Updated: Apr 18
Be sure to watch her new Unplugged YouTube Video Below
Every artist has a unique story. Can you walk us through yours?
I was raised by both my parents, originating from Seychelles-a small island in South Africa. Who then moved to Montreal,Canada in 1991. Growing up, the African creole/ patois , french & English culture had a big influence on my style of vocals ,and it's only at an older age that I took notice of that. Not being able to afford vocal classes or anything of sort. I would spend my day's just going through my dad's Cd collection while laying on the floor & analyzing the works of Stevie wonders, Michael Jackson,Lauryn hill,Mary J Blige, Brandy, Ace of Base, Marvin Gaye, Bob Marley, The temptations, Shania Twain & much more. My passion for songwriting then started at the age of 8,where I would scribble words after words in my secret diary, no matter if it made sense or not. As I grew up, I devoted hours honing my craft at home and going through album credits to figure out how albums where made in an era where internet wasn't accessible .I really self taught myself how to write music and with age I developed songwriting skills which are only getting better by the years. In school I was an outkast , I'd spend my lunch time alone most of the time and was a victim of intimidation by bullies most of my high school years due to the fact that I was overweight and low on confidence.At the age of 15 I had my first studio session , which from there started my path as singer/songwriter. And at 16 I decided to take my health serious and lost most of all the weight and from there my confidence started building and the intimidation suddenly stopped. I originally started making records towards hip-hop and r&b which were inspired from all my personal issues & what I was going through with my family and school.
"Don't owe you nothing" with Odreii Listen
Through those years I came across so much negative situations in this male dominated industry & the fact that I was always a visionary and most people in my surroundings or the music industry wasn't ready to hear so much from a female that saw things outside of the box without the need of sexualising everything- didn't sit well with them. Which forced me to reflect on myself and what is it I wanted to represent as a female artist going forward. Just when I thought things where starting to shift in a positive light .At the age of 18 I was then diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Narcolepsy, which shifted my whole health upside down and dragged me into an inevitable cycle of depression and uncontrollable drowsiness & exhaustion which were side effects of my disease.
Due to this accumulation of issues , many times I just wanted to give up , but for some reason I kept believing that I needed to keep pursuing my music and with dedication that my time would come one day. In 2017 , I decided to change my approach to music as a songwriter singer, and to keep writing about my stories , but in a more optimistic way, which then inspired me to reconnect with my African roots musically and to start creating a more vibrant and happy sound that I could dance too, while still maintaining a message behind those records that is true to me. I'm currently in a space where I just wanna be happy and inspire other people to see the good in the bad and to find there own truth. A lot of doors have been shut on me but using it as my source of inspiration is what fuels me to pursue what I love doing the most, and that is being a unique songwriter creating a new musical lane.My vocal abilities continues to grow day by day in this ever changing music industry.I am often told to have an intricate way of writing and creating melodies for my own music which I've grown to appreciate and accept that this is what will make me standout in this industry. Regardless of the message and feel, the inspiration behind my craft comes from the deepest places in my soul, and I just want to share my experience with the world in a positive light.
What do you do / make / create? How? Why? What’s the inspiration or message, what do you hope people will take away from it?
I started songwriting R&b / hiphop music at a younger age which then transitioned to me wanting to write for artist, so I started studying every single musical genre to pick up as much information as I can. I then decided as a singer that I wanted people to get to know more of my island side, which is why I decided to start making more afrobeats/dancehall/ r&b records.To me it touches home, and I don't come across as your conventional afrobeats artist -lookwise , which has only peaked people's interest even more in terms of branding. All the music I write are based on true events and things I've experienced, so it was only fair for me to write music as story teller.I want people to relate to my stories , and I especially want to empower & educate woman , to work on themselves and pursue their goals without letting anyone get in the way of that no matter the ups and the downs.
Watch Nissa's New Unplugged Video
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your art?
For now my music is available on all streaming platforms and youtube. I am currently wrapping up my album for 2020, and will start shooting visuals in February for my upcoming singles that are set to start releasing as of February. I have a few shows & festival announcements coming and a few international collaboration that I am super excited to release soon.
As an artist, how do you define success and what quality or characteristic do you feel is essential to success as an artist?
Believing in yourself without validation is definitely something I had to work on all my life until this day, which forced me to pursue music. If you expect people to come to you and say that you are worthy of earning your place as a music artist in this industry, you will probably wait forever.If you want something, you should go for it without second guessing yourself and never let anyone try to make you feel like your crazy for wanting to pursue your dreams. Because most people you'll come across, will reflect their insecurities upon you, and as sad as this may sound, these types of people want to see you do good but never better then them. Perseverance and patience is another important key to a long term career.You need to be ready to endure the tough times , because this road to success is anything but smooth. This road can be filled with darkness and solitude , so you need to be mentally ready to overcome the obstacles while learning to be comfortable with yourself in a room alone. There's no secret recipe to success, everyone has their own journey, and it's all about timing. So if it's something you truly want, then being consistent will get you there.
What's your favorite song/project you've been apart of?
A song called 'Marijuana' ,which was my first official full song I wrote at the age of 16. This song was recorded behind a reggae instrumental. It has such a deep meaning for me at that time in my life.I never released it , but 12 years later , I could still say that this was probably one of my best songwriting work and I will probably reproduce the beat behind in due time when the time feels right, since I really need to get back in tune with the original emotion I had when writing it.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
My first job was working as a receptionist for a architect firm. And then I gained other work experiences , working in a conveniant store to being supervisor in a telecommunication company to being a bank teller and more.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Anything that you dream and desire to manifest in your life will always manifest when your soul is in alignment with allowing it into your reality.
What advice would you give up and coming independent artists?
The will to persevere is often the difference between failure and success.
What differentiates you and your art from other artists/musicians?
I've approached songwriting in a more thought-of intricate way. I write based off the emotions of an instrumental and what a producer has created emotionally on a beat. I always want my records to have a story or a lesson within them. I see no point of making music that won't educate or enlighten people in some sort of way. Especially in the urban music industry, a lot of the music we hear now a days are super (bubble gum) and lack on lyrical content & simply have no meaning behind. I want to bring back the essence of good music & lyrical content into the POP /Afro/Dancehall /Hiphop music scene.