Lila Iké (pronounced Lee-lah Eye-kay) is one of the freshest new voices on Jamaica’s music scene. As the latest addition to In.Digg.Nation Collective, a record label and talent pool for Jamaican creatives started by reggae star Protoje, the fast-rising singer is gaining attention at home and abroad with her distinctive delivery and old-school sensibilities.
Born Alecia Grey, the future Lila Iké grew up in the cool hills of Manchester, Jamaica. She first developed her love for music in high school, where she was affectionately dubbed “class clown” by schoolmates. She would often be asked to create jingles on the spot for class presentations, or get caught freestyling in class with her friends, and after winning the “best talent” award in her high school pageant and writing her class’ graduation song, she knew she had found her calling.
It was while attending Northern Caribbean University, when she first began signing up for open mics and putting herself out there as an artist. In Kingston, Jamaica’s capital city, Lila began connecting with artists like Jah9, Kabaka Pyramid and Protojé, key figures and leaders in what’s been called the reggae revival — each of whom she now considers her advisors. True to her love of freestyling from her days in high school, Lila records all of her vocals spontaneously, relying on her vibe and energy to provoke creative thought. She applies this same principle to her relationship with the people around her, only working with people with whom she has an organic connection, and who have a clear vision and her best interest at heart.
Having appeared as a featured guest on tracks by Protoje (“Flight Plans”), Royal Blu (“Believe”) and Koro Fyah (“Got it For You,” “Raggamuffin”) and on mixtapes by Addis Pablo and Yaadcore, she is now building her own catalog of impressive solo material. “Biggest Fan,” her 2017 debut single, was a tribute to her mother who, despite initially disapproving of her daughter’s career choice, has ended up becoming her “biggest fan.” Her second single, “Gotti Gotti,” likewise acknowledges the wisdom of elders, taking her generation’s predilection for greed to task on a vintage reggae riddim.
For her third and latest single “Second Chance,” out July 27 via In.Digg.Nation Collective//Delicious Vinyl Island, Iké once again taps into the past while revealing a sound that is fresh, new and all her own. The heavy drum and bass on “Second Chance” will be instantly familiar to long-time reggae fans, but Iké gives the rhythm a fresh coat, delivering a rub-a-dub love song for the ages.