BHM: Niyola

For the past two years I’ve been building with artists of different genres that I truly believe in. I’m telling you all here and now that I’ll bet the bank on Niyola. Her voice is soulful and sincere. She takes her art seriously and has persevered through the entertainment industry globally and maintained her artistic integrity.

We chatted about beliefs and thoughts. I began by inquiring about Niyloa’s motivations and what keeps her grounded.

“I am motivated by my immediate society and the world at large. I believe that everyone has a higher and bigger purpose here on earth, and my gifts as a creative are tools to help me be a part of fulfilling that purpose by effecting change and making the world better than I left it through my art. It’s not easy to stay grounded in a world where everything is so plastic and phoney. Standards of being human have been so reduced and warped, but I believe my faith in God and the knowledge of who I am regardless of how much the world changes help me stay grounded.”

Video: Love to Love You

I’ve learned a lot about Africa, specifically west Africa spending time with Niyola. I was curious about how her home has impacted her art.

“I come from Nigeria, the giant of Africa. A country so diverse in itself with so many talented people who don’t even realize the art that lives within them. We are a people who love and have rhythm and it shows in all we do. Our languages, and even our way of life. That being said, you find people who have these things but are mostly unaware of how to hone them. You find young people unaware of who they are, making bad decisions because of the lack of information, or self awareness. I realized that opportunities weren’t equal to the abilities and that spurred me into action. I have a voice. I decided to use it to teach, heal, and spread peace. Anytime something happened either to me directly or indirectly, I would write about it. I found that I didn’t want to sing about how sexy I am anymore or just for the sake of singing. I elected to focus on things that matter in my society, so that my story could be a page in someone’s survival book.”

Video: Last Bus Stop

Africa is her home and has served as a loyal launching pad however, Niyola is a global artist. Anyone who has listened knows traveling extensively has impacted Niyola’s art. I was wondering about what locations have inspired her the most.

“That’s interesting. I always feel different things at different points when I travel, depending on where I am mentally at the moment. That being said, of all the places that I have been, I find that Saint Kitts and Nevis is where I have felt most connected. It’s a beautiful island with few people. I feel their island is still very pure. They live life at their pace without the pressure that comes with civilization. There are places like that in Nigeria, as well as some parts of Asia that I have visited however, there usually is no balance. It’s either or!  Concerning work, I like Los Angeles a lot and I feel connected to the mass amounts of creative energy; I love the freedom to express your art as you deem fit, as long as you can defend it. It’s almost like creative people leave where they are to convene in LA. I love that about it.”

Video: Go On

“Like they say on social media, I drink a lot of water, and I mind my business. It’s funny, but true! On a more serious note, there was a point in my life where I felt like an alien. I didn’t like the things everyone liked, I would always be odd in my thinking and I just didn’t feel like I belonged here. Getting older, I started understanding myself, and the world at large. I learnt to separate the things that people did from who they were and tried to understand the cause of actions and not just focus on the action itself. This shift helped me a lot. I realized that people or things only have as much power as you give them. People act as far as their knowledge carries them.”

Huge shoutout to my artful and thoughtful sister-friend for always being someone to believe in.

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