Growing up in North Wales, neo-soul artist Nia Wyn couldn’t particularly find her feet. Moving to London and exploring the freedom that comes with it, her feet were firmly on the ground. Since, her music has garnered attention throughout the UK as her addictive soul vocals transport you to another world. We had a chat with Nia about her recently single “Who Asked You”, and what she’s been doing to stay mindful during lockdown.
Hey Nia, thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us. What have you been doing to keep yourself entertained since lockdown began?
My pleasure! I’ve been doing a lot of writing and playing around with Logic at home, doing writing sessions with my producer and friends. But I’ve also been doing a lot of DIY around the house.
You recently shared your latest single “Who Asked You”, tell us more about what inspired the track.
This track is about facing negative messages and opinions from others and society as a whole. My experience of growing up in a North Wales town inspired it, as I didn’t really fit in there for many different reasons and this led to some stigma and criticism. But I think having to deal with unsolicited opinions is a universal experience, especially with social media as another space for this to happen so hopefully a lot of people can relate in some way.
You’ve had so much positivity online and from real big tastemakers, do you still find yourself listening more to negative comments? How do you overcome those?
I think the negative ideas that are the most impactful are probably the ones coming from me – or me seeing negativity somewhere where there isn’t supposed to be. I have good days and bad days so I just have to try let it pass.
“Love I Can’t Ruin”, your debut EP, was brimming with sleek neo-soul melodies and outstanding vocals. What music did you surround yourself with when growing up? Is there anyone in particular that you felt lead you in a certain direction musically?
As a teenager I started off with mostly blues, jazz and Motown and Stax soul, and was exposed to a lot of northern soul at home as Dad collects records and used to go to Wigan Casino as a teenager. I think it was probably seeing my dad so passionate about music that wasn’t being released now, music that was more niche and had its own subculture that in some way encouraged me to seek out different types of music that resonated with me, that I could feel was mine and not just listening to whatever was on the radio alone. Once I started falling in love with Bob Dylan, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, I wanted to know who had influenced them, and then who they had then influenced. That lead me back to being obsessed with blues singers, then delving into hip hop, Rnb and neo-soul.
You were due to support Paul Weller this May, of course the situation we’re in now has forced those dates to be rescheduled, but what was it like when you were asked to support such a music icon?
That was a bummer but totally a necessary decision. And it felt great to be asked, he’s a proper dude and I really admire his artistry, advice and support. So I’m just looking forward to 2021 when it gets back on track.
Can we catch you live later this year? Is there anywhere you’re looking forward to playing after we’re all free again?
You’ll definitely be able to as soon as the live music industry gets going again. I’m itching to play again wherever that is, but I’m hyped to do another show in London, hopefully Wales too.
Tell us one skill you think we should learn whilst confined to our houses?
A musical instrument or DIY. Or how to brush a cat nicely – there’s a knack to it.
Putting brushing a cat on our to-do lists asap. Thanks Nia!
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