Where are you based?
What genre would you describe yourself as?
Acoustic pop with a hint of R&B or Rock depending on the day.
Who is your main inspiration
There’s a lot of people that have inspired me as an artist from Corinne Bailey Rae to Tori Kelly, but I would say my main inspiration is Taylor Swift. I’ve been a pretty big fan of hers since I was about 7 years old. She’s really had an influence on my journey as an artist and a songwriter, especially when it comes to storytelling. She’s actually the artist that inspired me to pick up the guitar when I was in middle school, and I’m so grateful for that. Listening to her music makes me want to be a better artist and push myself even harder, so I’d have to save her. Besides, who wants to live in a world without Taylor Swift? Not me.
What is your songwriting process (which bits come first?)
For me the creative process is always changing, which is what makes it fun. I don’t have one way of writing a song, which can sometimes make things harder when I go to collaborate with people, but it keeps me on my toes. Sometimes it begins with a melody in my head for a chorus, but sometimes it begins with me saying something in real life and realizing I want to make it into a song. My friends often joke that you can’t go a day without hearing me say “it’s a song!” For example, my song “Girlfriend” came about because I was complaining to my sister that I was sick of being called a friendzoned and called “friend girl” by the guy I liked. I began yelling jokingly about it in typical Nia fashion and exclaimed “I don’t want to be your friend girl, I wanna be your girlfriend!” And after laughing for a few beats I screamed “that’s a song!” And ran over to my guitar to write “Girlfriend” where the lyrics to the hook are “I wanna be your girlfriend.” While that’s how that song came about, again, I’m always getting new ideas for songs from different things whether it be through real life, books, or melodies that come about in my dreams.
What made you want to start in music?
I come from an extremely musical family. I’m the youngest in a family of 5. My mom sings, my brother sings, my sister sings, and my dad is our biggest supporter, so I pretty much came out the the womb musical. My siblings are 8 years and 10 years older than me, so I grew up going to all of their concerts and recitals, and it doesn’t just stop at my direct family. My mom comes from a very musical family. She’s always singing with her two sisters, one of whom, Jeannette Bayardelle, is an acclaimed Broadway actress currently starring in “Girl from the North Country.” Going to family events and watching everyone sing and perform was something I’ve been doing since before I remembered, and it was always something I wanted to take part in too. In fact, it was my sister and brother who convinced my parents to not let me quit piano when I was having doubts about it in middle school, and that push really lead me to where I am today.
What is on the horizon for you?
That’s always such a scary question because it feels like the future is always changing. Right now, my plan is to continue chasing song-writing and singing as full heartedly as I can, keep releasing new music, and start performing more sets to build a fan base. I also see a lot more recordings in my future which makes me really excited, and pushes me out of my comfort zone of just singing songs with my guitar live. Nonetheless, no matter what the future holds, singing and songwriting will always be a part of my life.
Who would you most like to collaborate with (alive or dead)?
It would be a dream to do a collaboration with H. E. R. She’s an artist I’ve really been getting into, and I love the works she’s been doing. I’ve actually written a few songs and thought “ugh, I wish I could show this to H.E.R. because she would blow this song out of the park.” It would just be a girl power, black women centered song that I think would be epic.
What is your ultimate goal?
I have a lot of goals for 2021 that I’m really excited about. I’m moving to Los Angeles soon so that will be a really fun transition, and I’m excited to dive into the music industry there. I’m also planning on releasing a lot of new music whether it be recorded singles, or just acoustic videos. I always say that writing is like a diary for me and I have so many songs that I’ve written that people haven’t even heard yet so I’m excited to catch people up to speed. I’m also really excited to begin performing live again, that’s something I really missed over the pandemic. I'm excited to be back on the stage with my guitar and in front of a live audience and rocking together. Lastly, like most artists and songwriters I’m just excited to keep writing and singing music in general and building a following and making more connections with people, doing what I love. That’s really what it’s all about.
If you could cover any song, what would it be?
I absolutely adore covering “Watermelon Sugar” by Harry Styles. It’s such a fun song, and I’ve added my own response section to it and I think it’s lyrically and melodically one of the best response songs I’ve written. It seamlessly flows with the original so well, and the audience always loves it when I perform it, so that’s one I hope to record one day.
Tea making: milk first or last?
Milk first ALWAYS!!! I feel like it’s a crime to put milk last. I base the amount of sugar I want on my tea based on the amount of milk in it, not vice versa. I’d actually like to have a talk with people that put in their milk last because it feels criminal. I’d love to hear their rebuttals.
Tell us your funniest joke!
I don’t know if this is a joke since it’s more of a story, but when I was about 16 I frantically ran to my mother, who happened to be a doctor, because one of my favorite artists had to get one of his kidneys removed. I was visibly distraught, and so she tried to assure me that everything was going to be okay, and that the procedure wasn’t very deadly and patients often recovered well. After a while I yelled, “but how does someone learn to walk again after getting their knee removed?! He’s going to have to adjust to only using one leg so quickly!” And so she finally asked “Nia. Do you know what a kidney is?” And I confidently replied “Yes, Duh!! It’s your knees! You know your kneecaps? And we just call them kid-knees because they fully grow when we’re kids.” That day I learned there was apparently a difference between your kidneys and your kneecaps. Who knew? And yes, my medical doctor mother was not only in hysterics, but also slightly horrified that no one ever taught me the difference. HAHA!