rock will never die
   rock will never die

 Talk with....Layla Zoe

photo by: Kai Calvato


Shortly before her soon starting and long awaited tour in 2023 throughout Germany and Europe I had the chance to ask Canadian blues-rock singer Layla Zoe a few questions about her new album, the tour and a few other topics.



rockfrank: Layla, after a long break due to the pandemic, you will going on an extended tour throughout Germany and Europr soon. You`ve probably missed being on stage a great deal; how does it feel to be on the road again with such a big tour ahead of you, especially after all this time and finally without restrictions?

Layla Zoe: I can tell you that honestly it feels exciting, terrifying and surreal all at the same time. I have wanted to go back on tour for the past 3 years of course, but now that the time comes it feels unbelievable still and all I can do is have faith in whatever happens out there. Of course I have changed in the last few years and my life has changed, so this also makes touring a different story than perhaps it was before. I will be bringing my two little dogs on tour as they have been the ones, along with my husband, who helped me survive the last 3 years and gave me hope when things were dark. This will be a whole new adventure having the dogs with me in the hotels and tour van. Luckily for me they are quite well behaved and the promoters have all been kind in helping us with dog friendly hotels for the tour. I am also worried a bit about my voice because so many shows kept being cancelled since 2020, so now with all the rescheduled dates it is quite a big tour to fulfil, with 34 shows in 2 months! And I really cannot know how my voice will react to this. But I am determined to try to do all of these concerts without any cancellations, and to do the best I can vocally and energetically, no matter what happens on the road. God put me here to sing, so I plan to go out there and give it my all. And although I feel quite disillusioned about the music business itself, and how it operates these days, I want to go and make music and see what happens. It is one day at a time, but that will have to be good enough. And since I have had many requests this year for concerts, also in the fall I will perform in Canada, UK, Romania, etc, then I feel quite excited about what the future could bring, and it is the first time since 2020 that I have had this feeling about my career again.

rockfrank: You bring along your new album “The world could change”, which was ‘born’ during the pandemic. Fortunately, it was produced again by Henrik Freischlader, how’s also playing almost all instruments. What kind of influence did Corona have on the creation of this album and how much of it is reflected in your lyrics? I’m thinking about the theme song of the album for instance; the words here could be applied to the pandemic in a figurative sense. Am I on the right path of interpretation here? 


Layla Zoe: Most of the album is about the past few years and what I experienced, perceived and saw the world go through since 2020. Of course there are other “lighter” songs like the one inspired by/about my niece in Canada (the song ‘Honey Pie’), my dog Jazzy (the song ‘Jasmine’) and the loss of a good friend of mine who overdosed in Canada a few years ago (the song ‘Brother’). But most of the rest of the album comments on the situation we found ourselves in, being told what we could and could not do, seeing our world ripped apart, small businesses and the entertainment and other industries destroyed, censorship, the inability to speak freely, and division between family, friends and colleagues over personal health choices. I feel I was able to comment on these issues and perspectives without preaching to anyone and am proud of songs like “We’re all the same” which I hope will find its way into the hearts of the listeners no matter what their world views. I was very grateful to work with Henrik on this project because he always allows me complete artistic freedom with my lyrics and let’s me say what I need to say through the music.


rockfrank: The very powerful “Dark heart” on the other hand comes along rather angry and frustrated lyric wise. Any autobiographic content to be heard in this song or merely fiction? 


Layla Zoe: Some of the songs from the album were actually demos that started in 2015 when Henrik and I had planned to make another album together then. But we cancelled that project and went our separate ways at that time. But when we came back together to make this new album, we listened back to some of those demos and a few of them still felt very relevant to the present moment and actually a few of the songs felt even more perfect to be released now than had they been released back in 2015. Dark Heart is one of those songs. It remains unchanged musically and lyrically from how we wrote it back in 2015. It is about a guitarist who had deep alcohol issues who I dated for a short time in 2014, before I met my husband in 2015. I really love this track which is why I chose it to open the album (first song) and am very happy with the low budget music video we made for this track.


photo by: Kai Calvato


rockfrank: Recently you’ve withdrawn again from the world of social media, because you realized the stress it put you under. Wouldn’t it be wise for everybody to go back to the days of old-school in some ways and slow down our lives?


Layla Zoe: I put so many years into the social media aspect of my career in the past and had tens of thousands of followers on Facebook and thousands on Instagram. But I always felt I wanted to step back from it over the years. This was one of the best things that came from 2020 for me, as I finally could see clearly how some of the corporate owners of these platforms were choosing to take sides politically and even go as far as censoring and deleting groups, individuals and points of view. This was when I knew I must pull away from it finally. It was one of the best decisions I could have made for myself.


When I came back to it just one month ago to try and promote the upcoming tour a little more and reconnect with some old friends and colleagues, I realized in a short time that it just wasn’t for me anymore. It not only feels like a huge waste of time, when time is so precious now as I get older, but also it feels that it alters the chemistry of the brain and brings sudden feelings of depression and anxiety that cannot be denied. I feel sad that this is what we hand children at such a young age now. It still baffles me when I see 5-year-olds sitting with an iPad or cellphone in a shop waiting for their mother to finish shopping. It makes me even more grateful that I did not grow up with this kind of technology. I know it has made me a stronger more stable person now, without it.

rockfrank: What do you think; is it still possible nowadays for an artist to be discovered or known and achieve success without the internet? In earlier days it was possible just through radio, press releases, concerts and 3 to 5 tv channels.


Layla Loe: This business will always be difficult no matter what tools we have at our disposal, so I don’t know if the internet has made things easier and better or if it has only allowed room for pretty much anyone to release an album and put it up online. But in the end you will always find a way, with or without social media and the internet, to make music, if making music is what you truly love. Success comes in different forms for different people. My version of success is to have enough to eat and pay the rent, and to still love what I do, reach people`s hearts and maybe do a bit of travelling as part of my job and see new cultures and meet new people. But we know since 2020 that our jobs as musicians suddenly become the lowest on the list of so called “vital” jobs, so we must be grateful for every moment we have now in music. Because at any moment, the chance to make a living doing it could be ripped away from us again. But the ability to heal and move people with music, is something they can never take away from us.


rockfrank: Layla, I know you are a huge Frank Zappa fan. What are your thoughts on how he would have sailed through this crazy time of pandemic, practically a state of emergency? How would he have incorporated all of it in his music, especially knowing that he had his way with the establishment and was well known for his art of spoofing and mockery?


Layla Zoe: Frank had been fighting against censorship for many years. He would have been right at the front of the line to fight against it now too in these present times, I am sure. I don’t think Frank would have only written songs or music that would have reflected these beliefs. I think he would have also sat in court as he had in the past and speak out against it in the legal sense. He knew how important it was…Censorship of any kind, not just in music, will be the death and imprisonment of us all. We must speak out against any form of censorship, and we must retain and fight for our right to free speech.


photo by: Kai Calvato

rockfrank: You’ve been living in Europe for quite some time now. How much do you miss your homeland Canada, and how often do you go back to revisit your roots?


Layla Zoe: I miss Canada all the time. I of course have adjusted to being in Europe now, and my career has blossomed thanks to the support I have received from record labels, fans and promoters in the European blues scene. I am very grateful. But of course, I think of my friends and family and fans in Canada all the time. I will return to Canada for a holiday in May after my tour ends this spring, and I cannot wait to see my family again. Due to travel restrictions and terrible government policies in Canada in the past few years, I was not able to see my family since 2020…Normally I always visited every year. So it has been far too long, and I cannot wait to see them all again and experience the beautiful nature of my county as well.

rockfrank: Your voice is being compared to greats like Beth Hart or Janis Joplin. Do you welcome such comparisons / homages as compliments or does it put you in a state of awe? By all means, after now 14 releases, in my opinion you have one of the most outstanding voices within the blues genre these days, no questions asked; and for good reason you have plenty awards to show for it.


Layla Zoe: Thank you for these kind words, it means alot to me. I love to sing and of course, I sing for myself first. But being able to touch and compel others to truly feel something through my voice and art is something I feel so grateful to God for blessing me with. I never liked comparisons, as each artist has their own flavor, style, message and sense of music. But if I am to be compared to other artists, then I surely cannot complain about being compared to such an amazing artist as Janis Joplin. Truly one of the greats. She gave us so much. I hope someday they might say that about me too…


rockfrank: Layla, thank you so much for this interview. I wish you all the best for your upcoming tour and for the foreseeable future.