Hyper RYL0 Returns to the Dark Side: For Los Angeles-based alt-pop artist RYL0, everything went pretty much to plan in 2022. Collaborations with the likes of Sabby Sousa and Fraxiom, plus disarmingly catchy singles such as “Fancam” and “Superpop,” saw her stock rise as the months passed.
In 2023, she has to take advantage of her blossoming status and she’s off to a great start with the latest single, “Thru My Chest,” a return to her darker electro-pop roots after a period of manic hyperpop activity. It’s all part of the evolution of an artist who has been singing all her life.
“I guess I officially started singing when I was around fifth grade,” she says. “My parents didn’t even know that I could sing, I just signed up for a talent show. The first time I ever sang in public was in front of my entire school. From that point, I was a musical theater head, I was in a capella groups for maybe 10 years. I didn’t start writing music myself until college, 2019. While I was in college, I was pursuing film, so music wasn’t on my brain at all. But I was feeling inspired so I started learning how to produce myself. It was fun, but I was still pursuing film.”
RYL0 graduated from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2020 and threw herself into music because it felt more accessible than film. Her debut live performance came in the summer of 2021.
“I came from this dark electronic avenue, and that definitely didn’t have a space in what was already going on in the USC scene,” she says. “But my first show was at a USC house party. I finally got booked to play a USC show, after I had graduated. The stage was the front patio at this campus house. The turnout was pretty good. I approached it seriously. It ended up going well and I’m proud of how that first show went.”
The artist says that her own tastes are cyclical, something which accounts for her return to that dark electronic vibe on her new single.
“I follow what I’m feeling,” she says. “That’s how I approach my career – making what I want to make because I think it sounds cool. For the past three years, I’ve been very much a part of the hyper-pop scene. Fully immersed in that community, both online and the local L.A. community. My music has obviously been extremely impacted by that. But with ‘Thru My Chest,’ I’ve acknowledged that it is a return to center and what started me in music in the first place.”
It’s certainly working. RYL0 is also having success cultivating her online presence, a fact that she puts down to simply being herself.
“Social media is so important, and if you’re new to establishing an online presence, it’s probably in your best interests to be more strategic about it than I am or was,” she says. “But how I exist online is truly how I’ve always existed online. I just think it’s a really fun outlet. When I take social media super seriously, I just feel dumb then I’d end up never posting anything. So my philosophy has always been to post in the spur of the moment, what I’m feeling, just what feels true to me. Be yourself online and you will attract the people that will be interested in that, and you as a result.”
“Thru My Chest” sees RYL0 collaborating with songwriter Christina Galligan (aespa, Lexi Jayde), the latest in a long line of collabs. RYL0 says that she enjoys the process.
“I love collaborating,” she says. “Looking back, my career has been extremes. When I was doing my dark electronic, that was all me. I wasn’t established in the music community, so I relied on myself to carry the team. Looking back now, having worked with so many collaborators, I don’t prefer how I was operating before. I feel like I’ve been exposed to the gateway drug of collaboration, and now I know I can do it 10 times faster — why would I go back to doing it 10 times slower by myself?”
Dave Burris is the producer on “Thru My Chest,” while the process with Galligan was quite new because RYL0 had never shared her songwriting process before.
“She’s an amazing vocalist right off the bat,” RYL0 says. “She started singing gibberish over a chord progression Dave was building. It was a crash course in how I could be maximizing my songwriting skills. Just going for it. Together we were able to tell the story that I came in wanting to tell in the most concise way possible. There’s 15 seconds of verse, right into a pre-chorus. It’s still really emotionally compelling.”
“Thru My Chest” is a great start to the year for RYL0, and there’s much more to come. She’s just not entirely sure of the form that will take yet.
“There’s definitely another single coming out in February,” she says. “I’ve been thinking about larger projects for a long time. I did a few mixtapes in 2021 and 2022. I’ve been back and forth about what I want to do next. The mixtapes did feel like a level up in a lot of ways. I approached them almost as the same project. After that process, I’ve been thinking about it for months. I’ve been in and out of sessions for all of 2022 so I have a lot of music. Basically, coming towards the end of last year, my manager and I were going back and forth about the plan about what we were going to do with all the music. At one point we were talking about an album in 2023, and then maybe some more mixtape rollouts. Ultimately, I’m a project-based person. So it’s definitely leading up to a larger project, but we’re still brainstorming what that story will look like.”
Ultimately, RYL0 sees 2023 as a blank slate, upon which she can craft her career as she sees fit.
“I’m excited to move into a more fully fledged pop space,” she says, in conclusion. “I haven’t even scratched the surface of what that sounds like. That’ll be exciting when it’s eventually out.”
Hyper RYL0 Returns to the Dark Side: RYL0’s “Thru My Chest” single is out now.
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