When indie rock musician Neysa Blay sat down to begin writing songs for her new album, “Nada es Suficiente,” she discovered herself in an uncommon predicament. She’d been sober for almost a decade at that time, placing appreciable distance between her turbulent previous and the extra placid current. “I am actually good at writing when there’s chaos and noise in my head, and when issues are sort of bumpy,” she says. However now she’d overcome so lots of her inside demons. “How do I discover ways to write from a superb place?”
The LP, which drops in Could, bridges the hole between her innate rebellious spirit and the extra conscientious Blay that has emerged over the previous few years. Earlier singles, such because the softer “Te Gusta/Me Gusta” and no-nonsense “Quise Que Fueras Tú,” toggle between susceptible and headstrong; she is likely to be tough, however her coronary heart is undoubtedly open. Her latest observe, “Úsame,” channels Eighties hair steel in its sound and visuals. However to get to the place she is now, the budding rock star needed to survive a troublesome highway.
Raised within the beach-friendly city of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, Blay’s adolescence was marked by an inside tug-of-war between the love she has for her hometown and the constraints it imposed not simply on her profession, however on her as an individual. As an overtly homosexual lady who acknowledged her orientation very early on, she felt hampered by the societal mores of her environment.
“That created a variety of angst as a result of I did not perceive why. I felt like part of me needed to faux. The city hastily would grow to be too small for me,” she shares. As time handed and she or he grew into her teenage years, the colours of Cabo Rojo started to tackle a distinct shade. “I keep in mind [being] younger, free, comfortable, fulfilled, after which I began rising up. [And a] sense of doom began falling in,” Blay provides.
Her solely respite then was music, which she started to discover between the ages of 8 and 10 after seeing college students who have been taking music lessons out of an workplace area her father rented to an area music academy. From there she started to take guitar and singing classes, which did not shock her mother and father who seen throughout her youthful years that she had a knack for music.
“[They] would play a variety of boleros, and I’d love that music,” she recollects. “They’d hear me singing alongside and so they’d be like: ‘There’s a lot ardour there. There’s a lot emotion. You are not a 40-year-old chasing a married man.'”
As she grew older, the encroaching stress of how she was anticipated to stay her life was starting to push her in the direction of unstable areas. As with many individuals who go down the identical path, Blay discovered herself looking for methods to abate the anxieties that have been overwhelming her. This led to what would grow to be a years-long stretch of substance abuse that will almost derail her relationship along with her household, with companions, and her profession goals.
For almost seven years, Blay spiraled by way of a life nearly totally dominated by excessive drug and alcohol use. She moved to San Juan, the place she discovered herself in circles that immediately and not directly inspired her life-style. She would try to lean into her music however discovered herself unable to.
“Due to my habit, I wasn’t practical, so I could not do gigs. I would not present up. I’d miss a variety of alternatives,” she says. She admits to crafting unreasonable concepts about the way to grow to be a working artist — concepts spurred by the results of her vices. “I had a really distorted thought of what [pursuing music] would seem like. I assumed I could possibly be singing whereas pumping fuel and any person would uncover me. I had a really romanticized fantasy imaginative and prescient of the way you do that.”
Finally, she hit what she refers to as her “final emotional backside”.
“I used to be very damaged. I misplaced all the pieces. I could not hold a job . . . My mother and father had simply kicked me out of the home, and so they had stopped any monetary assist,” she says, including how she had additionally simply gone by way of a breakup as nicely.
That Christmas she was invited over to her guardian’s dwelling, the place she was given an choice: enroll in a wilderness remedy program and attempt to overcome her addictions. As Blay tells it, she felt “beat” at this level in her life, and accepted, deciding she had nothing else to lose. “That was a Thursday. Saturday, I used to be flying out.”
She acknowledges what stage of the habit cycle she was in right now, and the way troublesome it was for her family members to get her there. “Coping with an addict, it is like you possibly can’t save them, you possibly can’t rescue them. However when the time is acceptable, you bought to allow them to hit that backside,” she displays. “If you happen to take an individual that is unwilling into remedy, [the help is] going to go on this means and out this manner. You do not need to get higher, and also you sort of must need it for your self.”
Wanting again, Blay credit wilderness remedy with saving her life. Versus rehab, which she says can generally be “comfortable,” wilderness remedy is an outside program of intense actions for folks affected by behavioral problems and substance abuse that embody mountaineering, tenting, and extra, with the objective of “enhancing personal and interpersonal growth.”
“They broke me after which constructed me again up,” she confesses. “While you go in they do not inform you if you go away, which is completely different from remedy as a result of if you go to remedy, you are like, ‘I’ll do 30 days,’ and also you’re already one foot in, one foot out . . . Right here [there’s] no future info. I do not know after I’m getting out. I do not know what we’re doing right now. I do not know the place we’re mountaineering right now. And that basically helped launch a way of management of my life.”
