Since breaking out in 2015 with her viral SoundCloud hit “feels,” 26-year-old Wolftyla (born Tyla Parham) has pioneered her own unique, K-pop inflected R&B sound and steadily amassed a fanbase of millions of followers across platforms. Her debut EP, Wolf In Color, which she released in August of 2020 and included hits like “All Tinted,” has only heightened the hype, cementing Wolftyla’s status as an artist to know.
The singer and songwriter is also a proud New York native and Korean American. As part of Jägermeister’s “Local Snapshot” campaign, Wolftyla partnered with the liqueur brand to showcase the local NYC spaces and Asian-owned business that have shaped her into the creative that she is.
Below, Wolftyla chats with NYLON about her favorite restaurants, thrift shops, jewelry stores, and more to hit up in her hometown, along with news about her forthcoming heartbreak-focused album, If You’re Not Happy, Then Leave.
What were some of your favorite spots growing up in New York?
My early years started around my grandparents, mom, and aunt in Fresh Meadows, Queens until moving more east into Long Island. I spent a lot of my time as a kid going to Kissena Park, because I would play tennis with my grandparents there and walk around for the day. When moving further east, my favorite spot to go to during my high school days was Babylon Town Hall Annex. I’d go there to train for basketball all throughout the summer and basketball season — this is the place that really carved my hunger to be great, where I learned a lot about confidence and how “hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”
What are some of your favorite places in New York now?
Ever since I moved back, it almost feels like I get to fall back in love with the city I’m from all over again. There’s so much nostalgia when it comes to visiting old stores I consider gems and then discovering new start ups. When it comes to finding my favorite New York businesses, restaurants and stores… I’m pretty bad with going to spots people recommend, but really good at exploring and randomly walking into something I end up loving.
A Sneaker City in Soho is one of my favorite shoe stores. They always have all the sizes, new releases and held my first official pop-up shop in New York City with Jägermeister to celebrate my Local Snapshot.
New Top Jewelry was definitely my secret spot. When I was going through my gold jewelry phase, I really trusted Jane to always recommend the newest pieces she had coming in.
PlantShed on Prince Street has been my go-to pick up for new plant babies and candles.
San Soo Kap San (산수갑산) has been a family favorite of mine where still to this day, my family and I will go and have dinner to celebrate.
Cure Thrift is a thrift store I came across on Third Avenue when returning back to NYU. I came in here and got my first piece of decor to add into my apartment after doing a cross-country move.
Bonchon in Flushing is such a good spot to get chicken. I remember sometimes when my grandma would come east to visit, she’d always call my mom and be like, “Do you want me to bring a box of chicken wings?”... and literally my middle sister and I would tear the chicken box up.
What makes a true New Yorker?
The demeanor and the fit. New Yorkers have a certain edge and an unapologetic aura to them. As a New Yorker I feel like I learned early to never take anything personal, never view any dream as impossible and if you could find a “way” in the city, you’ll always be good outside of the city.
What can fans expect from your upcoming album?
A lot of confusion, unrooting, and rewiring happens on If You’re Not Happy, Then Leave. This was an album that was unintentionally being created over a span of seven months while experiencing my worst heartbreak, peeling back a more honest version of myself, all while trying to get forgiveness from others and give what I could to myself. Fans can expect all the emotions and triggers I went through when someone told me, “If you’re not happy, then leave.”
What’s next for you?
I’m really looking forward to directing some music videos for If You’re Not Happy, Then Leave over the summer. I think there’s a lot to visually piece together and expand from the records on there. I’m excited to be a step closer to receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Music Business from NYU and to just continue exploring my creativity in different ways, even outside of music.