Interview: Niia’s Not So Silent Love Affair

Los Angeles transplant Niia went from seeing blue to seeing red. Her full-length debut album I, and follow up to 2014’s Generation Blue LP, chronicles the singer’s fast and hard fall into love, an experience that was new and surprising to Niia.

As we all know, love is a tricky thing, and I takes listeners through the singer’s highs and lows, fears, insecurities and moments of ecstasy. On “Day and Night” Niia sings of being consumed by her partner, unable to think of anything else. While on “Hurt You First” Niia makes it known she’s not afraid to make the first move in order to protect herself from heartache.

Niia spoke to Culture Collide about her recent move to LA, opening herself up on and her favorite Christmas song. Read on below:

Culture Collide: “I” is an intimate album, what made you want to create this type of record?
Niia: Thank you, I think coming from jazz I always gravitated towards singing about emotions and interrupting others. I also fell in love and moved to California, which I think had a lot to do with the mood and lyrics of the album. It wasn’t intentional but it ended up being about falling in love and how hard that can be sometimes. Falling in love is pretty intimate!

CC: What headspace were you in creatively, compared to when you created 2014’s Generation Blue?
Niia: I think my headspace was a little different because I was in love. I haven’t fallen in love that fast or deep before so It definitely effected my mood and writing. I am not a really extroverted person and don’t love sharing information about myself. But, I couldn’t help write about what I was feeling and going through. “I” became more personal than Generation Blue but they both share similar goals when it comes to the production and sonic palate.

CC: How did you end up collaborating with Jazmine Sullivan for “Sideline?”
Niia: The narrative of the song is about a love triangle. I felt like I wanted to hear from the other woman. I also decided if some guy wasn’t sure about me the other woman would have to be amazing. I think Jazmine is one of the best singers out there. So I thought: if I was to lose to someone it would be her lol..I wanted it to be a real duet, similar to the classic female duets I grew up listening to: Debra Cox & Whitney Houston, Celine Dion & Barbara Streisand, Mariah Carey & Whitney, Brandy & Monica etc.

CC: Describe a perfect night out in “Los Feliz.”
Niia: Having pasta with a  glass of red wine outside while the sun begins to set.

CC: What do you love most about L.A.?
Niia: The sunsets and the ocean.

CC: What do you hate most about LA?
Niia: The traffic and lack of Italian deli’s.

CC: How did it feel to be partnering with KCRW to headline the show at Moroccan Lounge?
Niia: It’s always an honor to partner with KCRW. They were a supporter very early on and I feel very grateful to feel part of their family now. They continue to motivate and challenge me to continue to grow as an artist.

CC: During the holiday season, what’s your favorite festive track to play or sing on repeat?
Niia: Aaron Robinson’s “Go Tell it on the Mountain” from the Black Nativity Live Album,and The Temptations’ “Silent Night”