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My Community Is Holloway – Laila Woozeer

This week we meet Laila Woozeer, a musician who has been inspired by her time living in Deptford and more recently Holloway.

There isn’t much that Laila can’t do. In between being a freelance multi-instrumentalist, performer, composer and writer, she also finds the time to write about subjects close to her heart on her platform, Tape Parade AND keeps her Instagram feed updated with the best places to go for vegans.

Laila has worked on some incredible projects, such as writing the music for a stage show, performing at Glastonbury and Latitude Festival, and is currently compiling the soundtrack for an iOS game.

Inspiration for Laila comes from a combination of both who she is and where she lives. Laila is of mixed racial ancestry which she uses as a key theme amongst her work, particularly when exploring her own identity and the unique perspective she has . She has also taken a great deal of inspiration from where she has lived. Calling North London her home now, Laila grew up in South London and having lived in the there since she was born. Naturally, she knows a thing or two about the importance of community.

Laila Woozeer
Photo: YA Photography/ Yossy Akinsanya

What do you love the most about where you live?

Living in Holloway feels like I live in a small village, even though it’s so central and I can be in the centre of the capital in about 20 minutes. I’ll often spend the whole weekend in my little area – there’s such a scene, with a market, local businesses, community groups and so on. I love how at home I feel in the area.

What inspired you to get into music?

It just happened naturally – music has always been a part of my life and I always wanted to have a flexible career that would allow me to invest time into things I love.

Photo: Rob Darch

How has your community shaped your work?

London is often perceived as a cold, busy, anonymous place and that’s not been my experience at all – there are so many active communities in London. It was the same in the area I lived previously in SE London (shout out to Deptford!). Living in a small, supportive area has really changed my perception of how we support each other and interact as people. On the face of it, I have nothing in common with my neighbours, but we get along really well and are always looking out for each other and sharing what we have.

On an artistic level, I love the contrast of all of the tiny green areas in and around the labyrinth of housing estates where I live. The council-made “designated green areas” are kind of a joke; often not much more than two metres of grass and a bench, but it still shapes the local area. There’s something really hopeful about having so many people jammed into the same small area: you’re all in this together.

We really admire your work – what would you say is your proudest achievement to date?

Thank you! Probably WOLF PACK, which was a contemporary performance/theatre collective I ran for about three years. We put out a ridiculous amount of shows in a very short space of time and they were all very complex and conceptual. I didn’t really appreciate at the time how many things had to have aligned in order for us to do that.

Photo: Arnold Borgerth

Who influences you?

I don’t consciously seek out influences – I’m mostly influenced by whatever is happening in my life and the passing of time is a big thing for me. I guess I’m subconsciously influenced by whatever I’m reading or listening to at the moment!

You live in a flatshare, right? What’s your favourite thing about it?

Yes! I’ve lived in house-shares for about ten years now and there’s never been less than 5 of us. I really love it; when you get the balance right house-shares are great. Everyone’s always busy with exciting projects, there’s always somebody to run things by, and if your plans ever get cancelled your housemates are there to chat with! I think my favourite thing is living with people who know you really well and are there to support you with whatever happens (that sounds so saccharine but it’s true).

My Community Is Archway: Laila Woozeer

Where to find Laila

     

About My Community Is…

When it comes to culture, London competes on a global scale. The UK’s capital is bursting with exciting things to see and interesting people to meet. It is no surprise given the incredible talent that can be found across every borough.

So the team at ideal flatmate wanted to meet the creative individuals producing some of the best work. We wanted to understand the significant role a person’s environment has on influencing their work, and at the same time, showcase the fantastic things they are producing.