Hailing from Canada, Nick Babcock and Laila Kharouba are the incredible team who make up the rising pop duo, Your Paris. Both on similar paths when they met just over a year and a half ago, the pair were working as individual solo performers, looking to place their mark and make a name for themselves within the music world. Initially beginning by collaborating together, Laila and Nick quickly fell in love and decided to come together at the start of 2020 to form the power duo that we now know as Your Paris. With poignant lyrics, dynamic chemistry and stunningly beautiful narratives; even while singing about heartbreak, they bring about a sense of light and positivity and make others want to fall in love. Having had a whirlwind, and incredibly successful, year last year, they started 2021 off with a bang with the release of their latest single, First, late last month – a dreamy, floating pop track that captures the conflicting feelings of both love and heartbreak at the same time. Following the release of First, we sat down with Nick and Laila to chat about the new single, all things music and what they have in store for us next.
TSU: What’s the story behind First, and what were you wanting to say with the track?
YP: First is about a new relationship where the ex is still in the picture. You’re in that honeymoon phase and everything’s great, but there’s this lingering feeling of guilt and anxiety, because you know someone else got left behind in order for you to be happy. I guess what we wanted to say is that relationships are complicated —you can be happy and sad at the same time. Also: exes not being able to move on is a really hard & complicated thing to deal with. Haha.
TSU: With really poignant and honest lyricism, what were some of the emotions you felt when writing and recording First?
YP: First was really easy to write, and really hard to record. The song pretty much wrote itself because it was based on such a real scenario— it was written in the moment, and happened really quickly and naturally. The record process, however, was a lot more complicated. We recorded the song a while after it was written. It was hard to revisit the scenario and the feelings associated with it because so much time had passed, and things had changed.
TSU: With a dreamy, chill-pop energy, the track captures the feelings of both love and heartbreak at the same time. Would you say this is more a break up track or a love song, and why?
YP: More of a love song. It’s definitely not your typical love song, but ultimately it explores the fact that love is really complex and sometimes painful and confusing.
TSU: Where did the main influences and inspirations for the track come from? Were they drawn more from personal experience or the world around you?
YP: The writing was definitely inspired by personal experience: about 90% of the song lyrics were actually said or actually happened. Sonically, the song is inspired by a few of our favourite artists, notably Sasha Sloan– she really captures the nuanced acoustic/pop blend that we love and were going for with this track.
TSU: With such candid narratives and story telling running throughout your wider discography, including First; how do you navigate putting out such personal and honest music, and piece of yourself, into the world.
YP: It has been hard at times to write and release the more personal songs of ours– especially because by the time a song is released, we are usually in a totally different place emotionally. That definitely happened with First: when we recorded it, or even when we sing it live, it brings us back to that space…which is kind of a sad one. It is really scary to reveal the really intimate parts of ourselves to people, but we think that’s also why people connect with our music. We usually operate with a high-risk high-reward attitude. Yes, releasing these types of tracks require us to be really brave and open to getting hurt, but if listeners connect with it, it’s because of how vulnerable and direct it is.That being said, some of the stories in our music are entirely made up, or inspired by things outside of our own lives. But even in these songs, we don’t shy away from being direct. It’s kind of just in our nature and inherent in our approach to songwriting.
TSU: Starting out on your musical journey at the beginning of last year, tell us a bit about how you came together and that journey so far.
YP: We started dating and singing together simultaneously. We did our own thing for a couple of months, but we always had people coming up to us after open mics etc. asking if we were a duo. We thought really long & hard about it, because we knew it would be a challenge sharing so many aspects of our lives. But once again…high risk, high reward.
TSU: Both having your own individual artistic and creative ideas and visions; how do you work, and what’s your creative process, when coming together to make music as a duo?
YP: We work really well together because we have those different ideas and visions. We use our different perspectives and strengths to strengthen our work. In terms of our creative process, it varies depending on the song. Often we come up with ideas on our own and then come together to have the other one fill in the gaps.
TSU: How have you found your first year in music, navigating it during these crazy times?
YP: It’s been great actually— we were really lucky to squeeze some great shows into the start of 2020 before the pandemic hit. The time at home actually ended up being a blessing in disguise for us. We finally had the time to learn a bunch of new stills, record music, and get a decent sized catalogue out into the world. We do miss performing live and can’t wait to get back on stage.
TSU: Described as a heartbreak pop duo; what does that mean to you?
YP: We find genres nowadays really confusing. In one of our first interviews we were described as heartbreak pop, which we thought was cool, so we ran with it. It works because for one, we are definitely pop, but also, most of our stuff is really heartbreaking. When we eventually release a happier song, we might have to rethink this label.
TSU: Where do you see yourself heading, and what can we expect from you next, musically?
YP: For now, we’re gonna keep releasing singles every 8 weeks. We’re going to continue exploring collaboration with writers and producers in the coming year while we really solidify our sound and how we like to work. We have a cover of a well known R&B song coming out on March 12th— reimagined to fit our vibe of course. Excited for that one.