Photo Credit: Sara Ann Waggoner
By Alissa Arunarsirakul // April 10, 2020
Because Lexi Aviles grew up singing everywhere she went, she has absolutely no doubt in her mind that music is her calling. The 21-year-old songstress, now performing under the moniker Love You Later, truly has a knack for passionate storytelling and genuine connection with her listeners with every emotional track. Between the sorrowful synths in “Making Plans” and lovable vocals in “Blindfolded,” Heaven Is Without You is Love You Later’s latest offering that’ll have you experiencing heartbreak, loss, and acceptance in just over 15 minutes.
On Heaven Is Without You, Love You Later shared,
“‘Heaven Is Without You’ illustrates the ups and downs, twists and turns, fun times and bad times of a relationship that was suppressing me as a person and therefore, as an artist as well. It’s about realization and acceptance and letting go and growing into my own person without needing a relationship (especially a toxic one) to fill in the gaps.”
To celebrate the release of her new music, we recently chatted with Love You Later about growth, freedom, and of course, Heaven Is Without You.
HH: How did you first get into music?
LYL: I’ve been immersed in music pretty much since I could speak. I would always sit in the backseat of my mom’s SUV and sing her songs I made up on the spot. I was in musicals starting at age four. And my dad and I used to sing karaoke every Sunday at a restaurant on the harbor by my house. My love for music has never died and it was rare for me to ever be away from music – I was either listening to it, dancing to it, singing it, playing it, or writing it. I never had a doubt in my mind that I was meant to do this.
HH: For someone who’s only 21, you sure do have a renowned maturity when it comes to songwriting. How do you decide what to write about?
LYL: Thank you so much! That means a lot. I’ve been writing songs more seriously since I was 13. I write almost every day – whether that be a full song or even just a phrase. And I’m a firm believer that if you keep working at something and stay consistent you will only experience growth. I keep a running list on my notes of song ideas and titles I have so that when it comes to sitting down and writing the song, I have a handful of foundations to play off of.
HH: Your incredible new EP, Heaven Is Without You is about growing into your own whole person after you’ve been through a destructive relationship. What was the creative process like for this EP?
LYL: Since the beginning stages, I always knew the general intention and theme of the EP – I wanted it to showcase my feelings and emotions of relief, freedom, and self realization – a heavenly feeling, really. Once I was sure this was the direction I was going while writing and producing the songs, everything naturally surrounded that theme.
Heaven Is Without You came to me on an airplane ride pretty recently after my relationship ended – I was meditating on the huge weight was lifted off of me after taking the bold move to end a relationship and while looking out the airplane window, I was reminded how heaven (I guess depending on what you believe) is exactly that – it’s a place where all the weight is lifted off and you rediscover yourself.
As soon as I came up with the EP title, everything seemed to fit into place. As far as visuals go, I knew I wanted to create a heavenly atmosphere with a “Love You Later twist” – so we incorporated some dreamy, artificial lighting to complement the soft satin blues and white clouds. The cover shoot actually turned into a DIY shoot with photographer, Sara Anne, in the apartment I was staying at in Nashville. Unlike most shoots nowadays, I got to style, set design, and creative direct the shoot myself and it felt very empowering. I’ll admit I really love having creative freedom because after all, my project is like my baby, lol.
HH: If you could turn back time, would you avoid that relationship altogether or are you actually grateful that you learned from that time of your life?
LYL: Well for one, Heaven Is Without You wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for that relationship. Through the toxicity and pain, I was able to explore and learn so much about parts of myself that I wouldn’t have learned any other way. And for that, I would not go back and erase that experience because as hard as it was, I’m a better person because of it.
HH: Can you describe every track on the EP in one word each?
“That’s The Way It Goes” – Shimmery
“Making Plans” – Conflicted
“Said That You’d Be There” – Dynamic
“Emily – Stripped” – Heart-wrenching
“Blindfolded” – Self-rediscovery
HH: How does Heaven Is Without You compare to 2018’s How Many Nights Do You Dance With Tears in Your Eyes?
LYL: I would say the two EPs both maintain the dreamy, shimmery vibe which is Love You Later and they both narrate the past and present of a relationship. They both have a mixed array of tracks with different tempos and styles. It’s been almost two years since my debut EP, so naturally, Heaven Is Without You is a clear sign of growth and maturity in my songwriting, production, artistry, and personal life. I feel that I have a lot more to write about now because I have gone through more life. I’m really proud of how Love You Later has evolved since the beginning.
HH: If you could have someone in the music industry be your mentor, who would you pick?
LYL: Hayley Williams – not only is she insanely talented, creative, and brilliant, but she also is such a strong advocate of putting your personal and mental health before anything else. Without that, it can disrupt not only our everyday lives, but also creative flow. I think it’s an important thing to treasure that.
HH: What are your three hidden hits?
“Look At Me Now” by Caroline Polachek
“Lens” by Frank Ocean
“Brother” by Ryan Beatty