An air of mystery surrounds Niia. Permeating through her minimalist style, striking features and haunting ballads, the one thing I wanted when I first stumbled upon the L.A. based singer was more. More music and more info on the person behind the alluring voice.
So I hit up Niia for an interview.
The “Generation Blue” singer obliged, and we discussed the elements (turns out she’s named after one), recording her upcoming debut EP in the City of Angels, plus Niia revealed another passion project she’s working on – a children’s book.
With Vogue, Lucky Magazine and Nylon already picking up on this lady’s fantastic talent, you best be paying attention if you aren’t yet.
Sound Dessert: What time of day do you feel most creative/inspired?
Niia: Definitely at night.
SD: What does a typical day in L.A. look like for you?
Niia: My days vary, which I wouldn’t have any other way. I’m in a studio recording sometimes, I am working on songs, lyrics, arrangements. I also take Italian lessons and kung fu. Recently I’ve just been mixing my EP and re-recording vocals that still bother me.
SD: Name a few things you were striving for when recording your debut album.
Niia: I wrote some of the songs when I was much younger, and back then I really didn’t have any intent with them. It’s been interesting to see how far some of the songs have come and where I am now as an artist. I think the only thing that was really important to me was that it had to feel true to who I was back then and still am now, which was tricky, because I’ve grown up a lot within that span of time.
It’s also exciting because there are other sides to me that aren’t present on this EP and as an artist, that’s always good because it leaves room for new exploring and creating. I get to keep some mystery still.
I think it’s important to keep your narcissism in check – especially in such an age of visibility.
SD: How did you connect with producer Robin Hannibal?
Niia: A mutual friend thought we would be a good pairing musically. I didn’t know anything about him before we met, which when I think back now, is strange. These days you can find out so much information on people without ever meeting them. I guess I forgot to Google him that day. As a songwriter and vocalist, well, at least in my opinion, what you hope to find when you collaborate is someone you can trust with your lyrics and ideas and then challenges you…Robin is that guy. I owe him a lot.
SD: What do you consider the ideal setting for listening to the EP?
Niia: I don’t know. But, now I’m very curious where most listeners will end up listening to it.
SD: Do you practice any other creative pursuits?
Niia: I love to act and really enjoy writing. Acting is easier for me because I don’t have to be myself. With music I don’t know how to be anyone else. I write what I’m feeling even if it makes a shitty song that day. I can’t come up with a stage name or turn on an alter ego. It doesn’t work. I used to wish it could. It’s so ironic because I don’t really like attention or talking about myself, but it needs to be 100% me for the magic to happen.
With acting I get to be other people! No Niia in sight! I love to write for mainly the same reason. I can get out of my head and free-write about anything. I can write a script for fun that doesn’t have to do anything with me, my lyrics, etc. I’ve been working on a children’s book called Mr. Sandman And The Beach Eaters which I hope to finish someday. I think it’s important to keep your narcissism in check – especially in such an age of visibility.
I’ve been told that in a past life I was a Siren. Or was it a succubus? I don’t remember actually now. Probably both.
SD: Which element do you identify with the most?
Niia: Water. I am a true water sign. Cancer and Scorpio rising. Both water signs. My name Niia is Native American, and it literally means running water, fluidity. I also have been told on more than a few accounts that in a past life I was a Siren. Or was it a succubus? I don’t remember actually now. Probably both.
SD: When you really want to treat yourself, what’s your go to indulgence?
Niia: That’s easy. But, I can’t say!
SD: What are some books/knickknacks I’d find on your bookshelf?
Niia: My Alfred Kubin: Drawings book is on my bookshelf. I bring that book with me everywhere. My dog Rocco’s ashes are in a jar up there too. I received a trophy from my boyfriend last year for Best Girlfriend in the World which is proudly displayed, but most of my things are still in a giant storage unit in NYC.
SD: Song that you currently can’t get out of your head?
Niia: If I’m going to be honest…“Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz.