What’s interesting about indie-pop singer-songwriter Nya? If it’s your cup of tea, maybe it’s the fact she’s songwriting toe-to-toe with Grammy-winners like James Fauntelroy (the genius behind Justin Timberlake, Kendrick Lamar, Bruno Mars) and Brian Kennedy (Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, to name a couple)—but people name drop in Hollywood all the time. So, maybe what’s interesting is the fact that, as an independent artist, she’s consistently dropping singles that land top 20 in Billboard’s Adult Contemporary charts—but honestly, those are just numbers, too.
So what’s really interesting about Nya? What’s interesting about Nya is—well, Nya. Ok, yes: her accolades and achievements, her ambition and work ethic—but more so her story and emergence as a powerful woman in music. After years of sharpening her craft with top talent, she’s taking charge by contributing her unique and varied vocal skillset to recordings and taking the reins as a producer, and creating powerful concept-driven work. Alongside that artistic homecoming, she’s arriving into her unique identity, embracing her Puerto Rican heritage and the surroundings of her adopted home in Uruguay. And on a final, deeper level, she’s opening up in her music about her struggles, identity questions, and personal triumphs that shine with authenticity and heart through an already captivating voice. Keep an eye and ear out for her debut full-length album later this year—before everyone else discovers “what’s interesting” about Nya.
Nya’s touching and beautiful depression confessional “I’ll Be Ok” comes from her new EP Side Effects. Of the EP, she writes, “All the songs talk about feelings we, as a society, are often taught to repress and hide. And in that repression, there is so much pain and loneliness. I had one main goal when I began to shape this body of work: catharsis—first, for me in the writing process and then, hopefully for the listener.” This song, in particular, serves as a diary entry on Nya’s experience of depression and her resilience in the midst of its multitudinous throes. Over a ratcheting beat and cool-colored waves of guitar, she weaves a sophisticated picture of her struggle not just through her words, but words layered into rhythms and melodies that acutely reflect their subject. Listen closely, and you may find some help here, too.
In the music video for “I’ll Be Ok,” we discover Nya in her new home of José Ignacio, Uruguay. Through the series of camcorder-captured vignettes, we follow her into libraries and beaches, amongst prairies and pines. The 90s-grain filter over it all evokes nostalgia, hinting at Nya’s fondness for and sense of home discovered in Uruguay. While it seems some mental struggles still linger, there’s a prevalent message of hope seeping through the scenes—as if we’re witnessing the birth of a butterfly gently spreading her wings.