Introducing Singer-Songwriter Nia Ray

Miami, FL singer-songwriter Nia Ray has unveiled her debut EP What’s Love Anyways, and we had the opportunity to have a chat with her about it and more.

It’s been over a year since Nia Ray dropped her impressive debut single “Faded”— a bouncy R&B banger infused with a lush hip-hop production. It was a promising start for the “Purple Hair Princess”, and she followed it up with two more singles “911” and “Lowkey”. Those three releases demonstrated her versatility, as well as showcased her emotionally vulnerable and honest lyrics which often connect with listeners. After spending time developing her sound and working on new music, the Miami native has unveiled her debut EP What’s Love Anyways. The 6-song EP takes listeners through the mind of someone struggling in their relationship— a sentiment many listeners will be able to relate to. Having been watching her progression since she dropped “Faded”, it was only right to get to know her a little better before she becomes a star.

Read our conversation below.

How are you doing Nia?

I’m doing great, thank you so much for asking!

Good, and you’re welcome! Congratulations on dropping the EP, how excited are you to share this with the world?

I’ve been so nervous about releasing this project, naturally, but now that it’s out I love the feedback and I’m excited for more people to hear it and to start dropping visuals soon.

I remember featuring your single “Faded” last year, and since then I’ve been keeping an eye on your progression. What have you been up to behind the scenes since last year?

Since “Faded” I’ve really been trying to figure out where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do, musically. I wasn’t sure whether to take the single release route like most artists do now because I really wanted to work on a project. I also spent time just trying to get to a more comfortable space in my sound, and what kind of music I wanted to release. Playing around with music, remixing songs, covers, just creating as much as I could until I found something I like. I’m not sure I’ve exactly found IT yet, but I do like where I’m at right now.

Sounds good to me. How do you balance your music career with everyday life?

Honestly before this pandemic situation, I was overwhelmed and felt like I didn’t even have the mental energy to work on my music. Luckily right now I don’t have too much on my plate so it’s been easier to balance music and my every day. I’ve been able to focus on my music when I want to and I make my time for school work, since I take online classes it’s not too hard to set aside the time to do the work. 

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as an artist during the pandemic?

Honestly this pandemic for me was a bit of a blessing. Like I said before, I was drained and overwhelmed. I actually was starting an entirely different project before everything got shut down, but I wanted it to be predominantly real instruments, which became impossible. This project wouldn’t even exist if this pandemic didn’t happen, because I finally had the time to just spend as much time as I wanted or needed on music, and the EP eventually just fell together from me recording alone in my little home studio.

Let’s talk about your debut EP. What’s the story behind the EP’s title (What’s Love Anyways)?

The name just came to me one day really. I had only written a couple of songs, and saw that there was a bit of a storyline unfolding and got a glimpse of where I could take it, and while trying to figure out the story I wanted to tell with the other songs, I knew I wanted to make a “love song” but found myself wondering “what is love?”. After contemplating, and going through the list of attributes people always throw at it, patience, compassion, loyalty, the words just popped up in my head. “What’s Love Anyways? What defines love?” I realized it’s different for everyone, although we all may have a similar guideline of things we do and don’t expect, what you and another person experience, nobody outside of that can tell you if it is or isn’t love.

The whole EP itself is an enjoyable listen from start to finish, which song are you most proud of?

Sober is definitely my favorite to listen to, just because it’s so fun and puts me in a good mood, but I think I’m most proud of Too Far Gone. I think it’s the most honest and the best display of how I truly feel, but that’s one of the feelings I try to hide the most and have the hardest time displaying, so that one just hits differently for me. 

What message are you trying to convey in that song?

That song is kind of that stage of hesitance before you get into a relationship. When you’re thinking about all the previous relationships and things you’ve been through and wondering “can I even do this again?” I’ve been through a lot when it comes to relationships that’s left me a bit scared, feeling like maybe I’m not good enough and that’s why I’ve been hurt so many times. Struggling to love my current partner because I’m just so scared of the possibility of getting hurt again, it’s a really vulnerable thing to admit, I feel. 

When can we expect visuals?

Within the next few weeks we will definitely have some visuals. Time is flying by so fast, but they’re already being worked on!!!

Where do you see yourself in the next 18 months?

Oh that’s a long time. I can’t even imagine where the world is going to be in 18 months with the way everything is going. Of course I’d love to be on the road touring, already made it by then, but I’m no psychic. As long as I’ve grown even more, and I’m not in the same place, that’s all that matters!  As long as I’m not stagnant, I’m content, and everything happens in divine timing!

Fingers crossed! Listening to your music, I personally hear a potential superstar with commercial appeal. You also have the look and the personality— so please tell people who are reading this now, why they should listen to your music.

They should listen to my music because I’m sure they can find something to fit whatever mood they’re in. If they wanna dance, or feel like a bad b*tch, or wanna cry with a glass of wine. I’ve got it all, but mostly if you want to connect with an artist, and feel those real emotions, I think my music will hit the spot for you! 

Stream What’s Love Anyways below

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Photo Credit: @ljvxxv

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