London-based singer/songwriter Delilah (aka. Paloma Ayana Stoecker) is a breath of fresh air, producing music that spans many different genres including pop, dance, electro, soul, acoustic and dub step. Her unique sound earned her a contract with Atlantic Records at age 17, along with support gigs and collaborations with well-known UK artists, and this year, at just 22 years old, she was personally chosen by Prince to support him at his Sydney concert on May 22nd. While she was in the country she blew fans away with her unique sound, hung out with Prince, and even made time to do an exclusive photo shoot for Couturing. With her debut album From The Roots Up now released in Australia Delilah talks to Couturing about Prince, Music, Fashion and life.
Prince has long been one of Delilah’s music idols, so she was thrilled when he called her out of the blue to ask her to support him, and she loved getting to know him on tour. ‘Getting the opportunity to meet [Prince], and hang out, was more than I ever could have imagined. He is such a nice guy, and we got along great.’ Opening for such a big name at such an early stage of her career is no mean feat, and is not only a great endorsement, but also a huge compliment. Delilah says, ‘The fact that he knows of my existence, let alone supports my music is amazing.’
The key to Delilah’s success is her unique sound, influenced by her upbringing and rich cultural heritage including English, Cuban, Nigerian, French and Spanish. ‘My sound is most likely as varied as my background… My musical influences are as equally influenced by where I grew up in London, as they are from my cultural heritage.’
And you only need one listen to her songs to see just how varied and unique they are. ‘I worked really hard to find a sound I that reflects my content. I definitely think my songs have a moody vibe to them. I would describe my songs as dark, melodic, soulful pop.’
This talented young pop star is multi-skilled, playing piano, writing, singing and co-producing, but songwriting is particularly important in her life. ‘Everything I write about it something I’ve felt, a bad boy friend, a broken heart, a lost family member.’ And writing has been a form of self-help for Delilah. ‘Writing music has always been a way of me dealing with my fears and insecurities.’
But she is slowly feeling more comfortable as an artist and individual. ‘I am most definitely feeling more comfortable in my skin, I think that is something that comes with growing up. I have my weakness and my strengths and I work hard to focus on the positives in every aspect of my life.’
Her debut album From The Roots Up is a perfect example of the therapeutic role of writing for Delilah. ‘From The Roots Up is a special album because it has come together over the last 10 years of my life. My dad was killed in a car accident when I was 11 years old; I think that was the catalysts for my writing. I had so much hurt, confusion and feelings that I couldn’t explain, and the only way for me to deal with those feelings was to write about them. It helped. Since then writing songs has continued to help me through times good and bad.’
Fashion is another form of expression for Delilah, and her style is evolving with her music and her personality. She says the role of fashion in her music and identity is of growing importance. ‘At first getting dressed was about practicality, [being] comfortable. Now I think it’s about adding another element to my show, pushing boundaries and taking risks. I try my best to give people something interesting to look at.’
With model-esque features and killer style she definitely gives her fans something interesting to look at on stage, in her video clips and in photo shoots.
Couturing was lucky enough to capture this in our shoot with her in Australia. Wearing Chanel, YSL, and Givenchy she describes the shoot as ‘one of the most glamorous shoots I have done, every item of clothing was from a fashion house. I felt like I was playing princess for the day.’
The fashionable pop star has a self-confessed obsession with shoes and loves incorporating different styles into her outfits. ‘I just love ‘em.’ She says. ‘I think I’m a bit of a schizophrenic when it comes to my shoes taste, I’m either a complete tom boy that lives in trainers and Doc Martin’s, or I’m on the hunt for the most ridiculous pair of heels, think Vegas/ stripper/ drag queen meets fairy princess, and you can imagine the kind of heels I love.’
Her shopping style is similarly eclectic when she’s shopping in her hometown. ‘I tend to mix it up when I shop. In London we are blessed to have a lot of amazing high street stores that are always on trend. I also love the variety of vintage stores – in west London they house beautifully pristine designer products from past collections, where as in East London you can find unlimited amounts of ripped denim shorts and old biker jackets. But her favorite place in the world to shop is ‘Undoubtedly Tokyo’ she says. Every thing looks like it came out of a cartoon or a comic book, and if you can imagine it you can buy it in Tokyo.’
Although she didn’t have time to shop on her recent trip to Australia, she is now a huge fan of our own Sass & Bide. ‘Between the photo shoots, radio promo and hanging out with prince, I barely got time to sleep. [But] I had a wardrobe crisis the day before the prince show, and I had nothing to wear!! So Sass & Bide saved the day – they kindly sent me some amazing pieces to wear for the prince tour, and I have been a huge fan of them ever since. I even checked out their show at London fashion week’
Delilah is no stranger to Australia however, and has visited our shores a number of times before. ‘I have family in the Gold coast and in Sydney. I have always loved visiting Australia, the people are so friendly the food is great, and the amazing weather helps!! If you guys weren’t so far away I’d visit more often!!’
The future looks bright for Delilah with a new album in the works, collaborations, and plans to tour next year. ‘I’m currently working on my second album that will hopefully be released next year. I’m looking forward to doing some international tour dates and getting my music to as many people as possible.’ And we can expect to see a lot more of her here in Australia, as she says, ‘Now the album is released in OZ you will definitely see me down under very soon.’