When Lily Massie was 18, she moved from her small town in New Jersey to chase her dreams in Los Angeles. Now, she is going on a U.S. tour this fall.
Lily’s love for music began at a young age with singing and playing instruments. She started writing her own songs when she was just 7.
She remembers the day she decided she wanted to be a musician: after seeing an Ariana Grande concert when she was 12.
From that day on, Lily started her journey to be a musician. She bought a microphone and started recording her own music and performing at local shows.
Lily has been living in LA for a few years now, and this move was a big adjustment for her at first. There was a “cliquey-ness” and party culture that she was not used to, and she found herself going down the wrong path.
She left LA for a few months to stay with her mom and clear her head. It was during this time when she co-wrote her song “Lose” with the producer Breland and began to feel well enough to return to LA.
Lily describes her original music as R&B pop, and her sound is influenced by a lot of the artists she listened to growing up, including Eminem, Whitney Houston and Toni Braxton. Some of her other favorites artists are Kehlani, Keyshia Cole, H.E.R. and Jasmine Sullivan.
Lily writes all of her own songs and draws inspiration from her life experiences. Songwriting is an outlet for her to release her emotions.
“A lot of the time, [my songs] are stuff that happens to me,” Lily says. “I usually write my songs when I’m either angry or upset or stressed out. If something happens to me, I immediately start writing it down. I write it like a story. Sometimes I’ll just be in the shower and think, ‘Wait, that’s a cool melody’ and record it.”
For a while, Lily struggled with being open and honest about her sexuality. When she first moved to LA, she felt pressure to only seek out relationships with men and write her music about men.
She had identified as bisexual, but she slowly realized that she was just forcing herself to be with men, when in reality, she was much more comfortable and happy being with women.
“I just had a revelation one day that I’m just totally 100% gay and I [was] just forcing myself to like men for some reason,” Lily says. “When I realized that, I started making songs just about [women] and people ended up [liking] it more.
“I was always afraid — if I [come out], am I ever going to have a platform? So many artists don’t ever blow up because they’re gay. There are so many gay artists but they come off straight at first. It was a risk for me, but I feel like it’s important to talk about that stuff because then people see that’s the truth. Your favorite artists are gay and [sometimes] they’re just not saying it.”
Many queer artists face backlash after coming out, and Lily was afraid of this. But she has found that being completely authentic has helped her rather than hurt her.
She has been writing more music about her experiences as a queer woman, which you can hear in her song “Don’t Need.”
As an up-and-coming artist, Lily has many ways she supports herself.
“I work three jobs just to support [my music career],” she says. “I do social media management for two different companies and then I dog sit.”
It can be hard to find the time between her other jobs to make music. She faced a lot of self-doubt because of this and even questioned if she was wasting time chasing her dream.
“The thing that keeps me going is that I have always wanted this career,” she says. “I never see myself ever doing anything else. If I gave up now, I would have basically wasted my entire life. My dad always used to tell me, ‘If you make your dream your only option, then it’s going to happen because you don’t have a backup plan.’
“The most memorable part of this whole journey is how much I’ve been growing. I never knew anyone in the music industry, and I kind of just forced myself into it. [Now] I’m going on tour. I have an actual team that supports me, and it’s not just me anymore.”
Lily’s goal is to be able to fully support herself by making music.
“I love making music and performing, and I want to be able to just only do that forever and take care of my family [by] doing that,” she says.
Her advice to other women venturing into the music industry is this: “A lot of people, especially men, are going to make you feel like you can’t. You can be a boss on your own. You can push your way into the industry.”