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WALL Talks About Bringing Her Mellow, Infectious Pop To The States

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I have to wait for almost an hour before interviewing Lyla Foy, the London singer-songwriter and producer better known as WALL, but once she introduces herself to me, my annoyance melts away. A classic example of a polite Brit, she apologizes and flashes me a smile from behind her curly hair. It's been a crazy day of press and recording for her and her bandmates: “We got in last night, and we had a day flight so we just woke up really early and then had no sleep...I think we're back to normal, but it's the middle of the night over in London, so...” she trails off, leaving her jet lag behind, ready to talk music.

We're chatting in a sprawling Santa Monica mansion called the “House of Rock”, where WALL's been doing media spots and recording sessions all day before her first-ever U.S. show at Historic Filipinotown's Bootleg Theatre. Neither of us can stop marveling at the beautiful California day happening outside the picture window. Foy says touring the States is “like a dream come true.”

“I always hoped there might be a market over here for my music,” she says “I'm going to just give it my all and try to get some fans in the States so I can come back.”

WALL's sleepy, sexy melodies, fueled by Wurlitzer organs, drum machine and bass, have been blog fodder since she released a minimalist cover of the Supremes' “Where Did Our Love Go?” last year. The understated intensity of her work recalls Feist's "Let It Die" or the xx's self-titled debut. After playing upcoming shows at South by Southwest and the release of her EP, "Shoestring," on April 2, I predict she'll have plenty of excuses to jump the pond.

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"Shoestring" has been my background music for the past few weeks. It's mellow-but-infectious pop, created with the precision of someone who knows exactly what she wants: “The artists I love are all kind of people who like to have the creative control of the writing and producing of their own music,” she explains.

When WALL takes the stage at the Bootleg before Joshua James, it's clear that Foy is well on her way to becoming one of these whiz-kid artists she refers to. She switches from guitar to keyboard, deftly manipulating distortion and drum machines. Unfortunately, Foy's ethereal vocals were a little too low in the mix to hear, but her renditions of “Left to Wonder” and “Shoestring” still went over big with the crowd.

Foy will have a second chance to wow L.A. at the Echo on Monday night. In the meantime, she wants to enjoy our city like a true first-timer: “I love hiking, so I really hope I'll be able to do that. And I just want to do the really cheesy things, and get my photo by the Hollywood sign. I'm sorry, it has to be done.”

I encouraged her to go for it. When she's back in town—and I'm sure it will be soon—she probably won't have much time for sight-seeing.

WALL performs at the Echo with Aan, Harriet and the Song Preservation Society on Monday, March 11 at 8:30 p.m. Entry is free. RSVP at Do 213. "Shoestring" is available from Big Picnic Records on April 2.