Rising star Kayla DiVenere is making a name for herself through her authentic storytelling and thoughtfully created melodies. Drawing from her personal experiences and emotions, she crafts songs that capture the highs and lows of young adulthood, offering listeners a glimpse into her world with each poignant lyric and haunting melody.

DiVenere’s latest single, “Small Talk,” encapsulates the essence of romantic yearning with lush melodies and heartfelt lyrics, drawing listeners into a world where every moment holds the promise of something more profound. Inspired by her own experiences of unrequited love, DiVenere infuses the track with vulnerability and authenticity, crafting a narrative that transcends time and space. Through “Small Talk,” she not only explores the complexities of love and desire but also shines a light on the universal human experience, cementing her status as a dynamic artist who pushes the boundaries of contemporary pop music while staying true to her roots.

In a landscape often dominated by male voices, DiVenere stands tall as a beacon of empowerment, refusing to be confined by societal expectations or industry norms. As a fierce advocate for social change and empowerment, she continues to pave the way for future generations of artists, proving that strength and vulnerability can coexist in perfect harmony.

We caught up with Kayla DiVenere about her latest single, “Small Talk,” her creative process, challenges in the music industry, and advocacy for women’s representation and social change.

SheBOPS: Congratulations on your new single “Small Talk”! Can you share any insights into the production process behind bringing the song to life?

Kayla DiVenere: I co-wrote the song with Jordan Witzigreuter (he also produced it), Zach DeGaetano, and Maia Kelly. I love working with them, it’s always the best time. We usually spend the first 2 hours of the session getting into deep conversations. They’re all so talented and it feels like such an honor to make music with them. I’m so happy that I got to make “Small Talk” with them. I poured my heart out in that session and the lyrics just flowed.

“Small Talk” tells the story of a secret crush on your brother’s best friend. Can you walk us through the process of translating those feelings into lyrics and melodies?

“Small Talk” is about a secret crush I’ve had on my brother’s best friend ever since I was 14. I created the song in my longing to have more than 5-minute fleeting conversations with him every time he would come over to our house. I let my imagination run wild and I found myself aching for the kind of love from a John Hughes romance movie… the boombox at the window, playing his favorite mixtape, that kind of secret love. After rewatching every romance movie to exist, it was absolute torture to continue entertaining meaningless small talk with my brother’s best friend, so I decided to write “Small Talk” in an attempt to pour my heart out and make sense of my desire for something more.

You mentioned drawing inspiration from classic romance movies like those of John Hughes. How do these cinematic influences manifest in the storytelling and mood of “Small Talk”?

I think that there’s something so special about 80s movies. I grew up and built my romantic fantasies on the love stories I saw in John Hughes films, and I still believe that romance should be as electric as how it’s portrayed in the movies. I wanted “Small Talk” to have the same confessional and hopeless feel as those classic rom-coms.

“Small Talk” captures the yearning for deeper connection and romantic gestures, such as the imagery of a boombox serenade. How do you balance nostalgia with contemporary themes in your music?

I wish I had a better answer but I honestly don’t think about it too much! I just do what I think is cool and feels true to me. I just run with it and hope that people can relate in some way! 

As with all your music, “Small Talk” explores personal experiences and emotions. How do you navigate the line between sharing your own stories and creating music that resonates with a broad audience?

We all experience the same universal emotions, more than we even realize sometimes. I try to put those universal emotions and experiences into my lyrics and I hope that they can become songs that everyone can relate to in some way.  

Your lyrics often capture the highs and lows of young adulthood. What draws you to exploring these themes in your music?

I think growing up is one of the hardest things a person goes through! It can be so scary to navigate life and the challenges life throws at you. We tend to forget that we are all experiencing the same thing, one way or another, and that we are more similar than we think. I love exploring these themes in my music because I know it can help a lot of people understand that they’re not alone in the things they’re going through.

Can you walk us through your creative process when writing a new song?

I have a huge list of concepts/ideas I keep in the notes page on my phone. I get so many song ideas from conversations, experiences, movies, and really anything around me. When I’m in the mood to write, I pull out that note and choose an idea that sparks something in me. Then, I basically just fall into a creative hole of melodies, vibes, lyrics, and sounds that speak to me.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a young artist in the music industry, and how have you overcome them?

Using social media so much as a young artist can be so mentally taxing and exhausting, but I’ve learned to overcome those feelings by switching my perspective on the content I consume. Social media is so pivotal to my music, so I try to look at it as a beautiful way to connect with people all over the world and spread positivity. There’s obviously so many downsides to social media but it can also be a really beautiful and uniting thing. 

How do you navigate the balance between staying true to your artistic vision and meeting industry expectations?

If I don’t stay true to myself and make songs that I like, it’s going to make it so hard in the long run to promote my music or even play it live. It’s so important to believe in what you make. You need to be your own biggest fan because sometimes you are all that you have! 

How has your experience as an artist based in LA influenced your musical direction and sound?

The artist community in LA is like no other, and I constantly feel like I have such a safe space to talk about everything I go through in the industry. Not only is it a safe space, but I’m also lucky to be inspired by my friends and collaborators every day. We all make each other better humans and creators and it’s so beautiful! 

Can you speak to any obstacles you have encountered as a woman in the industry, and how have you navigated or overcome them?

It can definitely feel challenging at times being a woman in such a male dominated industry. I ended up in so many meetings where I’m the only young female representation in a room full of men over 40. I’ve learned to stand my ground though and stay true to who I am. I always fight for what I want and make sure that everybody in a room sees me and hears me. 

From your perspective, what steps do you think the industry can take to counteract inequality and make the industry safer for women?

To continue to speak out, to make sure that there is a gender balance in the rooms I’m in, and strive for equality in power. 

Do you think the music industry is evolving in a more inclusive and supportive direction for women, and if so, what factors are contributing to this shift?

I think slowly but surely things are headed in the right direction! For us women to continue doing what we’re doing will continue to change things for the better. Speaking up, speaking our truth, and fighting for our representation. 

Are there any elements of the industry that frustrate you, especially from a woman’s perspective? On the flip side, what are some elements that you like and celebrate?

There definitely are some toxic elements of the industry, one of them being the absurd amount of competition. On the flip side, there is also a wonderful community of artists who strive to create a safe space of inspiration! 

What’s next for Kayla DiVenere? Any upcoming projects or collaborations we can look forward to?

So many new singles, shows, and fun content will come up this year so stay tuned!!! 

“Small Talk” by Kayla DiVenere is out now.

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