Singer and songwriter, NYA, who divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, and dropped her sophomore EP, Southland, out on Aug. 10, 2018. She recently premiered the album exclusively on Atwood Magazine. Her music is a reflection of her values and what she believes in, blending soul and R&B. NYA’s influences range from Frank Sinatra to queen of soul herself, Aretha Franklin. We chatted with her about Southland, songwriting, her experiences that led to her new EP, some fun facts you may not have known about NYA, and what’s next for her in 2018.
Your new EP (out on Aug. 10), Southland, features your growth as an artist and songwriter. What experiences, do you think, contributed to that for this EP?
NYA: I moved out to LA from New York when I was nineteen. It marked in many ways the true start of me seriously pursuing music. In the past three years I have been back and forth between the two, and I have learned a lot of lessons. Some of those experiences were very difficult, but they made me into a better, stronger person. Southland is about the hard truths we face when growing up and pursuing our passions. For me it is the end of a wonderful and challenging period in my adolescence and in my career.
What is your songwriting process like?
NYA: My songwriting process often changes based on who I am collaborating with, however, in its purest form. I record a melody and lyrics free from musical accompaniment on a voice memo, and then bring that to the musicians, and we work together to give the song its’ ultimate shape. I began as a writer, so when I create songs I feel that is the place which I start from.
How did you connect with your producer and songwriting partner, jodynl?
NYA: I met Danny, my producer and songwriting partner for this EP, last November through a group of people I worked with. He is a really kind guy and a talented musician.
He was kind of the shining light in that situation. It can be hard to find genuine people in this type of industry. The competitive nature of it all can bring out the worst as well as the best in people.
What drew you to split your time between New York and Los Angeles?
NYA: I moved to New York at 18, and though it took me about a year to get used to it I absolutely fell in love. I honestly had reservations about moving over to LA. I had never really felt at home there. But there is so much opportunity in LA, so I knew it was worth it. Now I have a different kind of love for both, and being bi-coastal allows me the best of both worlds.
What’s next for the remainder of 2018 with you and your music?
NYA: In the remainder of 2018, I am heading back into the studio to create my next body of work. I am crazy excited as I feel I’m in a place to truly come into my own sonically and spiritually as an artist. I will also be releasing a single that is in the works soon as well as video. I feel like I am on the precipice of amazing things, and I cannot wait to see what those things may be.
Five Fun Facts
Who was your first concert?
NYA: Britney Spears when I was quite young. My dad actually took me.
Do you play any instruments? If so, what?
NYA: Honestly my voice. I understand the basics on instruments, but that has never quite been my gift.
Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life?
NYA: My parents have inspired me and taught me what it is to be kind, and strong, and embrace imperfection. They showed me what it means to work hard and smart. I could not be more grateful to have them.
What album can you currently not stop listening to?
NYA: This is a hard one I have a lot of musical obsessions. This is not really an album but I have been listening to a lot of Bonnie Raitt. There is a raw honesty and beautiful simplicity in her songs, which makes me want to be a better artist.
Do you have a guilty entertainment pleasure?
NYA: Korean television dramas. Seriously I am obsessed.