The Los Angeles native, North Hollywood to be exact, is establishing her presence in the music industry with her rich, sultry vocals that seamlessly fuse elements of R&B and Neo-Soul together. In addition to her waxy vocals, Nyallah’s lyrics and entire persona suggest that she’s wise beyond her years. At the ripe age of 19, she exudes a level of self-assurance and consciousness; openly speaking about past relationships, BLM, and vulnerability as a guiding force in her creative process.
However, don’t let her confidence and contagious smile fool you. “It can get very hectic sometimes – having to balance my academics while simultaneously manifesting the early stages of my musical career,” she confessed during our interview. Now in her third year of university at USC, Nyallah thoughtfully reflects on her progress balancing academics while simultaneously manifesting the early stages of her musical career. With so much packed into one womxn, we’re excited to see what her debut project has in store for us.
Read the interview below to find out how Nyallah manages to navigate young adulthood, her views on the creative community in Los Angeles, and her aspirations as a musician.
How does it feel to get more attention?
It’s something that I’m still adjusting to, but it’s a really cool feeling. I’m extremely thankful for all that I’m experiencing right now. It’s dope to be out supporting a friend and having someone recognize me from a performance or an event I’ve curated. I am actively and (un)consciously creating my own place within the art community here. I am learning as I go, gaining pointers here and there from folx, taking my time through this process; reminding myself the importance of holding space for myself, and remembering why I do this to begin with also makes it a lil’ easier.
“However, I was raised knowing that the only limits in place are the ones that we set ourselves…”
Did you anticipate becoming a musician growing up?
I always knew I would be some sort of artist. I grew up doing writing, visual art, dance, theater, etc. Music was the one that stuck though. I remember growing up and trying to force myself into believing I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer (that’s what everyone else wanted) and thinking how that wasn’t me. But my family/others would discourage me at times, reminding me how thousands of people have a similar dream + how dreams are not always attainable.
However, I was raised knowing that the only limits in place are the ones that we set ourselves, so any and everything was up for grabs. I remember being unsure I could do this, I was always told that you couldn’t pursue art in academia. But then I enrolled in a performance arts high school and realized that wasn’t the case, soon after I found out the Popular Music program at USC and realized that this was something not only possible, but essential to my being.
Music has gotten me through a lot of shit; it is such a healing entity though we are often unable to explain its power. Music inspires, music brings folx together, and that’s all I want in this lifetime really: aspire to inspire, while bringing folx together. That’s all this is really about.
Does the creative community in LA seem a lot smaller now that you’re an active part of it?
Not at all! It feels like it’s growing now more than ever. I love how much everyone is connected. I love finding out the full extent of connections and relationships in this community. I’m always amazed when I go out and I find out folx across the board know each other. It goes to show how much of an extended family the creative community in LA is – like other communities, there are many layers and aspects to us that make us who we are.
I remember being in high school and wondering where the art community was in LA; seeing how creative communities on the east coast and in other areas had built their own “scenes” with their unique spaces, styles, and fashions that made them their own. I found later that it was always there, it just took some time to find it.
Are you currently working on an EP/album?
Yes! I’m currently working on my debut project. I’m hella excited to share this piece of me with the world. I’ve been writing for a minute and I’m super excited to share it with everyone.
What should listeners expect from your new releases?
Vulnerability – a lot of vulnerability, and honesty. The project is titled Reflections, and it is a symphonic documentation of the growth and development I experienced within the last year. 2017 has been a year of growth, of better understanding myself and my light; the year I finally put my foot down and held my own, even when met with opposition. So much knowledge has been obtained on this journey, and this is its soundtrack – a raw, true reflection.
Are you producing your own beats as well? If not, who?
My producer for the project is alecBe unless otherwise stated. He is a rapper, producer, writer, musician, visionary. Very insightful. That’s my brother right there. I write my lyrics and most of my melodies.
If you had to pick two artists that you most identify with, who would you choose?
Lalah Hathaway and Erykah Badu. That’s the combo at the moment.
You are/were a proud member and activist for BLM (Black Lives Matter). Has this affected your approach to music? In what ways?
I actually am not an active member of BLM anymore, but I can answer this question on organizing/activism in a general sense.
The more knowledge I gain about the movement and the systems in place to marginalize minorities, the more I am encouraged to write and create work about/for the movement. As an artist it’s important that we create work that acknowledges and critiques our current world/society. It is our job to address matters that are impacting us, whether we like them or not.
“It’s important that we always create from an authentic place with realness at the forefront.”
Tell me something most people don’t know about you/don’t question, but heavily impacts your songwriting process?
Hmm… everything I write about I experienced, or thought about, or was something I observed in others and then within myself. But it’s all from a very personal, vulnerable place. Writing has showed me strength in being vulnerable. Now that I know how to channel that within myself, I’m able to communicate and share that strength with others.
Any upcoming shows?
I have a gig on Oct 27th that’s within the USC community, but other than that I’m still in the process of booking shows for the next month or so. I’ll post that on my Instagram as well!
- November 17 | Happy Tears release party hosted by Tsega
- November 18 | Zen & Kush hosted by Lizzy Jeff
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