November 30th so it’s all I’ve been working on this past month. I don’t know what’s in store but I believe greatness is here. I pray to be touring and doing a few productions come 2019. Oh, performing at the Essence festival is #goals.”