Former Parksville Qualicum Beach resident Layla Zoe’s move to Europe has turned out to be a great move for her music career.
In November, it was announced that Zoe had won the award for Best Vocalist at the European Blues Awards (EBAs).
“Moving to Europe has made a serious impact on my career,” said Zoe, who currently lives in the Netherlands. “Just like when I moved from Vancouver Island, then Toronto to Montreal and then Montreal to Europe. Each move was strategic in that I planned to try to saturate myself into the blues scene in each place.”
Zoe said Europe has been the best move so far because there are so many countries surrounding Germany that are easily accessible. Just this year, Zoe said, she played 16 countries on tour.
Zoe told The NEWS in early 2014 that she was moving to Germany since her music was so popular in the rest of Europe. Zoe said she lived in Germany for the past three years before a recent move to Holland.
This wasn’t Zoe’s first crack at being nominated for the Best Vocalist of the Year at the European Blues Awards, she said.
“I was nominated last year as well, but this was the year that I took the title,” she said.
Zoe has also won other awards in Europe such as the award for Best Discovery of the Year at the blues awards in Poland in 2013 after she performed there for the first time.
Zoe said she had found out she was nominated for the European Blues Award because her fans on Twitter told her.
“I let my fans know they could vote, and so many people voted this year that I found out I had won, and it was a great honour,” Zoe said.
“There can be no ‘winners’ in music, it’s a personal preference things for each individual and everyone loves different music for different reasons.”
But it was still a great boost, Zoe said, because it showed that more and more people were hearing and appreciating the music, hard work and sacrifice it has taken her to get where she is today.
Zoe said she found out about her win through the European Blues Awards’ Twitter. She said the awards announcement took place at a festival in the United Kingdom, but she said couldn’t be there.
— EURO BLUES AWARDS (@BluesHour) November 14, 2016
“The European Blues Awards (organizers) will be meeting the winners on stage next year to present the awards individually,” she said.
“I look forward to next year when at one of my concerts on tour they will just show up and present the award to me. I think it’s a very cool way of doing it and necessary because they had artists from all over the world who were nominated and won.”
Earlier this year, Zoe released her latest album Breaking Free, and she said it has received “rave reviews and many fans call it their favourite album so far.”
Breaking Free, Zoe said, was also nominated for the Best Album at the European Blues Awards this year, but it did not win.
Later next year, Zoe said she plans to go into the studio in the United States with a new producer, thanks to her record label Ruf Records in Germany, to work on a new album which will be released later in 2017. Zoe said she is really excited about that project.
In March of next year, Zoe said she will be on tour all over Europe. She said most of her touring schedule is filled with European dates, but it doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to come back to Canada and the Island for shows.
Still an Island girl at heart, Zoe said, she would love it if she could come back and perform at Parksville Beachfest, Fire and Ice Festival or the Father’s Day car show in Qualicum Beach.
“I love the Island,” she said. “It’s where my roots are and I will never forget where I come from.”
Zoe, who was born in Victoria, grew up in Errington and Bowser before moving to Vancouver for a while.
She said she moved back to the Island in her late teens and lived in Parksville and Qualicum Beach in her twenties and comes back to visit family every year over the holiday season.