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by chris carpenter The female headliner of O.C. Pride 2012 on

Saturday, August 11 has been described as one of the “proudest, scantily clad practitioners” of world electronic dance music, otherwise known as WEDM. In a few short years, the gorgeous, Israeli-born Hayla has become a fixture at LGBT events and a fierce advocate for our community. The rationale behind her dedication to the LGBT

cause becomes quite clear when one learns that Hayla was raised by lesbian mothers. Not only that, but her birth father turned out to be gay. As she recently told O.C. Weekly, “Whenever I get to perform and hang with my extended LGBT family, it’s like com- ing home… Being the daughter of gay parents has given me such a colorful life.” Hayla will be bringing her brand new tour, humbly

billed “Electro Diva Spectacular,” to O.C. Pride fol- lowing its premiere at LA Pride in June and a more recent stop in Las Vegas. Choreographed by Christina Grady—who has worked with Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, among others—and featuring costumes designed by Katy Perry and Britney Spears’ own Marco Marco, the show promises an hour-long ex- travaganza of music, dance and visual astonishment. I asked Hayla how the tour was going during a

recent phone interview for The Rage Monthly. “Thank God, it’s a blessing,” she replied. “Everything is going fantastic.” While Hayla claims to be a non-religious but

practicing Jew, she frequently thanks and references the Divine in conversation. “I’m a tool of God to help make people happy and feel good,” she told me. “I was born to give, to share something.” She has the deepest respect and appreciation for

her LGBT fans. “They are real, and honest, and loyal,” Hayla said. I asked her when she first realized she had a big gay and lesbian following. “When I was a child,” she confessed laughingly. “My parents and gay friends all said ‘You’re going to be a big star’.” Hayla’s upbringing has only given her a greater understanding of the challenges we continue to face as LGBT people. “As a child, I didn’t know anything else,” she shared. “I’ve learned to accept every human being the way he/she is and to love them as they are.” As a result of her unusual parentage in the conserva- tive Middle East, Hayla says, “I had kids trying to beat me up, which was very sad, but it’s made me stronger; I’ve learned to stand up for my rights and LGBT rights.” The singer-performer listed no small number of musical influences when I asked her about them. While crowning George Michael as her absolute favorite, she also named Tracy Chapman, Alicia Keys,

42 RAGE monthly | AUGUST 2012


“I had kids trying to beat me up, which was very sad, but it’s made me stronger; I’ve learned to stand up for my rights and LGBT rights.”

Aretha Franklin (who she was thrilled to see perform in Las Vegas while she was there), Beyonce, Elton John, the late Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston as inspirations. We also discussed our mutual admira- tion for the pioneering Israeli dance-music diva Ofra Haza, who tragically died as a result of AIDS complica- tions in the late 1990s. “I grew up in the same area of Tel Aviv as Ofra and

she, like me, was one-quarter Yemen,” Hayla noted. “Her nephew is gay, and was one of my best friends when I was younger.” Today, Hayla is an American citizen and is “very proud of it; I always say ‘God bless America’.” She last visited her family in Israel three years ago. Hayla has carved out a well-regarded niche for

herself in the cutthroat U.S. music industry in a rela- tively short time. Her second album, WEDM 2012, is scheduled for release later this summer. “It’s a variety

of 12 beautiful songs, dance music and club music,” she enthused. “It’s very unique and still has the multi- cultural, world music vibe” for which she has become known. “The first time my mom pushed me on stage was

at a lesbian gathering on a Friday afternoon before Shabbat,” Hayla humorously recalls, “I lost my voice because I was so excited!” Her professional perform- ing career really started when she was 16 or 17, and she was signed to a contract when she was a mere 19 years old. I asked Hayla what O.C. Pride-goers can expect

when she performs at the fest. She answered: “A good artist, an electrifying artist that they have never seen before.” After speaking with her, I’ve become a believer. For more information about this one and only performer, visit

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