Two factors make a strong pop song: A melody that lingers in your ear and a message, illustrated through lyrics, that resonates with you.
Love You Later – the project of Nashville-area artist Lexi Aviles – achieves both qualifiers with her latest song “Keepintouch,” a catchy, uplifting earworm about finding yourself as people grow apart in life.
A rising singer-songwriter, Aviles has already had the opportunity, at just the age of 23, to open for such heavyweights as OneRepublic, Dayglow, and Briston Maroney and has received support from The Line of Best Fit, LADYGUNN, and American Songwriter. On her own, she previously sold out Nashville venue EXIT/IN.
As “Keepintouch” arrives on March 18, we had a chance to chat with Aviles about Love You Later.
Tell us about your background as a songwriter and performer. How did you get started?
I’ve been involved in something musical since I could talk – musicals, choir, songwriting camps, talent shows, you name it.
It wasn’t until 10 or 11 when I realized the passion I had for writing my own music and performing those songs to people who connected to them. It was a magical feeling and since then, I’ve had no doubt in my mind I wanted to do it forever.
What made you decide to start Love You Later?
I had been sitting on a handful of songs for a while, but it still didn’t feel right to release anything yet. I was still trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to say.
But, there was a moment in late 2016 when I saw The Japanese House open for The 1975 at The Shrine in LA, and she gave such a moving performance that it really inspired me to take some action and start the project.
Her ability to stand up there as a solo female artist and make the crowd so emotional became everything to me. I realized a lot of the hesitation was just myself resisting, and if I wasn’t going to start Love You Later, nobody would.
Your sound seems to be part pop, part alt-rock, and with some elements of dance. How would you describe the sound of Love You Later?
If I had to label my sound, I’d describe it as dreamy alt-pop, but it definitely crosses a lot of “genre boundaries,” which I like because at the end of the day, I’m just trying to make music that makes people feel something. I’d like to think people can cry, dance, and feel basically everything to my music.
On your latest track “Keepintouch,” you write about elements of discomfort and learning to like your own company. What inspired you to write this track?
It was early fall of 2021, and my boyfriend had just left town for a tour where he’d be gone for a while. Also during that time, a few close friends of mine were starting to date people pretty seriously.
It suddenly got so lonely, and of course, I wanted to be happy for my friends and boyfriend, but I was finding it really difficult.
Selfishly, I found myself blaming them for my own sense of feeling out of touch – like I needed to learn to be alone again and actually enjoy it. The whole writing session quickly became a therapy session, haha. But I think the honest and vulnerable nature of the song is what makes it so magnetic.
You also co-wrote “Keepintouch” with songwriters Bre Kennedy and Kyle Dreaden. How did you end up working together?
Although Nashville can feel big at times, it’s a very small city where you’re at least one person removed from another. Similar to most connections made in this city, Bre and Kyle and I met through mutual friends.
We wrote another song before writing “Keepintouch,” and it was just so clear that we had written something special. They’re GEMS – such talented writers and genuinely kind with no strings attached, which I think is so hard to find in this industry.
I’m always trying to keep people like that.
When you create a song, what is typically your approach, be it for songwriting or instrumentation?
Lately, I feel the most comfortable writing with a producer/writer who is on the same page and understands what I’m going for. It naturally works out to where I have the biggest hand in writing the melody/lyrics, and the producer is well, producing, lol.
The flow is rarely uninterrupted that way, so that’s why I prefer it. Melodies tend to come first for me, but if I really have something I want to say, lyrics will happen first.
You’ve opened for a few bands like OneRepublic and have gotten support from other acts. How has this helped your career so far?
It’s been really awesome to be able to open for/play alongside such talented acts. The story of when I opened for OneRepublic was once in a lifetime.
It was some time ago, right when I started my project – I won a Taco Bell scholarship, and they invited me to come play their annual worldwide conference in Honolulu, where I opened for the band.
That was mind-blowing to me as an 18-year-old, and it’d be so cool to actually join them on the road someday. Opening for bigger artists is such an awesome experience, and I hope I get to continue opening for some of my inspirations.
Where would you like to take this project?
I can’t predict where the project is going to go, but I know that I’m always going to hold it so close to me and have the biggest hand in it because I started it from the ground up.
I do know that I want Love You Later to reach the people that need to hear the words and stories I’ve written. I want to be able to sing to massive crowds of those same people where we can shout the words at each other in beautiful unison and feel like we’re not alone.
As a live performer, you sold out EXIT/IN last year. Especially as more and more artists return to live performing, where should we expect to see you this year?
I’d love to get on the road this year, ideally as support for a larger tour. And I hope to play some more one-off shows in LA, NYC, Nashville, and more.
Ivan Yaskey is a Philly-born EDM and synthpop enthusiast and interviewer who recently relocated to beautiful Boston, MA.