She’s on the rise. Aiyana-Lee is an up-and-coming artist from London who combines elements of pop, R&B, rock, and soul into raw, heartfelt lyrics. She recently launched her first EP, Wednesday’s Child (Side A) ahead of her album debut later this year. Her vocals are so good, we’ve been listening to them on repeat every day at the gym. (But ofc they are, considering she’s the daughter of a multi-platinum songwriter and the niece of a Temptations singer.)

Here, the 21-year-old shares why she doesn’t box herself into 1 genre, who she listened to growing up, and why having her mom as her manager was the best decision ever.

Genres are starting to overlap more and more. Do you think your music can be categorized into a specific one?
I believe music, and this EP specifically, transcends genre. When we were in the studio, we didn’t want to think about an era, or what’s on-trend or not on-trend. It was more like, “Let’s just take our instruments out and not think about it.” From that, we cultivated a kind of sound that doesn’t belong in a particular category. We have the overarching pop sounds, but with R&B tones, some jazz, and some rock. It doesn’t stick to 1 thing.

Is your music inspired by any artists in particular?
Not really, because my mom, Daciana Nicole Anderson, is a multi-platinum singer / songwriter, and always played the most diverse music in our house. We listened to Nirvana, Brian McKnight, Boyz II Men, and with my uncle being David Ruffin from The Temptations and my grandfather being Jimmy Ruffin, we also had so much music from Motown. I listened to so many musicians growing up that it made me very open-minded as a creative.

What are the pros and cons of having a momager?
There really aren’t any cons. It’s honestly the biggest blessing in my life, because not all managers care for people as a human first and as an artist second. She’s my partner through everything, and money can’t buy that kind of support. We’re also pretty much the same person in 2 different bodies—we have the same ideas, thoughts, expressions, and are so in-tune with each other.

Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your lyrics.
They’re a very unfiltered, unedited recollection of my past. The whole thing is like a big diary. In Love U Later, I describe not being able to love someone right now because I’m so focused on my music. Then there’s Miserable, which recounts my negative experiences with my father. My hope is that every time I listen to these songs or perform them, I feel the same emotions I felt while having those experiences.

Is it scary to expose yourself that way?
To be honest, it kind of set me free. It’s been very therapeutic because once you put your emotions in a song, you purge yourself of that negative baggage. Music is a form of release, and being able to make it relatable is magical, because not only have you created a vehicle for yourself to heal, but also for other people to listen to and say, “I’m not alone in this.”