Take a ride on the Caribbean side with this world-pop songstress who is well on her way of leading the air waves
Naïka is nothing short of strong, daring, and charismatic. Her eloquence and passion streamed through the phone line as I heard her excitedly speak of her music. Her voice was sweet and charming and I couldn’t help but smile when we spoke about how it all started. She told stories of childhood and ideas for the future and an even more exciting component on my end was to find out the artist is in my hometown, Boston.
Naïka, only a young college student, knows how to control her vocals and what the public wants in a song– which is better than a lot of artists today know how to do. The sounds of joy and positive energy is what she offers in her music.
Her sound is bubbly without being cliché, it’s exhilarating and vibrant, and you can practically feel the emotions of travel and wanderlust when you hear her sing. The music perfectly compliments her voice and the overall product possesses a transcendental experience. In her single “Ride”, we really get a summery, light-hearted vibe paired with Caribbean tunes, and in her single “Call Me Marilyn”, we are given a darker, more-Parisian lullaby. Just through the few tracks she has up, she demonstrates her talents and her abilities. Naïka has a variable and dynamic range of the pop field as she travels to different corners of the world with her melodies. This characteristic of her music alone, the one with the multitude of faces, is what will give her a leg up in the music industry game. Watch out, for here comes a Queen of Pop!
Born in Miami, FL, Naïka spent most of her time moving every 4 years for her father’s career and because of that, it allowed her to see many different areas of the world. She admitted that she was not brought up with a musical family or anything and a lot of her years were spent growing up in Africa and other different parts of the world. These influences trained her ear and helped her become good at melodies, gaining a knowledge of various existing types of music.
“First, I wanted to do acting when I was little, but I was always in love with the musical side and I always wanted play piano when I was like twelve or thirteen, then I could do piano and I started playing and singing along and trying to write songs, and that’s where it kind of started for me. But I was always very passionate about music, I always loved it, I always loved it a lot. But my singing passion started when I was 13”, says the singer/songwriter.
When she was 18, she applied for Berklee College of Music, where she would get the chance to really study and delve into her passions. At the current moment, the artist is producing her songs single after single and is eventually building an album she hopes to construct in the near future. She also noted that she is ready to hit LA up and give the industry a shot. With 3 more singles lined up, I have a feeling she’s got a good shot!
She considers her genre somewhere amidst world-pop. “I never really had a jazz background like most people that I’m surrounded with. My first big icon was Britney when I was 7 and that was the first time I was obsessed with an artist and wanted to be like her, and so I grew up in this pop music world, but I was always like at home listening to Caribbean music and African music. My mom, that’s all she likes. My mom will not listen to anything else on the radio, she will want me to turn anything else off.”
I asked about how the scenes she has lived in has varied musically, and how especially Boston, where she studies is a difficult one in particular to break through. She noted, “it is. I’ve been trying to get shows here and there, and it’s hard because the vibe is so different. I feel that there are not that many new opportunities for new artists to branch out here as much. But I’ve been trying to see if I can book a few shows here this year and New York City. New York is like one of my top places I want to start gigging in because there are such great opportunities there.”
Her dream is to one day perform at Madison Square Garden. “That would be my freak out moment if that were ever to happen.”
I wanted to see what the young musician would say if I asked her to describe herself in one word. “I’m extremely goofy, not funny, goofy”, she explained with emphasis. I then continued to ask her more fun questions like “What spirit animal would you consider your music to be?”, to which Naïka replied, “like a dolphin, because I want people to be happy, you know, and just relate and get attached to my music, and I feel like people are attached to dolphins and have that connection with them.”
We got into deeper conversation then about the inspiration behind “Ride”, and how it correlates to her desire for people to be happy. “I really believe in taking advantage of the moment and the time we have on Earth and feel like people tend to overthink, and I don’t know people scared to have, I don’t know, I just want people to have fun, and enjoy the small things in life, and like embrace positive vibes, you know, in your life.”
We then conversed about the hardships of being an upcoming artist, and she explained the biggest trial she has faced is “getting people to trust you and want to listen to your music. I think growing your fanbase is a challenge when you’re starting, just because you don’t know, like for me I want people to like my music and connect with it, and it’s something more personal that I’m letting people in. It’s really scary when you’re putting yourself out to the world and your like ‘Ok, here I am’, and hopefully you’ll connect with it.”
Her musical influences stem from many inputs, but most of all “I love Beyoncé with my whole being. She’s a queen and there’s a lot to learn from her in so many ways. That’s my biggest influence. Two of my biggest heroes are Bob Marley and Beyoncé. Um, Bob Marley because his message is so powerful and inspirational and it shows the true power of music of how much you can influence people with music. Right now I’m really into Halsey, and all of these really cool artists like that”.
Naïka embraced her culture because it is “who [she is]”. She goes on to explain that when “traveling so much you realize how important it is. I think traveling is the biggest educational tool you, you can learn so much about other people what they believe and how their cultures are, and it’s just so beautiful. I just want to bring people together and understand that you’re not really supposed to be afraid of a culture that you don’t know, it’s like so much to learn from. I can’t really associate myself with one place, I was brought up with so many different elements it’s really beautiful for people to embrace differences”.
If she had to give one big tip of advice to other aspiring artists, it would be: “Don’t stop. Whatever you feel like it’s so scary, but don’t stop… Actually, one of the presidents that came, from Warner, came to my school and he said something that I loved and that I would say again to people is that ‘there are no losers in this game, it’s just those who give up before their time’; keep grinding, keep learning, keep growing until you get there.’ If you believe in it, others will too, not everyone, but others will too.”
Hopefully Verge Campus/GoodMusicAllDay and BU’s Music Business Club will have the chance to work and collaborate with this magical artist soon this fall.