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#sxsw #Nikkiya


Listen to Cheater

The capital city of Columbia, SC is beautiful. There are tree lined streets, historical buildings and the neighborhoods are bustling with state politicians and ambitious college students. Singer Nikkiya knows it all too well. Growing up in a Christian family within the city limits, she and her family would sing together. Her gift for singing was nurtured during prayer vigils and beyond in the church, where her stepfather was a deacon. Nikkiya sang whenever she was given the opportunity. She’d sing along to hymns, she’d instantly create songs and warble to anyone listening. She even sang jingles on her mother’s answering machine. It wasn’t until she’d gotten a little older and a bit more musically driven, before she discovered her current path, which was destined from the beginning.
At the time when Nikkiya began to ponder what she’d eventually end up doing, she was in a desolate place,
personally. She dabbled in the street life, popping pills, smoking weed and partying for days. Nikkiya’s boyfriend at the time was behind bars, and when she wasn’t hanging out, she was writing him
letters telling him how much she really wanted to sing for a living. He suggested that she contact an locally-based producer who’d been rapidly gaining buzz named Will Power (aka Supa Hot Beats). “Will was in New York at the time and we kinda kept stalking his
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and heartbreak, pulling from a familiar part of everyone’s soul no matter where they are in life. “It’s not intentional,” Nikkiya insists, “There are more people living the middle class life than anything else so if I want to relate to people, I need to know what’s good. And I do, from family and just living my own life.”
Nikkiya’s style is a mash-up of soul, funk, R&B, pop and hip- hop- complete different genres that somehow end up working in unison with her velvety tone and honest verses on her debut EP, SpeakHer. “I feel like it’s an introduction to me. I haven’t put anything out, so it’s all over the place and hopefully it will say that I’m versatile and I get down with everything. Pop, hip-hop... I just hope it’s a good representation of how I am and how genuine and comfortable I am in all those genres and all those feelings.”
From the start, as a young girl from Columbia, singing and songwriting was what Nikkiya was meant to do. Even as she was finding her own way in the world, there was the constant reminder to go back to what was familiar- what felt right. “As long as I’m able to do what I really love to do, which is just sing and write songs and just vibe with people who love the same things- I’m good,” she says, “Everything else will fall into place. What motivates me is that, I’ve been doing this, I enjoy it and I thank God for it. It’s His gift to me and I just wanna share it.”

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