I haven’t posted an interview in a while, and I’m so pleased that my first blogger favourites interview of 2015 is with the gorgeous Laila from Tape Parade! I’m lucky enough to know Laila in real life. We’ve met in London a couple of times (although it feels like more!), and she is even more lovely, energetic, colourful and fun offline as she is online. I’ve been following her blog for a long time. She writes mostly about her very busy life and adventures, including outfits, music, travels and her career. I hope you enjoy finding out a little more about her!
Jess: What inspired you to start your blog?
Laila: I’m not sure really, I guess I started it to distract me as I was in quite a weird bit of my life. My blog has changed hugely since I started it; as things got better for me it felt weirder and weirder to blog as I had been (mostly very generic writing and pictures of clothes). I actually wrote a post about this (called On Continuing) which I think is one of my most honest posts; I had to work out how to incorporate it into my normal Laila life and somehow integrate it with my recovered sense of self. For me that was being more personal and writing more about topics I enjoy rather than just posting generic posts. Now it feels much more like me. I hope that makes sense! That was a long answer I’m sorry!
Laila: Making friends and having a place to gather my feelings and document my life. I have quite a fast-paced life and it’s nice to take the time to edit photos and really absorb what happened then just flying through everything. Also, I’ve met some brilliant people through blogging and I really treasure all of my blog friends.
I actually linked my favourite posts in my about section as I thought it might be interesting for newer readers – I like the ones that are more thoughtful and personal.
Jess: I know that recently you have been posting more about your career and about issues that you care about, and less “typical” blog posts like outfit posts. Do you think that the blogging community sticks to the rules too much? Do you think that we can take ourselves too seriously?
Laila: My readership has really slowed since I’ve been doing that (although personally, I think my blog is a lot more interesting than before) but the people who have stuck around are much more active in commenting/talking to me. So purely based on my experience there is definitely something to be said for sticking to the “rules” if you want a lot of followers and readers. I’m personally not bothered about reaching a large audience, but I do I feel very connected to the readers I have, and I like that. I’m just happy anybody wants to read it!
I try not to take myself or my blog too seriously, for me it’s a space I can post up what I want, when I want. If other people enjoy it and want to read it then that’s really fantastic.
Jess: I very much admire how passionate you are about what you do (although I’m not always sure how to describe what it is that you do!) and I admire the way that you have forged a career for yourself. Do you have any advice for people who want to be self-employed, or perhaps for people who want to be creative in their careers but don’t know how to do this?
Laila: Thank you! I would describe myself as a musician and director who also writes a lot. I work freelance which means I do a variety of things as and when they crop up, alongside long-term projects (like my business, Quizcats). I mostly do a mixture of teaching, performing and organising/directing concerts. I technically own two businesses (WOLF PACK and Quizcats) and I’m on an entrepreneurship scheme which is where I work day to day (they gave me an office!). The work is very varied so my career blog posts become out of date very quickly. I try to post about the more interesting bits.
My advice is value yourself and understand yourself (as in how you work best), that’s it really. Don’t work for free and don’t do jobs you know don’t suit you, just do the things you want to do. And if you can’t find the things you want to do then make them.
Laila: Oh my gosh! That’s so hard. Well, right now I’m listening to:
1. Ravel – piano works. One of the earliest composers I formed a connection to.
2. Mariah Carey – mostly the latest album. I recently conquered the whistle register (for non-singers: the very top register of the voice which uses a totally different set of physical apparatus than the rest of the voice and is quite hard to master) and have been copying her to get better acquainted.
3. Brian Eno – Apollo. This is my favourite album for listening to at bedtime recently, Mr Laila loves it also.
4. Ella Fitzgerald – I don’t know why but I associate her warm, beautiful tone and resonant, vibrant voice with autumn.
5. Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam and Sung Tongs; two of my favourite albums by one of my favourite bands.
Laila: Since I was about 19, although I had a couple of lapses when I first started. I would cook a curry and tailor it to the tastes of the meat eater – for example, my best friend James likes ginger so I’d probably do quite a dry curry with a lot of ginger plus aubergine and pumpkin (all of which absorb ginger well), whereas for somebody else I might go for a thicker, sweeter curry with tofu and coconut milk or something.