After three and half months, she was lastly deemed prepared to go away this system. From there, she spent one other three months at a remedy heart in Chicago, to underline the progress she had made. Finally, the day got here when she was advised she might relocate to wherever she wished. “I am already considering in my head, what do you actually need to do? Music. Music has at all times been within the background. Music has at all times been the precedence,” she says.
She satisfied her mother and father to belief her to maneuver to Miami, regardless of it being as they known as it, the “cocaine capital.” Initially residing in a remedy heart adopted by a midway home, Blay quickly discovered herself in her personal house, with a job, going again to high school, and getting round with a scooter.
“I used to be just about studying the way to be an individual; the way to be a standard, functioning human being. And I believe it was one of many biggest experiences,” she says.
In 2017, she linked with Sam Allison, an engineer on the iconic Standards Recording Studios, and recorded “Veneno,” her first official single. That music made its approach to skilled producer Marthin Chan, who grew to become a fan and produced her debut EP, “Destrúyeme.”
Songwriting and dealing on her craft whereas sober opened up a wholly new world of prospects for Blay, who says “Abruptly I used to be in a position to end issues, and never cease as a result of nervousness was too crippling.”
Not too way back, she selected to maneuver again to Puerto Rico, settling again in Cabo Rojo. She jokingly referred to it as “returning to the scene of the crime.” However there have been earnest causes behind the choice as nicely. Her relationship along with her mother and father had grown stronger and extra accepting since they noticed how a lot she’d grown within the final decade and even embraced her new companion as nicely.
However for Blay, there was one other, deeper motive: “I wished to deal with the sense of not belonging, to deal with the sensation of, as a lesbian, I am not welcomed and liked in the neighborhood. I wished to deal with the entire negatives. I wished to take that narrative, change it, and personal it,” she says. “I wished to create new recollections. I got here with a mission of reclaiming Cabo Rojo for myself.” Her first gig after shifting again? Onstage at Cabo Rojo’s Pleasure celebration, along with her father in attendance supporting her.
Earlier than that was a inventive sojourn to Mexico Metropolis, the place she teamed up with producer Felipe “Pipe” Ceballos and cooked up “Nada es Suficiente.” Making this album, years into sobriety, was a studying expertise. She realized the best way she accessed and channeled her feelings had modified significantly. The place she as soon as wrote from a spot of a chaotic mindset and “spitting fucking venom,” she now approached the identical eventualities from a contemplative, self-reflective angle.
“I believe that is been one of many largest adjustments in sobriety by way of creativity,” she says. “I’ve grown and I am additionally permitting my songwriting to develop together with me on this journey of being a superb individual.”
Juggling the accountability of sustaining her sobriety whereas additionally working by way of the anxieties of being an unbiased artist, with out the privilege of self-medicating, has led Blay to include new instruments she hopes to share with others. She’s a proponent of DBT, or dialectical behavioral strategies, which permit her to face nervousness in more healthy methods.
“There’s easy stuff like realizing if you’re anxious and the way it’s manifesting, and taking possession of it by self-soothing. Self-soothing could be taking a pleasant sizzling tub for 10 minutes. It may be some respiration workouts,” she shares. “After which there’s… radical acceptance, [which] is when it’s important to settle for that issues aren’t below your management. And I really like the phrase radical. As a result of it’s. It is simply, ‘Shut the fuck up. You are not in management. It’s important to settle for that that is the best way that issues are. You possibly can both deal with it, settle for them, or you possibly can simply spend the entire day making an attempt to battle one thing you possibly can’t.'”
It is a rule that sums up her journey to date—one which led her to emerge from darkness and now factors her on the trail towards making her longtime goals a actuality.
“With time, what I’ve realized is that every time I am feeling anxious or fearful, that is the path I’ve to run in the direction of. Proper now in my life, I see the nervousness and I am like, ‘Buckle up,” Blay says. “That is the place we obtained to go.’ Like, ‘Oh, that is terrifying. I’ve a variety of nervousness.’ Okay, hold fucking going. That is the place it is advisable to be.”
POPSUGAR: First superstar crush?
Neysa Blay: Judy Garland in “The Wizard of Oz” 💖
POPSUGAR: Favourite mocktail?
Neysa Blay: Ginger beer, lime juice, mint leaves and soda water
POPSUGAR: Favourite seashore in Puerto Rico?
Neysa Blay: Playa Buyé on a weekday at 9 a.m.
POPSUGAR: Three artists you may have on repeat proper now?
Neysa Blay: A really homosexual playlist: Charli XCX, Troye Sivan, and Slayyyter
POPSUGAR: Favourite mantra?
Neysa Blay: “If they’ll do it, so can I.”
POPSUGAR: Favourite guitar?
Neysa Blay: Gibson SG (performed by Angus Younger)
POPSUGAR: Dream collaboration?
Neysa Blay: Marilina Bertoldi