Back in March we wrote about NYA’s latest single, ‘I’ll Be Ok‘, from her new EP, ‘Side Effects’. We felt it was high time to catch up with NYA, as we’ve been writing about her and her music for a very long time now.
Hi there, thank you for speaking to us!
We’ve been writing about your music since 2017, and each time we listen to you we’re captivated by your gorgeous vocals and songwriting. Was there anything that you’ve ever felt competed with singing, that you thought, yep, that’s the career that I want to follow?
Thank you for all the kind words! I am super passionate about global public health and neuropsychology in addition to music. Global public health was my major before I dropped out of NYU. I have always been fascinated with how the human mind and body work. And as a teenager, I was struck by the amount of health inequity around us, especially regarding mental health. This led me to pick global public health as my major. I still enjoy learning about any of the above topics and occasionally take public health and science college courses online, but music is still my ultimate passion.
Your new single ‘I’ll Be Ok‘ from your new EP, ‘Side Effects’, takes a deep look at depression, and the pain you’ve experienced with it. Tell us why you’ve chosen now to write about it? Has it been a cathartic experience?
I set out to write the Side Effects EP about two years ago. It was initially a way to process the past and heal in the best way I know how through music. I worked with Brian Kennedy and other talented collaborators, including James Fauntleroy, for a year and a half to create almost 20 songs that I eventually narrowed down to create Side Effects.
I tried to put as much heart and honesty into this EP as possible. I knew that meant being painfully vulnerable and transparent. “Mother’s Daughter” is a candid look at how my mother’s mental illness affected our relationship and shaped how I saw myself. It was also hard as hell to write and even harder to release. My personal favorite, the title track, “Side Effects,” is about the side effects of becoming an “adult” and the struggle to figure out what growing up means to me outside of following the status quo. And “I’ll Be Ok” is deeply about depression and trauma recovery.
All the songs on the EP talk about feelings we, as a society, are often taught to repress and hide. And in that repression, there is so much pain and loneliness. I had one main goal when I began to shape this body of work, catharsis, First for me in the writing process and then hopefully for the listener. I hope Side Effects helps people feel a little less alone in the messiness that is human existence.
You’ve relocated from the US to Uruguay. What are the pros and cons about living in each?
I moved to Uruguay with my Uruguayan husband at the start of the Covid shutdown. Here I found peace and healing. My husband is so grounded and sincere, like so many Uruguayans I know. And the nature is unbelievable; it’s hard not to be at peace when living here. Also, you have access to incredibly fresh and organic food for a much better price than in the US, so it’s easier to both eat healthily and enjoy the taste of your food. The only con is really the distance from the US and my family. Though I also sometimes miss the ease of Amazon deliveries, I consume a lot less when I am in Uruguay, which is an overall positive. Honestly, José Ignacio feels like home for me.
Do you feel living in Uruguay has influenced your music in any way?
I became a better human and artist living in José Ignacio. That is reflected in the fact that almost all of my favorite songs (of mine) were written here at my place in the countryside. I think living in Uruguay gave me the space I needed to continue to grow artistically and personally.
What’s the songwriting process like for you? Do you feel you have to be in a certain frame of mind to write, or do the ideas just come to you? And do you put down words or lyrics first, or does it all come at once?
Occasionally a lyric or melody will just pop in my brain. But honestly, I draw musical and lyrical inspiration from almost everything around me. First and foremost, I am inspired by my personal experiences and the experiences of those closest to me. I am also constantly reading, listening to new and old music, watching television and films, traveling to different places around the world, and looking for exciting visuals via platforms like Pinterest. I want to be a sponge.
My exact songwriting process can differ based on who I may be collaborating with. Still, I tend to start in any process with the question, “What do I want this to make me feel?” or if a producer has, for example, sent me a music sketch,” What is this making me feel?” and then everything grows from that seedling of a thought. Often my lyrics reflect whatever I am trying to process in my life at that moment. Writing has always been my best therapy, a way to exorcise those pesky personal demons healthily.
What’s next for Nya? What can fans expect?
I am currently writing material for my debut album. I want to create something I can be proud of for the rest of my life. My goal is to make a body of work that is authentic in every sense. I am also creating a lot of cool visual content that I am very excited to share throughout the year. And there are other exciting projects in my personal life on the horizon as well. I am trying now much more than just a few years ago to balance the professional and personal.
Finally, what question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does? And what’s the answer to that question?
I was asked this recently, and I feel like the answer is something as a young female artist; I wish I had understood better sooner. I would have trusted my intuition more and saved myself some major heartache:
“What is one of the most meaningful lessons you’ve learned from your time in the music industry?”
The biggest thing I have learned is how important it is to know who you are and what you want, both artistically and personally, and to stand firm in that knowledge. Everyone will have their own opinion about your life and artistry, but what matters most is what makes you feel fulfilled and happy. I had to learn to stand up for myself and say no to situations where I am not treated well, or my voice isn’t heard. It is easier said than done and takes practice, but building healthy boundaries is critical in life, especially when working in the music industry.
Watch the music video for ‘I’ll Be Ok’ below and find out more about Nya and her music online on her official website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.