EXCLUSIVE! Singer-songwriter Kayla DiVenere is living in an 80s rom-com—and she wants you to come along for the ride

She's smart, she's stylish and she's sick of the small talk—she's Kayla DiVenere.

If you don't recognize Kayla's name already from the cast of Love, Victor (or from her iconic music vids on YouTube), prepare to see it pop up on all of Spotify's hopeless romantic playlists. Kayla's new single, "Small Talk" just dropped today, and it's a total anthem for any gal struggling with a cute-but-complicated situationship.

Aside from her many artistic talents (Acting! Modeling! Playing guitar, piano *and* ukulele!), Kayla's kinda like a walking Pinterest-board—inside and out. Her uniquely retro style reminds us that that the coolest trend is staying true to yourself (but c'mon, throwing on an adorable vintage varsity jacket can't hurt). What's more, Kayla's a pro at channeling her bubbly 'n' bright personality into bouncy, singalong jams you can blast with the windows down.

She spilled the crush secrets behind her new single, shared her fave musical memories and basically gave us a masterclass in 80's rom-com romance. Let's just say this: We pretty much skipped all the small talk. 

1. Her new song is based on a real-life crush.


That's right, Kayla's latest song comes straight from the heart—and from her irl experiences with love.

"I've had a big secret crush on my brother's friend ever since I was 14," she confesses. "I would have these fleeting conversations with him here and there, but I wanted to get to know him on a deeper level." That longing for more than a surface-level connection is where the original idea for "Small Talk" was born. "I'd write about it in my diary," she laughs, "and after a while, I was like, Okay there's a song here."

If stealing away to journal about your confusing romantic sitch sounds all too familiar, Kayla's got some advice: "I feel like having a crush is kind of like a game of chess. You have to read the other person before you make your big moves."

2. She just started getting into music.


Thanks to the influence of her multi-talented family, Kayla's had a passion for music for as long as she can remember. "My dad was a drummer in his teen rock band, and he introduced me to a bunch of classic rock growing up, like Queen and Led Zeppelin and A.C.D.C," she says. "He even brought me home my first piano when I was five."

Flash forward to present day and music is on Kayla's mind 24/7: "I'm constantly adding to a notes page in my phone throughout my day to record song ideas." Daydreams, overheard convos and lines from movies are all fair game in terms of where Kayla finds her best writing inspo.

Need more proof that she's a diehard music lover? She's essentially advanced past the point of playlist-ing. "I used to be a religious playlist curator—but then I literally started listening to *too* much music. I couldn't keep it all organized that way."

3. Old-school films are her obsession.


Okay, so we know "Small Talk" holds a mirror from Kayla's love life—but that's only half of the puzzle. "The concept of the song also definitely draws on that 80's romantic movie fantasy," she says.

Because she was raised on all the nostalgic classics, it's tough for Kayla to pick a no. 1 flick—but she definitely has a preferred director in mind. "All the John Hughes ones—The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles—are amazing," she gushes. "As a little girl, I loved the grand gestures in movies, things like the guy standing outside the window with a boombox." 

Plus, one glimpse of Kayla's fashion-forward IG reveals that she's constantly paying homage to earlier decades to create her eclectic, certified-cool-girl ensembles. "At the end of the day, I can't live without my denim jeans," she says. "If you can find the perfect baggy denim jean, you can wear any shirt and it'll look amazing." Amen. 

4. She's sticking to one tried-and-true genre. 


While "Small Talk" is riding that indie pop wave ("the guitar is in your face—in a good way," Kayla says of the single's sound), it's just one example of what Kayla can do musically. She adores blending different genres when she's messing around in the studio, rather than just sticking to  pop/alternative/rock.

Her listening habits def reflect this willingness to branch out and explore new musical paths—she's queuing everyone from throwback Justin Bieber to Billie Eilish to Tate McRae to Dominic Fike. "I wouldn't say there's one specific person that's my ride-or-die inspiration," she says. "Honestly, everything I listen to kinda gives me a little bit of inspiration."

Guess the only way to say it is that Kayla's music is authentically Kayla, through-and-through.

5. We're going to hear more from her suuuper soon.


When it comes to songwriting, Kayla's already been working overtime this year. "I've written so much in the last year and a half that's just waiting to be released," she confesses. So strap in for a few more upcoming singles—and potentially a full E.P. ("when I feel like it's the right time!" Kayla says).

'Til then, we'll simply have throw "Small Talk" on constant repeat and start living our rom-com main character moment. 

Stream Kayla's newest single "Small Talk" right here!

Calling all music lovers! We've got you covered on all the playlist inspo:
Here's everything you missed from Olivia Rodrigo's GUTS Tour opening night
🎶 EXCLUSIVE! Singer-songwriter Katelyn Tarver's pitch-perfect advice to her teenage self
🎶 4 albums to blast when you're in a transitional period

Images by Lili Skyler.


by Madelon Basil | 3/1/2024