"I’ve always wanted to help people on a personal level, especially other trans women, and I feel like music is my voice for that."
Nayla of Jungheim.
Ahead of her upcoming EP, due out this fall, Nayla of Jungheim answered our questions about songwriting, personal growth, and self-discovery as a musician. While writing music is a cathartic process for Nayla, the most joyful part of her work is derived from sharing her thoughts and experiences with others who can relate to her personal journey.
What does the process of writing a song look like for you?
I usually start by playing a set of chords on my guitar that I’m really feeling at that time. I’ll play through them a few times, maybe hum a little, and start to think about how the sound makes me feel. I’m very terrible at coming up with a topic or lyrical idea beforehand, so I almost always just start writing what comes to mind and form the story along the way. Most of what’s originally written stays in the song unless something sounds completely iffy. After that, I just play through the song for a few days in order to solidify my feelings on it and make a decision on whether or not I want to use it.
How have you seen yourself grow since you started recording and releasing music, and how do you hope that growth continues in the future?
When I started recording and releasing music, initially through Bandcamp, I was just recording in a kitchen through a USB mic and releasing that one track. I had no clue about DAWs or production in any way. Since last year, I’ve finally been able to form a little DIY home studio in my room, which has helped in a slight increase in quality. I know a bit more about programs like Studio One and Ableton and Logic Pro now, which has definitely come in handy. I’m really hoping that one day I can actually get a good-quality amp and mic so that I can record guitar tracks through the amp. There’s just something about using a virtual rig that makes everything feel synthetic and unattainable, despite how cool it is to experiment. For now, though, I’ll gladly make do.
What do you hope the audience will feel or experience while listening to your music?
I honestly started making music so that I could help others. I’ve always wanted to help people on a personal level, especially other trans women, and I feel like music is my voice for that. I’ve been a pretty vocal person since I was very little, so it’s easy for me to sing about how I'm genuinely feeling. My thought process is that if I'm singing about my feelings, there are probably people out there listening that finally feel like their voice is being heard. I’ve had people say ‘that song reminded me of my own experiences!’, and that’s the most rewarding aspect of songwriting for me.
"My thought process is that if I'm singing about my feelings, there are probably people out there listening that finally feel like their voice is being heard.
Nayla of Jungheim
Are there parts of yourself that you’ve been more comfortable expressing through your music?
I wouldn’t say that there’s anything that I’ve felt more comfortable expressing, it’s just a lot easier to express through the music. Talking about my mental health or my identity out loud usually results in a more long winded and complicated statement than if I just sang a five minute long song. I’m able to think things over more and offer a more profound outlook through song, whereas conversations just drag on for far too long with far too little to come out of it.
What does the word queer mean to you?
I don’t believe that I truly know what ‘queer’ personally means to me yet. It’s got a lot of history that I’m still not entirely aware about. Many people still experience pain from it. Others experience a deep love for it. I’m more of an observer of ‘queer’, and probably will continue to be for a long time.