Aqyila is a Mississauga-based R&B singer-songwriter. Over the last few years, Aqyila lived as any other singer/songwriter would, she sang for family and friends, and performed for local talent show audiences.
On the day to day, Aqyila is fun, encouraging, and supportive, all of which helped lead her to success. At the end of 2020, Aqyila recorded a Tik Tok of herself singing. Although she originally thought to draft the recording, she ultimately decided to post it. Almost immediately, it went viral.
Aqyila didn’t know the extent of it at the time, but that Tik Tok ended up changing her life. In the weeks and months following the success of that tik tok, Aqyila would receive praise from some of her favourite artists, and artistic inspirations, including Bebe Rexha, Lizzo, and even Monica.
That song writing exercise, turned almost-Tik Tok draft, turned viral sensation, would eventually become the hit single “Vibe For Me (Bob For Me)”, and would amass over 5 million plays on Spotify alone.
Aqyila’s realness and personality took the song from her bedroom, to across the world. Now, her plan is to continue making dope music, with the help of Sony Music behind her.
Before the release of her “Vibe For Me” Performance Video, Sidedoor spoke with Aqyila about the hit single, as well as her early life, and her attitude about it all. Check out a lightly edited version of our conversation below and check out the performance available now on her YouTube channel!
Sidedoor: When and how did you first start getting into singing/song writing?
Aqyila: That started back in grade five. I wrote my first song for my mom, to sing in a talent show and I named it “Mama”. And of course, she was crazy about it, because it was all about her. But since then, I realized I enjoyed song writing and writing out my feelings and stuff. So, over the years, if I was sad, or if I was going through something, I would just start writing about stuff and then sing it.
S: Before you started writing original music, how did you find out you liked singing?
A: Before I started writing, I used to do covers on YouTube. One time I did “Here” by Alessia Cara, and she ended up DM-ing me on Instagram. She was like, “Hey, I saw your cover. Just want to say, you have an awesome voice,” and I was like, “Oh, my God. No way. You seen it?!” Because she didn’t comment, I didn’t know if she saw it.
But that was dope, and it motivated me. I was like, okay, like, maybe I should just continue doing this thing. Then in 2016, when I got more into Vine and Kik and stuff, I did a mash up to “Work”, “Hold Yuh” by Gyptian, and then a song by PARTYNEXTDOOR, and that went viral on Twitter. That was pretty cool too, because a couple of news outlets got wind of it, like the Fader and stuff wrote about me, so I thought that was really dope.
S: Did you feel like you had a knack of singing and writing, even at a young age?
A: I found that song writing isn’t really that hard for me. If I hear a beat nowadays, words will just come to me, and I’ll just start putting them down or writing them down on my phone. Even back then, when I didn’t know about beats, I was just thinking of melodies and song writing. I have a whole book that I used to write in when I was like, 10 to 12. But yeah, I’ve always loved song writing and just writing in general.
S: It feels like, even with your success; the viral tik toks, millions of streams, and everything, you have a very regular attitude about you – even now.
A: Yeah, like I just announced that I’m signed. Of course, my close friends and family already knew but, you know, as much that’s obviously like a life changing thing, I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
I’m still me, you know? [Laughs]. I’m still chilling here; I’m still hanging out with my friends doing dumb stuff. So yeah, it’s definitely a new direction and a new career change for me in life. But I’m super grateful because I work with so many amazing producers and singer and songwriters. And, you know, just being in the atmosphere, whether it’s like through zoom or in person is just like an awesome opportunity. So, yeah, I’m just grateful.
S: Before you wrote “Vibe For Me”, did you know you wanted make a song that was empowering and “feel-good” like that?
A: That’s definitely what I was going for just because even before I dropped that song, a lot of people were like, “Oh my gosh, you make me feel so confident in my melanin”, and “you make me feel so beautiful and handsome”, And I’m like that’s good, I want that. I want people to feel like that.
Especially in the younger generation, there’s so many little kids that messaged me and said, “Oh my God, I look up to you like a older sister” and stuff, and that’s so sweet. I want them to remember that you’re beautiful and you’re worthy and stuff. And so, when they hear that song, and they’re dancing to it, I’m glad. That makes me feel glad, you know?
S: Last thing, your performance energy is incredible. You looked confident, your voice was powerful, and most of all, it looked like you were having a blast. How were you able to do so well, so quickly?
A: You know what, I think that honestly comes from me always like picturing myself like… – I’d always take my hairbrush and sing in front of the mirror in my room, even with other people’s songs. And sometimes I’d just visualize me singing my own song. So then, in that moment when I was able to do that, I was just like, “yeah, I’m gonna go for it”. Like, I’m gonna really sing that, you know? I just got me excited, because it’s me and I’m actually doing it.
Aqyila’s energy can not only be felt through her music, but also in everything else she does. It’s easy to want to see her win.
Once again, check out Aqyila’s performance of “Vibe For Me” above, and be sure to show her some love!