Rising Singaporean, LA-based artist Linying spoke with EnVi about the creation of her latest EP, House Mouse, and the profound impact the process had on her artistry. The lead single “Take Me to Your House” was released on October 5. It’s an effortless track that sets the tone for the sonic world explored in the rest of the EP. House Mouse displays the sound of an artist rediscovering the joy of creating with total abandon. It will be released on November 17th.

Finding Her Voice Through the Indie Genre

Linying’s love for music began during her piano lessons as a child. “I’m grateful for the whole experience because that bit of formal training gave me the foundation I needed to express something that’s otherwise so unruly and impressionistic,” she reflected. Her interest in poetry also served as an emotional outlet. She recalled an ode to her beloved hamster Pearly after its passing being a formative moment in her artistic expression. 

During her mid-teens, Linying began writing songs and exploring her interest in music. “Around that time I discovered people like Bright Eyes, who’s so raw and specific in his lyrics, and Bon Iver, who showed me how important texture is when you’re trying to create a whole experience with your music,” she explained. Linying began posting covers to YouTube and in 2014 was discovered by a French EDM artist who asked her to feature on a single. This collaboration opened up the door for Linying to join Lost Frequencies and Felix Jaehn on tour in Europe.

Although Linying is grateful for those opportunities, she admitted that being thrust into the EDM genre confused her identity as an artist. She worked hard to develop her artistry and find her voice. In 2016, she released “Sticky Leaves,” which was the start of her evolution into indie pop. The single quickly became a viral hit and landed her a deal with Nettwerk Music Group. 

Embracing Collaboration and Going with the Flow

Linying expressed that her entire discography encompasses her experiences with the world. Her new EP, House Mouse, is no different and stays true to her signature emotionality as an artist. Before House Mouse, Linying greatly valued intentionality and structure when creating and was a self-proclaimed “lone wolf.” However, unlike her previous projects’ introspective and intimate processes, House Mouse was a much more fun and collaborative experience. She now has adopted a new attitude and approach. “It’s not that deep,” she explained. 

Jam sessions with collaborators were instrumental to the creation of this EP. Linying beamed as she reminisced on the playful and carefree nature of these sessions. “[The] studio almost felt like a haunted mansion and added to the creative atmosphere,” she said. “The entire process was laidback and the only challenge I faced was zeroing in and clearly articulating my feelings.”

Photo courtesy of Michelle Mei

The standout moment from creating this EP was when producer Jordan Blackmon was on the patio of his home and heard a nest of birds chirping. He decided to record the chirps in a voice memo and add them to the track “Take Me to Your House.” Linying said she cherishes this memory because it reinforced her new laissez-faire approach to creating music and finding unique moments to personalize each song.

Making Memories Through the Creative Process

Each song on the EP is full of memories and has a special place in Linying’s heart. “I’ve realized that music isn’t a vehicle for me to chase excellence—it’s a way for me to encapsulate what’s happening at the moment as authentically as I possibly can,” she said, continuing “That’s what we focused on with this project, and it’s why this collection of songs is so special to me.”

Photo courtesy of Linying

The first track, “Take Me To Your House,” is a melancholy cacophony of lush textures and transformative melodies. A previous relationship inspired Linying to explore the feelings of pining for a hopelessly elusive connection. “There was a point in my last relationship where my ex had moved into a new house and I spent weeks being sad that he hadn’t given me a key. It felt like a perfect metaphor: standing outside and wishing so badly to be let in, when really… wrong house,” she stated. The deep lyrics and distinct melodies of the track expertly set the tone for the rest of the EP.

Linying was encouraged to play the tack piano and accordion for the track for the first time on “Porcupine.” The distinct tone of the instruments and their contributions to the moody yet sweetly off-kilter atmosphere of the track fascinated her. “Porcupine” is a gentle reminder to myself that I can get so caught up in chasing an outcome I end up losing sight of what I need,” she said. “It’s a way of saying, ‘Get a hold of yourself. Don’t leave yourself behind.” The blunt but poignant lyrics of the track clearly articulate Linying’s awareness of these tendencies and internal conflicts surrounding them.

Photo courtesy of Michell Mei

Conversely, “Happiness” arrives as a burst of pure euphoria. It rushes forward on vibrant rhythms as she channels the thrill of post-breakup freedom. “In the past, endings had always left me with a mournful feeling, but this time it was more complex. There was liberation, but there was also fear. There was the delight of desiring and being desired, and then there was the peace of knowing it was all going to be okay,” said Linying. “I wanted to translate that feeling of bliss, and it all came together so instinctively.” The artist has played the track for herself several hundred times. “You can’t help but get up and move,” she exclaimed.

Linying hopes that listeners will resonate with the deeply personal themes of House Mouse. Whether it’s the familiar feelings of longing on “Take Me to Your House” or the euphoria of a dance session to “Happiness,” she hopes something will speak to people.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Mei

Looking Forward

Linying recently picked up surfing and beamed about the lessons she has learned from the sport. “I think that the act of physical surrender trains the same muscle philosophically. You don’t think about the last wave you caught or the next wave you’re going to catch. You move in tandem with what’s in front of you. And when you’re able to do that, resist the urge to impose and control, you truly reap the rewards,” she explained. Linying credits surfing for helping transform her approach to all aspects of life including her music.

When asked about her views on success, Linying asserted that she is very happy with her life and artistry in the present moment. “There is no accolade or achievement that would make me want to live my life differently,” she stated. These days, Linying is working on a new record and playing shows in Los Angeles. 

Be sure to follow Linying on Instagram and Spotify to stay updated on future releases.

Interested in discovering more musicians from across the Asian diaspora? Check out our spotlight on Summer Soul here.