When did you start making music and realize that you wanted to be a singer/musician? It’s a corny statement, but its true. I have always had music and singing in my heart. When I was young I actually thought it was normal, like something everyone does.
As I got older I began to realize there was something very unique about what was inside of me. I saw music everywhere I went, had music in my heart and had such a strong connect to sounds and words. I realized it wasn’t just something I liked to do, it was something I was meant to do. It was a part of my life’s purpose.
Nia | Student Conducted Interview
When it comes to making music what would you credit as your main motivation? Initially, I wanted to make music, because I just loved music in general and felt like I had something good that I could contribute to it. Today is a bit different.
Growing up in an era where music being moving, innovative and empowering was the norm to now being in a culture where positivity and quality is a rare find, I feel a sense of responsibility to contribute something meaningful. So my motivation is rooted in using what I have to make something that doesn’t just “sound good” but that actually motivates and encourages and heals at the core of it all.
Was there a person or record that inspired you to pick up the pen and start writing songs and hit the studio? I never really was inspired directly by one artist until elementary school ( as if I had a lot of time to grow prior to that Haha…in my mind it was a long journey up to that point).
But I liked certain artists as a fan but I didn’t totally connect to anyone in particular until my 5th grade music and choir teacher challenged me to listen to the soundtrack of “Sister Act“. She knew something I didn’t know and saw something in me that I didn’t see.
GYMSHOES [ACOUSTIC] by Nia
She assigned all of the lead songs by Lauryn Hill to me to perform at a school concert. And I had never lead any songs, ever! But when I heard Lauryn’s voice and even connected with the role she played in that movie, I was totally inspired. Thats how I began to develop my vocal range and really spent time writing on a greater scale. That paired with life experiences lead to me growing as a person and eventually a professional artist.
What do you enjoy the most about the whole process of recording and writing music? Is there something that you absolutely love and is there anything that maybe you don’t like doing as much? I love to rehearse and record.
There’s something about coming in the door with some vision and getting into the flow of things and having more ideas come in an organic way. I love to be in the creative space and being open to let God give me more to bring it all in. It just shows how much of a gift it all is.
How would you describe the music that you make? Who does your production? Well I am a 90s baby so I love classic hip hop and the purpose in which it was derived, however, I also grew up listening to soul music and my grandfather was a Jazz singer, so all of those elements gave me a sense of inspiration and formed my sound.
I define it as a mixture of Jazz, Soul, Hip Hop, and through the lyrics, there is truth. As far as production, I have a few different methods. I work with a small unit of producers. I dabble in production myself and a lot of times, I just got to my team and share my ideas and we create from there.
I have a band so that is very helpful as it relates to coming up with sounds and production as well. In this new season of my music that I am in, I am currently working with my producer/brother, HearonTrackz, Nathional Warren, JusCuz, and Dame-O.
Do you enjoy playing live? Have you done many gigs and what kind of artists have you supported or played alongside? Yes of course, I love doing live shows, thats where I am able to release it all. Every new show is a new opportunity to connect what is in me with those that are willing to listen. I have an awesome band that I am able to perform and share the whole experience with.
STUDIO INTERVIEW (BAND RECORDING)
What do you consider your biggest achievement? That is really hard to pin point, I have been and continue to be so blessed in this walk. If I can touch on one, it would be my time spent working with the legendary MC Lyte. I was her vocalist/hype girl for 4 years. I learned so much. She took me under her wing and allowed me to have life changing experiences and tools to take with me throughout my career.
HARK THE HERALD (CAN YOU HEAR THEM SING) COVER BY NIA
What projects have you released so far and what feedback from the media have you had? I released my first album in 2006, “Next In Line: The Project” followed by a self-titled EP in 2011, and just recently a Christmas project. I am currently working on a brand new album, “Break” due out this year.
Do you think that radio is still as important as it was in the digital age? Yes it definitely is. I think that its much harder to be heard and thrive because of all of the advancements in digital media. But with regular radio and now the growth of satellite and internet radio, its still holds a relevance to the audiences that utilize it. Any form of media is necessary and useful if you work it properly.
Let’s talk image and branding for a minute. Some artists spend lots of money on artwork and other acts aren’t that interested. How important is image, artwork and branding to you? It’s very important and yes it can be expensive but when used properly, it is definitely worth it. Thank God for making me creative all around. Since starting my career, I have been able to learn a lot of needed tools to help me along the way. I actually do my own graphic and web design and marketing.
I learned when I got stiffed by someone who was supposed to help me get some artwork done, it fell through and I had a deadline so I just sat and figured it out. Now as a side business I do graphics and web design and look to develop that in to a company one day where others can learn like I did and apply it to their own careers.
Touch The Sky (Kanye West) Live Cover by Nia
So what does the future hold for you as an artist? Well my first project came out 10 years ago, (go figure that one lol) So because so much has happened and I have been through such a journey, I am in the studio now working to release a project in celebration of that act of faith 10 years ago.
The new album is called “Break” and it speaks to the process of where I was, where I’ve been and where I am headed. In addition to that I am working on some deals to spread my music abroad and do more work and performances internationally. I have seen the ups, downs, and in-betweens of this business and I really want to show others that with prayer, faith, and hard work, even indie artists can touch their dreams.
GLOW IN THE DARK (ACAPELLA PERFORMANCE)
ALBUM PROMO VIDEO (BREAK)