The Untitled Magazine caught up with up-and-coming rap star Nia Kay about her latest track and video releases, recently being featured in Vogue Italia, and her experience staring in Queen Latifah’s “The Rap Game – Season 2” on Lifetime. The Chicago-born rapper recently celebrated the release of her music video for her hit single “Ignored,” which was featured last week on BET Jams Fresh Face Friday and landed itself in the #2 position. Her fresh new look as well as string of successful releases is setting the stage for what’s to come for Nia – which is catchy hooks, undeniable bars, and a presence that will undoubtedly propel her to stardom. The first single of her forthcoming album is slated to release on her 20th birthday, December 8th. The yet-to-be-titled debut album will likely drop early 2022 and is described by Nia as “elevated” from her previous music, with an obvious progression as she evolves with her music. While her new geotag is in Atlanta, Georgia, she still retains some of her hometown energy. “I incorporate some elements of Chicago into my style, but my music isn’t that typical Chicago aggression,” she expresses. The goal is to reach a worldwide audience, and Nia is well on her way with a growing social media following of 6.7 M followers on Facebook and 1.6 M fans on Instagram, the young, celebrated influencer is becoming a serious force in the rap music scene. Read on for our exclusive interview and don’t miss checking out her explosive video below for “Ignored”.
You’ve been rapping since you were only eight years old and made your first music video at ten. What made you decide at such a young age that you wanted to pursue rap? How did you get into it?
I got into music at the age of 6 simply just based on my environment, my dad and my uncle. They were in a group together and my mom was pregnant with me singing. She sang all the way up until I think she was 9 months along with me, so music was all around me. It was something that I fell in love with and I wanted to try and I went at it.
Did you face any challenges trying to make it in hip-hop as such a young performer?
Actually I feel like the challenges I faced weren’t really with the music industry because the music industry embraced me like a lot because of how young I was. I was everybody’s little sister or everybody’s little niece because of how young I was. I was everybody ‘s little sister and everybody’s little niece when you met them. Everybody treated me like I was little this and little that because I was so hard and so young, Everybody was like ok! I was so much younger and I have my own lane and they knew that. So they were all a hundred percent behind me.
How has the success of your latest single “IGNORED” impacted you this year? What inspired the song?
Ignore was a great, great come back. I hear my record all over my hometown of Chicago. I have videos sent to me daily and I just love it so much. Ignore, came about basically just from me ignoring the hate and the bull in the world. Like you really got to know yourself and set a standard and say forget that I got bigger things to focus on! I’m THAT! How could you IGNORE it?
The first single from your upcoming debut EP is set to drop on December 8th. What can you tell us about the new track?
My new single is dropping on my birthday. I would describe it as fun, fierce, energetic, and still polished. It’s definitely going to make you want to vibe to it with you and your friends, and then they’re (friends) going to put you in a great Spirit. That’s what I wanted to give off for my birthday because you know … birthday vibes, you want to be turnt and having fun.
How will the upcoming lead single set the tone for the rest of the record? What can we expect to hear on the EP when it’s released?
The new record that I’m dropping on my birthday will set the tone for my EP. My EP is very diverse so you’re going to have some of those records you know that’s turnt, that you can chill with your girls, then you’re going to have some records about this and about that… then it’s about heartbreak, you have some records about me going in, you got all different things, all different sizes, and all different moods. I really just want to let the people see more into me so I feel like they get to know me. They get to see every side.
Are there any music videos coming up that you can tell us about?
I do have some music videos coming up but I don’t want to give away everything… so just stay tuned.
You’ve described your debut EP and your new look as “elevated” from your previous work. How has your new output raised the bar?
My EP I am about to drop is very elevated from the other things that I have dropped because; I am just getting older. I’m simply progressing as an artist and I’ve had a lot of time to figure out unique things about myself that I didn’t know before. I am just playing with different voice fluctuations, tones, deliveries and you know, just having fun in a booth is really what this project will show.
What was it like working with photographer Amadeus Purcell on your recent Photo of the Day for Vogue Italia? How did that opportunity come about?
I love working with Amadeus. I thought it was GREAT! The opportunity was super amazing and he was super cool. His whole vibe and team he had with him were very on-point and he knew exactly how he wanted to capture me. They were very helpful every step of the way. He was actually a fan of mine which made everything feel so much better. He actually wanted to shoot me and he showed that. He was excited to work with me and I was excited to work with him so it was a great experience. Can’t wait to work again!
Tell us about your experience in 2016 on The Rap Game. What opportunities did that open up and what did you learn from being on the show?
My experience on the Rap Game was great, I got a lot of exposure from it and it’s something that I’ll forever be grateful for.
You’ve said before that you don’t just want to add to the rap industry, but change and empower it. How do you plan to do that?
I said before that you know I don’t want to just add to the industry I want to add in a way that’s changing it. When I’m at my highest peak I feel like the world will see it because I’ll be able to do way more than just the underground things that I’ve done for different situations. But I definitely want to have a group of girls to work with and collaborate music-wise and business-wise with other artists. Really work with them and show them that it’s more to life than just these boys. Or what you’re going through. It’s more than the disease that you have, there is so much to life that you can overcome.
You’ve collabed with Chicago rapper Dreezy and have gotten cosigns from Cardi B. Who are you dying to collaborate with right now?
I’ve had a lot of features and cosigns during my time in the rap industry. Right now I am just focused on Nia Kay. Focused on getting myself to my highest potential. Of course, there are artists. If the opportunity came about, I would love to work with. But right it is about Nia Kay.
What inspired your move to Atlanta, Georgia from your hometown of Chicago?
I moved to Atlanta for fresh scenery. You know something with a different vibe. And too just have more fun with my music. I feel like moving to Atlanta, there was a lot more peace when it came to the music. Chicago is a really hard city. It’s my hometown, and I’m going to rep it till I die. But I did move to Atlanta, to get out there more. To network with new people and see a different side.
How does your music mesh the styles of Chicago and Atlanta, your hometown, and your current city? Does one inspire you more than the other?
My music definitely represents Chicago. I don’t represent Atlanta because I’m from Chicago. So my music style, how I rap, everything is from Chicago. What I talk about, you know, is my grittiness. Everything is Chicago. I just moved to Atlanta to further my career but that’s not where my roots are.
Do you have any philosophies you stick to as a songwriter or performer? How about for everyday life?
It’s not specifically I stick to but, “be you and follow your heart.”