N.A.I.R.A took a hiatus from the music scene to deal with loss in the family. Now she is back and talks to LADYBRILLE.com in what turned out to be an exclusive interview on her loss, new image, new album titled “On my Angel’s Wings” and her worldwide takeover. Enjoy!
LADYBRILLE.com: For people who don’t know you? Who is NAIRA and who are you primarily trying to reach with your music?
Naira:My goal is to reach the hearts and minds of the masses one stereo at a time WORLDWIDE! My music is a reflection of who I am or am becoming as well. The torch that burns for all mankind in the most funky, neosoul/hiphop way ever imagined. I am NAIRA means Nigerian American I Represent Africa/Atlanta/or any other befitting word beginning with an “A.”
LADYBRILLE.com: You took a break from the music for a while. Why?
Naira: In my eyes the days of my 1.25 year hiatus seemed like an eternity and then some. It was undeniably morose and jaded! In looking back, I didn’t necessarily see a way out of that feeling. My anchor, my inspiration,direction, and my lifelong hero was gone. My mother was taken from this world and transcended into the next in a way not befitting of her deeds. In recapping the life of a loved one that has passed on, many people tend to exaggerate his/her true persona, but my mother was a true earth angel. Complete with flaws, but full of vigor, love, perseverance, bravery, kindness, elegance, and the love of God. So without her in the lives of me and my siblings, one may see why I took a break. A break I wasn’t sure I was going to come back from…BUT I AM INDEED BACK!!!
LADYBRILLE.com: We empathize with your loss and applaud you for your strength and drive to get back to the music.
LADYBRILLE.com: With the tours, promotions, gruesome schedules and of course still dealing with your recent loss, why do you think this is a good time for a come back?
Naira: Honestly, I didn’t choose to do it by myself I was pulled back in with the overwhelming amount of love from my fans and supporters. After months of receiving email upon email, texts, and phone calls I truly felt like I was letting them down by staying away. My little brother Isaac and [my] aunt Bim are responsible for the last and final push. My bro would come to me after school hug me and then say “Yo big sis, I am so lucky to have a rockstar for a sister. I thank God for your music. You are the best!” I would quickly run away from him and literally cry, because I thought coming back would be so hard. Don’t get me wrong it is most certainly still is, but he was like my number 1 fan and I couldn’t bear let him down.
So for some months I re-tapped my inspiration through all of them. Sculpted together several songs that embodied how I felt about my mom, our family’s loss, and the world at large. The project in and of itself is dedicated to the life and times of my mother. My inspiration, my hero, my angel. So today and for ever I’ll soar “On My Angel’s Wings”!
LADYBRILLE.com: Indeed. So, you are out with a new album, new look, new website, a whole re-branding of Naira. Is that a reflection of change within?
Naira: It is absolutely a new Naira. I can never be the same again! I still embody my swagger, business savvy and whatnot, but in the core of my being I am brand new. It is quite challenging finding out who I am now though but interesting, all the same.
LADYBRILLE.com: Inner growth can be very difficult but is truly rewarding when the journey is complete. I listened to your new album and all I could think was how your voice is more like that of Janet Jackson’s when you sing. You in fact rap and sing. How hard is it to do both?Naira: I started off as a singer and late in elementary school started the rap phase of things. It has always been in me. I often hear that I sound like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and or Tweet at times. The new album is a little more edgier in the sound range though. A little electro-soul and hiphop for ya [smiles] I presume that’s where you got Janet Jackson from.
LADYBRILLE.com: I like when you sing, but I’ll have to say, personally for me, I really enjoy when you spit [rap] rhymes. For example, I like “The City is Mine,” a lot. But, I would put my money on it that “Worldwide” is the hit! Tell us about the “Worldwide” single.
Naira: My single Worldwide is a perfect example of what I represent as an artist. As well as the platform for which I want to extend myself on. It’s a fun song about different parts of the globe and what’s popping there. In a few they’ll all be “Listenin’ to me!” and singing along with the rest of the song’s lyrics. It is most certainly a hit song and has actually been played on the radio in several countries worldwide. [From BBC Radio, Netherlands, Australia, Ghana, Nigerian, and many others]. Big up El Dee and Nick P of Hevy Hed Productions!
LADYBRILLE.com: Very nice. It is definitely a hit song in my book. I know you’ve attempted to penetrate the Nigerian market in Nigeria, in the past, but that has not been too successful. What do you think it will take, this time, to infiltrate Nigeria’s pop culture,airways, music scene e.t.c. with your music?
Naira: I think that I have been considerably successful in penetrating the market, but to a certain extent. Yes, my songs have been played and videos aired, but from an album release/business standpoint I agree that venture has been unfruitful thus far. The way the industry operates in Naija is quite different than ours. So the companies that were interested didn’t quitemeet me where I am with regards to business functionality. All is well though! We are in the works of wrapping up a couple of videos to launch overseas. The average people that make up the Nigerian market truly appreciate visual representation in lieu of actual radio spins, or shall I say in addition to. So that’s what I’ll give them. A hot hot video to accent a blazing song!
LADYBRILLE.com: I know your mom was a big lover of African fashions. Do you forsee yourself incorporating elements of African fashion and arts in your personal style, music/video shoots?
Naira: I have always been interested in doing so, but have experienced difficulty in finding the perfect touches and blends that will personify me in my urban essence. So with that being said, all established and aspiring producers, designers and creators, get at me so we can make history in 2008!
LADYBRILLE.com: Let me end on this note, you are a very savvy young woman who knows how to get her business hustle on. Tell the people what kind of N.A.I.R.A. enterprises you forsee building in the future?
Naira: [laughs] hmmm. .. let me just say this, the world will see what I will unveil in due time. You are correct. I am most certainly an enterprising individual. It’s in my blood! For now though the new album “On My Angel’s Wings” is available online now at:
www.iamnaira.com, www.amazon.com, www.rhapsody.com, and at an I-Tunes store near you soon.
Before I go, I’d like to thank you Ms. Uduak and the Ladybrille staff for allowing me the pleasure of being in your lovely blogazine. You all are the first to officially hear my story since my hiatus and most importantly I love what you exemplify. The true essence of where the West meets today’s African fashion, music, and entertainment industry. Much success to you.
LADYBRILLE.com: Awwww! Thank you Naira! We are honored and much success to you as well! Please feel free to always keep us updated on your progress.
~Article by Uduak Oduok
Founded in 2007, Ladybrille® Magazine is a California based pioneer digital publication demystifying the image of Africans in the west through contemporary African fashion and celebrating the brilliant woman in business and leadership, with an emphasis on the African woman in the diaspora. Our coverage includes stories on capital, access to markets, expertise, hiring and retention, sales, marketing, and promotions.