TIMARA alum Kayla Reagan, a professional mixing engineer, was recently involved in a Grammy-nominated project, “Planet Her.” Kayla initially came to Oberlin as a viola major but fell in love with studio recording, mixing, and electroacoustic music after discovering TIMARA. She ultimately changed her major. Upon graduating, Kayla moved to LA and started working as a mixing engineer in the music industry, where she has been working with big names. Kayla was a key contributor to Doja Cat’s third studio album, “Planet Her,” which was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 64th Annual Grammy Awards.
In an interview as a fourth-year TIMARA major at Oberlin, Kayla expressed her hope to create a studio for women, non-binary, and trans musicians, aiming to reframe “who is an engineer” based on skill, rather than appearance. Her goals represent the power she has to lift up others in her professional life, encouraging other non-male engineers and changing the male-dominated industry for future generations.
According to Kayla, she is currently in a unique position in her field, stating, “I am the only woman who is at my level/being consistently credited as a mixer in the world.” She has been using a credit database called Jaxsta to try and find others but hasn’t had much success. While there are other women who work as engineers/mixers or producers/mixers, Kayla explains that there are very few female mixers in the music industry, particularly in popular music. However, Kayla also notes that she has been “freelance for a year now and it has been going really well!”
Doja Cat’s “Planet Her,” released in June 2021, was titled after a fictional planet created by Doja Cat, where she experimented with new sounds and departed from mainstream music trends. The album features guest appearances from Young Thug, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, JID, and SZA, with Eve and Gunna featuring on the deluxe edition. Incorporating a variety of genres, including pop, R&B, and hip hop styles, “Planet Her” touches on femininity, solitude, romance, and sexual relationships, among other topics. The album received positive reviews from music critics, who praised its sonic versatility and vocal deliveries. It also achieved commercial success, reaching number one in New Zealand and spending four non-consecutive weeks at its peak of number two on the US Billboard 200 chart. “Planet Her” finished 2021 as the world’s tenth best-selling album that year.
Kayla Reagan’s involvement in “Planet Her” is a testament to her skills as a mixing engineer and her ability to contribute to successful projects in the music industry. In addition to her work on “Planet Her,” Kayla has also worked on several other notable projects. She was involved in the mixing of ROLE MODEL’s 2022 album “Rx,” as well as Snoh Aalegra’s 2021 album “TEMPORARY HIGHS IN THE VIOLET SKIES.” She also worked on “The Kiss Of Venus” by Dominic Fike and Paul McCartney, Rico Nasty’s “Money (feat. Flo Milli),” and UMI’s “Forest in the City,” among other projects.
Kayla’s contributions to the music industry as a mixer and her dedication to creating a space for women, non-binary, and trans musicians is truly inspiring. Her work on various successful projects demonstrates her musical and technical skills and her ability to contribute to projects across a range of genres. We wish her continued success in her career!