Born in New Jersey in 1990, Kaya Wilkins is a musician, actor, and model better known by her stage name Okay Kaya. While born in the U.S., she grew up on a peninsula outside of Oslo, Norway. Learning to play guitar with her brothers, who were members of a local black metal band, she organically grew into her own unique writing and singing style. But music was not how she first came to prominence in the entertainment industry – modeling was. In the fashion industry, she modeled for Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta, and others. She’s also been featured in the pages of American Vogue, Italian Vogue, British Vogue, i-D, M Le Monde, Wonderland, and more. Kaya made a bold step in 2017 when she began acting, earning critical raves for her debut in Joachim Trier’s Thelma.
However, music seems to have been her first love. Being able to express herself through the art of music, she began recording and releasing songs as early as 2015. As Okay Kaya, she released several early singles including her debut, “Damn, Gravity” followed by “Clenched Teeth,” “I’m Stupid (But I Love You),” and “Durer.” Briefly sidetracked by her successful music career, Okay Kaya released her debut album, BOTH, in 2018. The album featured the acclaimed singles “Vampire,” “IUD,” “Dance Like U,” and “Habitual Love.” Okay Kaya’s next official album was 2020’s WATCH THIS LIQUID POUR ITSELF, which included the singles “Baby Little Tween,”, “Ascend and Try Again,”, “Asexual Wellbeing,” and “Psych Ward.” The album was another critical success and introduced her talents to an even wider audience. She released her first mixtape, SURVIVING IS THE NEW LIVING, in 2020.
Okay Kaya returns in 2022 with SAP, an album that she wrote and recorded during the pandemic. Initially created in isolation, SAP is a concept album of sorts, a journey through an emotional terrain that eschews modern polished production in favor of musical honesty and a haunting atmosphere. After laying down initial tracks by herself, Okay Kaya chose to reach out to her musical friends – including Nick Hakim, Adam Green, L’Rain, Deem Spencer, and others – to come into the studio and add their own unique flavors to the recordings. The resulting album, SAP, is as unique as Kaya is – smart, melodic, eclectic, eccentric, and powerful. With tracks like “Pearl Gurl,” “Jolene From Her Own Perspective,” “Spinal Tap,” “Origin Story,” and “I’ve Spent Forever Planning a Crisis,” this is an album filled with many different emotions, all of which hit the listener in all the right places. It can be felt just as much as it can be heard. You don’t need to turn it up in order to feel it… but it does help!