During the week of Female Takeover, I got to meet a range of different characters. One of which was Laila Lazer Khan, a colourful addition to the tutors on hand to support the young women of Hull.
Laila Khan (AKA Lazer K) joined the team for Thursday and Friday, offering workshops in Confidence Building and Performance Skills.
Best known as sharing lead vocals with Paul Barnes (AKA Barney Boom) with their band Sonic Boom Six, she has performed alongside acts such as Catch 22, The King Blues, HARD-FI and Paramore. She also shares her views on music, health, fashion and fitness with her blog on which she admits that she is a not a “massive girly girl” and that she has had body image concerns in the past.
Her love of music seems to stem from her childhood, as she mentions an uncle who used to DJ and describes singing in the school choir, where she was told that she had a talent for harmonies.
The bands lyrics offer a social commentary set to a background noise which incorporates ska, pop, punk and metal, with their first official EP (The Turbo EP) produced by Skunk Anansie’s Ace.
A young performer, Laila admits to drinking a lot during the first years of Sonic Boom Six; not necessarily as a coping mechanism for any nerves, but as part of being in the music business. A couple of drinks before a gig, then a few after, and before long needing to be put to bed. It has taken years of practise to take control of her performance, and in July 2012 she decided to give up on the booze. Now, she is able to focus on giving the audience 100%, engaging with the crowd and ensuring that everyone leaves feeling she and the band have done all that they can.
Having supported The Warren and Female Takeover in previous years, she is skilled at teaching workshops on confidence building, performance techniques, lyric writing, beat making, DJ’ing & sound engineering. She stated that “I was the Feminist that was proud of being strong, independent, opinionated and forging my own way in the world and for me that was the limit of what I did” which is what the Takeover offers to young women: a chance to be independent, whether it leads into music or simply as an improvement in their lives.
Laila’s experience with the band and the life-changing choices she has made, made for interesting tales to share with the young women of Hull. And she demonstrated her teachings when she was put on the spot and asked to sing, unprepared and with no backing track, during the final performance. Even with some heckling from the audience, she performed powerfully and finished with a declaration of support for The Warren.
Tutor bio originally written for Browse Magazine.