From Percy Jackson to broadway we chat with Nia C.C.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR NEW SINGLE?
I’ve always wanted to be the chosen one. You know the person in the movies and the books that gets to go on this great adventure, save the world and fight the monsters?
Well that’s exactly what my new single “Monsters” is about. With a hint of pop, rock and a tad of R&B, “Monsters” is a single I wrote for every lover of music and adventure.
WHAT INSPIRED THE SINGLE?
I grew up reading and watching a lot of sci-fi, dystopian and fantasy stories, one of my favorites being Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Almost exactly a year ago now, it was the height of the pandemic and I was home with my sister, so I decided to re-read the series. Then, it was announced that it was going to be a Disney+ television show. At that time I was writing multiple songs a day, and I think I tweeted something like what are the odds that I write a song about Percy Jackson, and people responded that I should, and so I did and here we are.
CAN YOU SUM UP THE SINGLE IN A FEW WORDS?
Fantasy and Adventure meets Pop & Rock.
WHAT RECORD CHANGED YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
I think every song I record changes my life in some way, and each of them are impactful to me, no matter how minuscule they may seem. I’ll never forget recording, releasing and filming the music video for my first song “Forget” when I was about 15, and while it didn’t take off or get me signed to a record label or anything, it really solidified that music was something I was serious about and knew I was going to pursue in the future. More recently, I would say my newest single “Monsters” has really changed my life as I step into this new chapter of my music journey and begin to build more of a brand for myself, so I think that’s really exciting. It helps that Becky Riordan, one of the producers for the Percy Jackson Disney+ and the wife of the author, saw my song when I originally sang it with just me and my guitar on YouTube, then proceeded to tweet about it. That was one of the most exciting days ever. I remember thinking before I posted the song “if Becky and Rick Riordan could see this song I wrote inspired by Percy Jackson and know how much the series influenced my life, then I’d be the happiest girl in the world.” So, I guess you could say I’m the happiest girl in the world now.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSIC VIDEO FILMED BY YOU OR ANOTHER
My favorite music video I’ve done is probably from my single “Alive.” Besides the fact that I got to have purple hair, which I think is just the coolest thing in the world, that was also the first time I got to work with drones which was just a really special experience. We filmed the video around the San Diego area and went to all of these beautiful spaces with mountains and deserts and beautiful views, so even when we weren’t filming there was also something to look at and be in awe of. I also got to drive this burnt orange mustang and I had only had my license for maybe a year at that time, so it was super nerve wracking, but I also felt the coolest girl in the world driving that car.
WHAT WOULD WE FIND YOU DOING WHEN YOU'RE NOT MAKING MUSIC?
When I’m not playing music, I love to read. I come from a family where we would take family trips to the bookstore, and all get our own books before coming together for some reading time. It was actually my love for books that made me fall in love with stories and storytelling, which in turn made me want to be a songwriter. I like to say that the characters in my books are my best friends. I laugh with them. I love with them. I cry with them. I feel very passionately with them. It’s not uncommon for me to write songs based on these emotions that may belong to fictional characters, but that I also feel deeply, especially when I was younger. I’ll never forget writing “Forget” when I was 13 years old, also the first song I ever recorded and filmed a music video for. After playing it a few times downstairs, my mom ran down and yelled “did you write that song?!” And when I told her yes, she asked me to play it again. After playing it and a beat of silence she said “who are you writing songs about and missing to intensely? You’re 13!” and laughed told her, “No one, but I read about it in a book.” That’s still something we joke about to this day, and I definitely still use books for inspiration.
DO YOU GET NERVOUS PERFORMING LIVE, IF SO HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT?
I always get nervous before I perform. ALWAYS. It’s crazy because leading up to a live performance I’m usually pumped and going over my music and just excited to be performing, and it’s not until right before I sing when my heart drops and then races, and it really starts to settle in that I’m about to sing live, and that’s a scary thing to do. I usually just take a deep breath, say a prayer, and push through the nerves. By the time I’m halfway through a song I’m usually deep into the music that I can forget about how scary it is to sing in front of an audience, and start to feel as if I’m just sharing a story with some friends, which is technically what I’m doing. All of my friends and family will tell you how much I love to talk and tell stories, and that’s really what I’m doing when I’m singing and performing, so that’s a comfortable space and mindset for me to be in when I’m performing and the initial fear has passed.
HOW DID YOU BECOME A MUSICIAN?
I come from an extremely musical family. I’m the youngest in a family of 5. My mom sings, my brother sings, my sister sings, and my dad is our biggest supporter, so I pretty much came out the the womb musical. My siblings are 8 years and 10 years older than me, so I grew up going to all of their concerts and recitals, and it doesn’t just stop at my direct family. My mom comes from a very musical family. She’s always singing with her two sisters, one of whom, Jeannette Bayardelle, is an acclaimed Broadway actress currently starring in “Girl from the North Country.” Going to family events and watching everyone sing and perform was something I’ve been doing since before I remembered, and it was always something I wanted to take part in too. In fact, it was my sister and brother who convinced my parents to not let me quit piano when I was having doubts about it in middle school, and that push really lead me to where I am today.
HOW DO YOU WRITE? - WHAT COMES FIRST? WORDS? MELODY? WHAT'S THE PROCESS?
For me the creative process is always changing, which is what makes it fun. I don’t have one way of writing a song, which can sometimes make things harder when I go to collaborate with people, but it keeps me on my toes. Sometimes it begins with a melody in my head for a chorus, but sometimes it begins with me saying something in real life and realizing I want to make it into a song. My friends often joke that you can’t go a day without hearing me say “it’s a song!” For example, my song “Girlfriend” came about because I was complaining to my sister that I was sick of being called a friendzoned and called “friend girl” by the guy I liked. I began jokingly yelling about it in typical Nia fashion and exclaimed “I don’t want to be your friend girl, I wanna be your girlfriend!” And after laughing for a few beats I screamed “that’s a song!” And ran over to my guitar to write “Girlfriend” where the lyrics to the hook are “I wanna be your girlfriend.” While that’s how that song came about, there’s not always one way that I’m writing a song. Sometimes I just mess around with my guitar and get an idea. I’ve even written parts of songs in my dreams before, so my process is really always different. .
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I’m always getting new ideas for songs from different things whether it be through real life, books, stories I want to write through my songs, or melodies that come about in my dreams. So I guess you could say that life inspires me to write my music. I like to say that my songs are like my diary. I share the stories that have an impact on me through them, whether they be mine or not and no matter how trivial they may seem
WHAT IS NEXT?
That’s always such a scary question because it feels like the future is always changing. For the immediate future, I’m moving to Los Angeles, California at the end of the summer. And in terms of music, my plan is to continue chasing song-writing and singing as full heartedly as I can, keep releasing new music, and start performing more sets to build a fan base. I also see a lot more recordings in my future which makes me really excited, and pushes me out of my comfort zone of just singing songs with my guitar live. I have a song “Animals” coming out soon, so definitely keep your eye out for the release date for that. Nonetheless, no matter what the future holds, singing and songwriting will always be a part of my life.
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You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Facebook at @NiaCC13