Image Credit: Sam Alaimo (Gramophone Media)
Rising star Kayla DiVenere has taken the music scene by storm with her latest single, “Date Myself.“ The song’s release marks a powerful moment of self-discovery and empowerment for the 19-year-old actress and singer-songwriter with a dedicated online following. However, her first single of the year, “Jumping the Gun,” showcases Kayla’s continued growth as a versatile artist.
Kayla opened up about her top musical inspirations and blossoming career during an exclusive interview with HollywoodLife.
Can you explain to us why you wrote “Jumping the Gun”?
“Jumping the Gun” was born after meeting someone in line for less than two minutes and being convinced they were my soulmate. I tend to “jump the gun” with a lot of my first encounters, already picturing a future with them before even getting to know their last name. Venting about my frustration led me to thinking “Jumping the Gun” could certainly feed into the delusional relatability of letting your heart lead the way without thinking — a feeling I know a lot of teen girls my age know far too well.
Can you explain your obsession with Justin Bieber? What is your favorite lyric in your “Justin Bieber” song?
From having a poster of Justin Bieber on my wall at the age of 6 to getting a life-sized cardboard cutout of him on Valentine’s day at 14, I think it’s safe to say I’m a superfan. Growing up with Bieber’s music had a really big role in my falling in love with music. I guess it also didn’t help that he had the most perfect hair. My favorite lyric in my “Justin Bieber” song is, “I’d practice kissing your cardboard cut out,” because well … It’s true.
What is your favorite TikTok you have ever made?
My styling videos are my favorite Tik Toks I make! I love putting outfits together that are cohesive with the sound of my music in the background.
Who are your musical inspirations, and how have they influenced your unique style as an artist?
The 1975 and Olivia Rodrigo’s music have really inspired me this past year. I love the relatability and cheekiness of Olivia’s sayings and titles while The 1975’s sonics are the perfect punch to the gut. They both have inspired me countless times to explore areas they sit in.
How would you describe your fashion style?
Picking out my outfit is one of my favorite parts of my day. I really like to blend styles to create new fashion genres. I love thrifting old and unique pieces, and I also love the baggy skater look, so I would describe my fashion style as vintage streetwear.
Your latest single has been making waves. What was the inspiration behind it, and how do you feel it represents your current artistic direction?
“I kinda wanna date myself” blurted out of my mouth while ranting to my mom about all the horrible dates I’ve been on. I knew from the moment I said it out loud that it could be turned into an anthem for everyone going through the endless, treacherous dating cycle of constantly being let down. Writing “Date Myself” reminded me of how beautiful it is to spend time by yourself and how important it is to be comfortable owning your self-love and high standards. Being able to hear it back after writing it and to scream it at the top of my lungs has comforted me more than any guy has, and I hope it can comfort people too in any way they can relate to it. “Date Myself” is the first of many songs to come out in my project that has a nostalgic, anthemic feel to it and I can’t wait to roll out the rest.
Can you share any behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the making of your recent music video?
The making of my recent music video was one of the most last-minute, no-plan productions of my life, and so far, my favorite one. Being an indie artist, I like to force my friends to help me with my visuals. My friend Lili and I usually film and handle the creative direction of every song I drop, but for “Jumping the Gun,” we were in a major time crunch and had no ideas for location, concept, etc. All I knew was that I wanted to wear a wedding dress and hold red roses, so we stopped by a flower shop to buy them with no plan to follow. As we were heading back to the car, there just so happened to be a construction site right behind the flower shop that was perfectly lit with so many props lying around to use. The video turned out so fun and sometimes, I really do think that the most low-key, chill production with friends has more magic than intense planning and fabrication.
Reflecting on your career, what would you consider to be the most significant milestone or achievement so far?
Releasing my “Justin Bieber” song and seeing how the Beliebers of the world embraced it is still mind blowing to me.
Are there any moments in your journey that have surprised you or exceeded your expectations?
The fact that people actually listen to my music and not only like it but get inspired by it is still a crazy concept to me. The love and support from my listeners have really motivated and filled me up.
Your fan base is incredibly passionate. How do you maintain a strong connection with your audience, both online and during live performances?
Interacting with my fans is one of my favorite things to do. I try my hardest to reply to every comment or text I get. I love how art brings people together!
Is there a specific interaction with a fan that has left a lasting impression on you?
I get a lot of DMs from fans telling me how my music has inspired them to create music of their own, which is such an incredible thing to hear.
What can fans expect from your upcoming projects or collaborations?
Fans can expect a lot of new music that they can scream at the top of their lungs to.
As an artist, how do you envision your musical journey unfolding in the next few years?
I would love to continue releasing a single every 1-2 months, eventually work my way up to an EP and album, followed by touring. I really hope that somewhere along the way, I can make an impact on people’s lives with my art, and let them know that they’re not alone in whatever they are feeling.
A round of Never Have I Ever with Kayla:
Stood someone up on a date?
Proud to say I have never stood anyone up on a date.
Dumped someone over text?
Never dumped someone over text.
Flirted with someone you were collaborating with?
100000% flirted and had a fling with a collaborator after writing a song together.
Had a celebrity slide into your DM?
I have had a celebrity slide into my DMs, but then he painfully ghosted me after we set up a date.