Singing directly from her heart in an elegant black dress and high-tops, Nya performs “Side Effects” live. Backed by haunting piano and guitar instrumentals, Nya’s gorgeous, soulful vocals bring depth to the carefully woven lyrics. The song speaks to growing up and the ever-evolving perspective of maturity and adulthood. It all comes down to what each person values in life and what path they choose to walk. Nya describes, “That true path could be the picket fence or something much wilder, but so many people never really have the opportunity to define that for themselves. I want to make sure that I do”. Carrying the spirit of childhood deep within her, NYA approaches her music with a sense of playfulness and power that has a healing force. “Side Effect” presents an incredible testament to NYA’s artistry, and is truly an unforgettable performance.
I would describe myself as constantly evolving and genre-bending but always soulful at the core. I try to be as vulnerable and honest as possible, especially in my lyrics. I take most of my songwriting inspiration from my own life experiences and the experiences of those around me. I always aim to give a voice to those deep-seated and complicated feelings that most people experience but often struggle to talk about. I want someone to be able to sing along to my music and feel that they are understood, that they are not alone. Musically my influences are super diverse, from Frank Sinatra to Prince to The Smiths to The Internet (the list goes on), but I like any music that makes you stop and feel.
“I can say I’ve had enough of the side effects of growing up,” is a sentiment that many can relate to. How is “Side Effects” relevant to people’s lives in our current society?
Side Effects came directly from my subconscious ether. It’s all about the Side Effects of becoming an “adult” and the struggle to figure out what growing up means to me. Too often, growing up can be synonymous with settling, an inevitable fall into constricted societal norms. I wanted to touch upon the innate fear and frustration that comes with adulting and the bravery it takes to truly find a life that fulfills you rather than take the path expected of you. That true path could be the picket fence or something much wilder, but so many people never really have the opportunity to define that for themselves. I want to make sure that I do. In our current society, which is still so obsessed with popularity and rife with unrealistic and unhealthy expectations, the sentiment behind Side Effects is unfortunately as relevant as ever.
How did you create the sound of “Side Effects'”? What was the process of forming the melody and including the instrumentals?
Often I will begin songwriting by listening to a sketch track or simple progression. For side effects, producer and gifted pianist Brian Kennedy sent me a beautiful but bare piano track. I then listened to the music and figured out the mood or energy of the track. The track for Side Effects felt melancholy and almost reflective. From there, I freestyle over the track to see what melodies and lyrics would come naturally. Sometimes melodies and lyrics come together or one before the other. The lyrics, “Buy a modest house, raise a couple of kids…thoughts of settling down,” came to me almost right away with the melody. After that, I just kept chipping away at the song until I had written what is now the finished record. Side Effects is a personal favorite of mine!
Why are live performances important and why was performing the song live the right choice for the music video?
Live performance lends another emotional dimension to a song because you have the freedom to really play and feel. There’s this vulnerability and imperfection that comes from being truly in the moment, and I think that Side Effects is showcased well in that kind of setting. I wanted people to see and feel that I mean this song and that it came from my heart.
Can you explain how you would like your music career to evolve? Are there upcoming projects or plans you can share?
There is a lot to come in 2023! Side Effects is the title track of the EP I will release in January. This EP is my most honest and vulnerable body of work yet, and I am thrilled to finally release it into the wild! I am working on a debut album, a very cool music-related meta-verse project, and lining up more live performances. I will be releasing video and vlog content that allows a much more intimate look at me as a person and as an artist, the kind of raw content that I was hesitant to share for a long time. I genuinely think 2023 will be my best year yet! My ultimate goal is to make authentic music that gives a voice to the unspoken truths and emotions in all of us and to grow my career and presence while remaining true to myself as an artist and human.