Singer / Songwriter
Spotify | Youtube

Photographer: 36NEEX, Stylist: Keyan Miao, Hair: Maliaka Frazier, Makeup: Leslie Rodriguez

Wolftyla is a singer/songwriter who kicked off her music career in 2015 with her impressive debut single, “Feels,” garnering over 10 million streams across digital platforms. Her body of work transcends genres and reflects a wide musical range that can be heard in songs like “Candy,” “Crash,” and “All Tinted” to name a few. Her unique sound and colorful melodies make her music distinctive yet fresh and new with each song listen. As a half Korean, Wolftyla listened to K-pop music from a young age starting with the OG artists like Hyori and SHINee to now BTS and BLACKPINK. The love is definitely mutual as K-pop mega stars Taehyung of BTS and Rosé of BLACKPINK have acknowledged and expressed admiration for Wolftyla’s music. Like the rest of the world, the pandemic had shaken up Wolftyla’s schedules and plans as an artist, but she is navigating through it by not only working on exciting new music, but also wisely pursuing a degree at NYU to broaden her knowledge of the very industry that she’s immersed in.

Where are you from? What was life like growing up?

I was born and raised in New York. Growing up my life was always fast paced, competitive and pretty restless for the most part. I battled anxiety and clinical depression at the beginning of 17 which has molded a part of who I am today. My parents were pretty strict so that influenced me to live in my head a lot and I think that’s what essentially made me so creative and in tune with myself. A memorable part of my childhood was being surrounded by my grandma’s Korean cooking and always being on the road playing basketball. Being a point guard was my first love before I found my passion for making music. Music is what helped me cope through every dark hour, warming up before games, my first year on campus at NYU and before going to sleep every night.

How has your Korean and African-American background shaped you in life?

Having a Korean and African-American background has shaped me from the food I eat to the responsibility I hold for the girls that look like me. By keeping myself educated on my culture, it has enabled me to spread awareness through my platforms and incorporate the emotions that come with it through my music.

How would you describe yourself as an artist and what inspires your music as a singer/songwriter?

I would describe myself as an artist who has her own unique sound that doesn’t fall in just one particular genre. I’m often inspired by my own personal experiences, how I’m feeling at a given moment and/or a blend of the two. My music has always been very transparent. I think one of the most interesting things about when I compose music is even though it may sound “bright” or “airy” there could be a dark story behind it and vice versa. You really have to listen to the lyrics to understand the place I’m telling the story from.

You’ve expressed interest in doing K-pop music recently, are there any artists or groups that you’re a fan of in that industry?

Absolutely. When I was younger I would sing “10 Minutes” by Lee Hyori on my grandma’s karaoke machine and no pun intended have “Replay” by SHINee on replay. Today I listen to BLACKPINK, BTS and there’s this one song that I’ve been obsessed with called “Shine on You” by Wheein. Last year I had the pleasure of working with Jay Park on “Butterflies” after being a fan of his song “V”. I’m just really excited to build up the courage to release my first record incorporating a mixture of English and Korean. I’ve always been really shy about speaking Korean ever since I was little and only spoke it with my family.

Speaking of K-pop, V from BTS has listened to your music! He was inspired by your song “All Tinted” and said, “I want to try to do music in this style.” What was your reaction when you heard about this?

At the time, I was in Miami for the week trying to find inspiration for new music and in and out studio sessions. I’m the kind of person that tries to find joy out of the littlest things and hold onto it…like earlier that day someone I’m close to had me try kale for the first time and for that morning I was proud of myself for just trying something new. That same day when it was brought to my attention that V wanted to try music similar to my song, “All Tinted”, it felt like the world stopped for a moment. Not a lot of people know this but I was going to quit making music after the release of “All Tinted”…I just was feeling really discouraged about my own work and kind of lost…but I figured if it was going to be what I thought was my last song, why not put whatever good energy I had left of me into a song. You get like that sometimes when you are your biggest fan and harshest critic. That day I felt seen, heard, filled with love and inspired. I listened to BTS growing up so that will always be a precious moment for myself.

Photographer: 36NEEX, Stylist: Keyan Miao, Hair: Maliaka Frazier, Makeup: Leslie Rodriguez

You have spoken up about the importance of uplifting other women and have shown support to other female artists including Rosé from BLACKPINK who has also shared her love for your music on social media. Why do you think it’s important to celebrate other women in the industry?

It’s important to celebrate other women in the industry because these are your sisters, not your competition. When a woman wins in the industry, you win too…and when you win, it’s a soju toast for women and brings representation for women.

Whenever you put your kindest foot forward towards a woman or in this case another female artist, it will never take away from what you’ve built. I am extra grateful for women like Rosé not just because she has showed support towards “All Tinted” and “Someone Like You”…it’s the principle of never having to do so but she decided to. That’s rare.

As a self-funded independent artist, you’re really doing it all. How does it feel to have built yourself all the way up to this point? What is the most rewarding and most challenging aspect of your career?

Truthfully, it’s exhausting. I think I spend a lot of days trying to control my emotions more than understand them. I wake up sometimes not feeling my best self and other days I feel on a high, inspired and ready to hit the ground running…but above all, I never lose sight of my “why” and who I’m doing it for. The most rewarding aspect of my career is I’m able to make music for people like me — the people who take a little bit longer than most to get out of bed in the morning, the people who can’t seem to get their mind to be silent for a moment, the people who take late night drives with their playlist, the people who are still healing the “inner child” in themselves day by day.

The most challenging aspect is finding a healthy balance between creating and continuing to consistently create with eyes on you vs time off to myself when ironically I feel the most “myself” when creating.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on a new music video for an unreleased song titled “Keep You Close” produced by South Korean producer, Big Banana. I’ve worked with him on singles like “Someone Like You” and “Play For Keeps”. SNAKEHIPS and I just finished a song that brings together both of our worlds on one record just in time for summer. I recently started giving out features to other artists and my second EP is currently in the works.

You are an independent artist, businesswoman, and now college student pursuing a degree at NYU! With your already busy schedule, what inspired you to take classes?

The pandemic inspired me to set aside time in my schedule to tune in remotely to classes. When the world shut down and they announced that we had to quarantine, the “artist” side of me was thinking of ways to be prepared rather than be nervous. A lot of the shows and festivals I was supposed to be a part of were cancelled, brands backed out of deals, I cancelled my trip to Korea.

I thought the best thing I could do for myself is to continue to keep learning in any way that I could, so I applied for the Steinhardt Music Business program. At least if I’m not able to perform and see my fans up close, I can learn behind closed doors the background of the industry I’m a part of everyday.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Five years from now, I see myself with a degree in Music Business from New York University and a lot more music out for my fans to tune into.

Photographer: 36NEEX, Stylist: Keyan Miao, Hair: Maliaka Frazier, Makeup: Leslie Rodriguez