FM [entertainment] Interview | Nia
We have the chance to sit down and get close with another up and coming artist from the Chicago-land area. She has many feats under her belt. She’s been blessed to experience many sides of the industry and perform in the shadow of many prominent headliners in the game. We like to welcome singer and song writer, Nia. Thank you for being with Fizzy Mouse Blog today.
It’s good to be able to interview you, Nia. How are you?
Nia: I’m great! Thanks so much for having me!
Who is Nia?
Nia: Ha! Straight to the point. Well in essence, Nia is the product of life’s experiences and my music is the tool used to distribute such a product.
Is singing more of a career or hobby? What made you become an artist?
Nia: Absolutely a career. I take it very seriously. There was no profound “A-HA” moment that made me “want” to be an artist. God gave it to me, I had no choice. He runs the show!
What is your platform as an artist? What do you want to bring to the business (or people)?
Nia: I want to bring some fresh air. There’s a lot of the same thing out there, pollution. I want to bring back the essence of music that can ignite the senses and leave you with something powerful, well after the song stops playing.
I can empathize with your thinking. A lot of music now seems more so in the moment rather than evoking a timeless quality. It’s lacking the heart and real meaning. Do you have any other aspirations that you would love to indulge in?
Nia: Yes I do! Acting and dancing are two of my secret weapons, so they will come out from time to time. Currently I am preparing to launch “Necessories by Nia”, my line of couture accessories. I always get complimented on my style so I am really excited to offer a piece of myself for others to enjoy beyond the music. That’s set to drop before the end of 2011. Hair care is another passion that I hold close to me also.
FM Blog will be looking forward to checking that out as you keep us posted. Do you see yourself in the lights of the mainstream industry?
Nia: Absolutely. That is definitely my lane.
Being in the mainstream industry, how do you feel that will play out in your development as an artist in comparison with your development as an individual remaining grounded in your ethics?
Nia: Well one thing I am grateful for is the amount of experience I have in the actual business of music. I’ve had the opportunity to be in the middle of certain scenarios that helped me to learn lessons and develop me as an artist. There are a lot of initial struggles that many artists have to endure due to not being prepared. I am fortunate to have “learned the hard way” on many occasions and I believe that will lighten the load a bit as I move forward as a mainstream artists. And as far as staying grounded, I don’t worry about that. I have always been a humble person in the midst of my success, I am grateful for every blessing and I don’t fear losing myself in the mix.
Do you believe as you gain eminence in the general public there’s a compromise that has to take place or can you remain to a certain extent unscathed by the daunting antics of fame?
Nia: That is definitely a challenge as it relates to signed artists. I have been an active independent artist for a very long time. Of course, as time has changed we are learning more about the truth behind record deals and majority of the time it requires a lot of compromise and leaves little room for creative control. In all honesty, I plan on staying as independent as possible with the exception of getting a distribution deal or negotiating a deal that allows me the freedoms that I require.
Of course as a singer you knew you’d get this question. Who do you admire as an artist? Name your top 3 male and female artist past or present that you hold in high esteem.
Nia: Easy. TLC, OutKast, and Common. There are others but those are the main three that sparked my interest and that I still get inspiration from to this day. For me, they exude originality. All of them have evolved in against the odds that were spoken against them and have music and accomplishments that can not be denied and won’t be forgotten.
Those are some interesting picks and they have overcome many conditions. It seems to be a norm for an artist to have a struggle in getting to that desired spot in the business. Many wrestle with radio stations to get their music played or moonlight a gig somewhere just to gain a fan base. Do you find or are you finding that it’s hard to obtain your position and stardom?
Nia: It is truly challenging to say the least. There’s a lot of red tape, bells, and whistles that artists have to go through for even the smallest bit of recognition. This game is truly for those that can endure the waiting period. There are a lot of ups and downs, but for me, it keeps me going, because there is always something to do, something to reach for. I’ve been blessed to have some great accomplishments and the response that I get every time I perform reassures me that I have something that is needed and wanted. So with that I stay encouraged to continue moving.
Definitely stay encouraged. With that said, if all doesn’t work out in the music arena, God forbid, where does that leave you? I’m sure music and performing will always be a passion, how will you embody that in your life considering that circumstance?
Nia: Well I know I will always be connected to music no matter what. It can be writing for other artists, doing artist development, productions, consulting or something. I know I will never be too far away from it. Before doing music full time, I became a license hair and makeup stylist, I still plan to create avenues with that as I am in music.
Singers have a rigorous lifestyle and schedule as far as touring and trying to maintain a personal life and their health. How do you see yourself balancing career and life as they demand more of you?
Nia: Ha! Well I am known for always working a lot of things at once. So that’s not something I worry too much about. I’ve done the tours, the late night studio sessions, the long flights, the little or no sleep; I know it will only intensify from here, but I have had good practice.
Ok. I understand that you’ve worked with the likes of MC Lyte & Roy Ayers, Tell me How did that come about and how was that experience in shaping you as an artist. What did you gain from it? Are there any other mentionable artist that you’ve worked with?”
Two very wonderful opportunities. I opened for Roy Ayers and performed with him on WGN morning news doing background a few years back, his talent is amazing, I got the gig because he came to town and needed a vocalist, my band hooked that up at the time. I was able to back him up and open for him with my own set. Really nice guy. I’ve also been blessed to work with No I.D., Chico DeBarge, Christopher Williams, Lupe Fiasco, and Malik Yusef.
