Photo by Ruben Hunter
‘HALF’ begins with a tickling melody and a bubbly giggle, which immediately enthralls you; and that is exactly how Ledbyher is kickstarting her musically-destined arrival in London. Only just turning twenty, the proficient and talented Rachel Aisyah Diack crafts her innovative sound within the compact four walls of her university room, where the train tracks make their existence very much known. I first met her on the bottle-littered 10th floor terrace of our accommodation during Fresher’s week; she coolly sauntered outside with a friend, wearing a pink Ed Hardy tracksuit, with her exuberant and animated confidence. Two months after meeting her, she lets me interview her whilst sipping from a bottle of Magnum one hour prior to her birthday.
The new single features Sbk, a rapper she admired for a while even before he reached out to her two years ago for a collaboration, which finally came into fruition as a result of her arrival in London. Surprisingly, her recent move from countryside Norwich to the boundless city has not made things simpler for Rachel: “I was constantly living in retrospect of the future when I was in the countryside. When I move to London, I will do this and this… but now you can’t plan very well, because you’re in the plan already”.
I was curious to know why she decided to study film as opposed to the obvious choice of music, given her passion for it. “Technically, stuff you can do can be wrong. I don’t enjoy the idea of marking art; it’s a personal experience”. Studying music for A-level made her unconvinced of its benefit, and after not doing so well in her exam, Rachel casually hit up her tutor and slipped in that she was performing at Wireless Festival in 2021.
Supporting Girli on her ‘Damsel in Distress’ Tour in 2021, Rachel recalls her most memorable moment performing: “I noticed a pregnant woman at the back smiling a lot during my set. After the show, she came up to me and said, ‘you’re the first person my baby has heard perform live!’ I literally broke the fuck down”.
With dreamy and melodic vocals, Rachel’s sister Anjeli features on track ‘THE STAGE’ in Ledbyher’s debut EP Cunch; the sisters are now working on a collaborative EP. Rachel warmly discusses her relationship with Anjeli: “She’s been through everything I have. Some of my music is a bit risky and personal, but she wanted it to go out. She said I shouldn’t be afraid or worried about what people may think; she said I believe in you. Without that, I would have never put it out”.
With art’s potential to heal and serve as therapy, I inquired how creating and listening to music has helped during her troubled home past and home life. Through her uncertain childhood of being uprooted from her house in 2020, she couch-hopped and spent nights homeless. Nonetheless, Rachel carried her laptop from place to place, still creating, writing, and producing: “When everything is uprooted, you change your whole perspective. I thought, where can I write? Where can I fit it in? It was my sister who helped me change into a whole new person. That’s why I feel like I can adapt so well”.
With a constant hunger for new sounds, Rachel pulls inspiration for her music from everywhere: “the smallest thing like seeing something on the street or any interest in life that I have, I infuse into my music”. Rachel elaborates on her different phases: “At the minute I’m in an electronic phase, I’ve always been into rap, but I love exploring any genre. I was really into Indian techno for two weeks. I don’t listen to it much now, but it’s good that I did.” Taking inspiration in any way she can grasp, Ledbyher becomes an amalgamation of art.
The name “Ledbyher” captivates people when discovering her music, so I asked her about the meaning behind it: “During my GCSE’s there was a syllabus of poems for our English class, and we read one of the poems ‘The Prelude’ and the opening line of the extract read ‘One summer evening (led by her)’ and I would read it over and over. He’s personifying the world: The world gets him out the door. The world leads you by the mountains, the rivers, by everything.” Ledbyher takes words and poetry out of the brackets, leading us to her interior world and pens it to the stage.
Edited by Akane Hayashi, Music Editor