British-Indian musician Reeta Loi, aka LOIAL, dropped her latest track “Too Late” today. Echoing vocals layer over a painted animation to produce a haunting, hypnotic piece of art. This song follows you and tracks you down, pinning your feelings under its assertive hook, “I’m not lost. I found my way. I’m moving on from yesterday.”
Kajal spoke with LOIAL about her song, its message and meaning, and what went into making finding its distinctive power.
Kajal: What inspired this song? It feels so personal and emotional.
LOIAL: It’s basically an “F you” to the establishment and people that don’t allow you to be you. As a queer Dalit Indian woman there have been many times when I’ve been oppressed, controlled or abused by the system and by individuals. This track is a mantra, an anthem for women, the queer community and anyone that relates. It’s empowering in a way that most desi women don’t get to verbalize. We are powerful, we got this and we know this.
What was it like working on this? Did you feel like you hit something in it as you worked on it?
It was a turning point for me personally as at the time I recorded this, I was finding my own strength and voice after losing my family on coming out. It took me many years to reach the point where I could write and record these lyrics. But I think the lyrics speak for themselves.
The video alludes to the spiritual journey that’s guided me through this time. I also layer my own vocals at a lower register in the second half of the song to present my masculinity. I like to play with gender in my music by for example having two female protagonists singing a love song, rather than the standard male and female call and response that I grew up hearing in Hindi film music. In this track though I call on the full spectrum of my gender in a way that fully empowers me. I consider my gender to be central and I’m comfortable with both my divine feminine and masculine energy.
What do you want listeners take away from it? What are you telling them?
Empowerment, strength, confidence, support, love. I performed “Too Late” live for the first time recently and women in the audience who had never heard it before were singing along to it. As we approach International Women’s Day I hope women hear this and feel that not only can we get through anything the world throws at us, but we are at a new world order that we are leading, together.