MC Lyte is a more colorful story. And I’ll keep it real because it’s now a testimony. She came to town, needed a band and background vocals. I got the call and was so excited because I was actually a fan and knew a lot of her music. We went to rehearsal a few days before she came to town and me and the other vocalist were there. The musical director decided he wanted me to lead a particular song, the other vocalist felt she was better suited for it and didn’t agree with the decision, so she quit. No love lost to her to this day. Everyone was freaking out because they didn’t have another singer to fill in on such short notice, I was nervous because this was actually the first major artist that
I backed up.
I met Lyte at sound check and went through the songs and she was so cool. We did the show. Long story short; I began to tour with her and worked with her as a vocalist/hype girl for 4 years. I’ve been blessed to be on tour with the true legends of Hip Hop, Slick Rick, Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, Doug E Fresh, and so many more.
Most importantly, she didn’t have to, but MC Lyte took me under her wing, talked with me, gave me advice, and just made me feel like family. To date, we all talk to each other and check up on each other. It was just a really great experience and it helped me in so many ways from learning the flow of the business to performing through my nerves, touring had me singing in front of tens of thousands and it trained me up for real! Shout out to Lyte, Fred, DJ Krock, and Willie. Love y’all.
I can tell that experience was a pivotal point in your life and as an artist and I love the shout outs [Laughs] Alright, let’s have some fun!
If you ran the world, what’s the first thing you’d do?
Nia: Hmmm, if I ruled the world, life would run off love instead of money. So you would have no choice, but to have love because without it you wouldn’t be able to have success. Much like how life truly is, but maybe if it was enforced, it would be taken more seriously.
Nice concept. If you were to die and be reincarnated, what would you want to come back as and why?
Nia: Well I don’t believe in reincarnation, but to play along I’d say a bird. I always wanted to be able to fly.
OK Cupid is calling it quits and he has asked you to take his place. Who would you play match maker with in “Hollywood“? Give us 3 celeb couples you’d make happen.
Nia: Dang! Why couldn’t it be who I’d wanna be with?? [Laughs]
Maury Povich & Oprah Winfrey
Nicki Minaj & Maxwell
Waka Flacka &IndiaArie
There! Maybe that will balance somethings out. [Laughs]
[Laughs] That would indeed bring an implication for some form of order. It would be something to see who you put Lady GaGa or Charlie Sheen with. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Nia: Candy! I must admit it. I think I may eat it every day. Especially gummy worms & frooties [laughs]
Paper or Plastic? Do you find yourself paying more with cash or with the card?
Nia: Gotta have my card! When I have cash it burns a whole in my pocket for real! I am a shop-aholic
[Laughs] If you’re anything like me, you sometimes wait until you’re down to the last pair of underwear before you even attempt to do laundry. What life’s task or activity do you try to avoid at all cost before having to do it?
Nia: Dishes! I can’t stand doing dishes, and I have a dishwasher, which is really sad. Please believe company or no company, make sure you grab a paper plate and plastic fork! Don’t judge me!
[Laughs] Hey it is definitely like that sometimes. One more. If time travel were possible, when is the first place you’d visit in time and why?
Nia: I would love to go back to the Harlem Renaissance era. Go to an authentic Jazz club and just take it all in. The clothes, the music, the poetry, all of it is so intriguing to me.
Yes that is a very fascinating period, from its intellects like W. E DuBois and Arturo Schomburg to its writers like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston. Now do you write your own material or do you often co-write?
Nia: Yes. I am a writer first and foremost. I write all of my own songs and write for other artists as well.
How do you feel performing the material of someone else? Do you discover it’s harder to relate to?
Nia: Yikes, if my musical director was here, he would be cracking up! We always argue about me performing covers at my shows. I definitely have songs that I love and love to perform, but I prefer to do my own songs. When I perform my music, it comes from a real place, a place that I can identify with and recall. It gives me a sense of reality. I have fun with the covers too, but I believe I connect more emotionally to what I understand or what I have experienced. I can get that from someone else’s music as well; don’t get me wrong; I am not so high and mighty like that. Ultimately it just depends on the song.
How would you describe your sound?
Nia: Diverse. I’m rooted in R&B, Hip Hop, and Jazz. I connect to each of those genres in some way, so I think I create a unique blend of the three.
Are you currently working on releasing an album? When should we expect one?
Nia: My current project, Nia: the EP dropped back in February of this year. My next project will drop in mid 2012.
Awesome. Be sure to check back with FM when it does. Until then are their any upcoming events that you have planned?
Nia: Yes. In addition to my top 3 favorite artists I also love Ms. Lauryn Hill. I’m sure you will agree that “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” is a classic album. I joined forces with another talented artist in Chicago, a phenomenal poet by the name of K-Love. We will be performing that album Live. A combination of song, poetry, and classic Lauryn Hill songs and we will be backed by my boys, Verzatile, one of the hottest bands in the city.
Yes I do and I’m sure many of the readers will also agree that Lauryn Hill’s 1st album is undeniably a classic and a staple in the music landscape. FM is also familiar with K-Love. She’s a very articulate and an intellectual poet. She most certainly is not “too afraid to stand out.” How can we contact you for booking you for an event or show?
Are there any words to the public that you would like to conclude with?
Nia: I would just like to thank all of my supporters, new and seasoned. I appreciate the love beyond words and as cliche as that may sound, from the bottom of my heart, I truly mean it. I have lots of things in the works and I hope that you stay connect to take this ride with me. Be on the look out for “Necessories by Nia” coming very soon. I’ll leave you with a teaser on 11/1/11. Make sure you are on www.Nialand.com. Thats it! God Bless! Love you!
This has been a wonderful interview. FM would like to thank you for kicking it here with us. We’re looking forward to that teaser and much more to come from you. Much love and best wishes to you as you set out on your accomplishments. As always stay tuned to FM. Fizzy Mouse Blog.
Check out Nia on Reverbnation.