New York R&B singer Niqa Mor epitomises what it’s like to be a strong female vocalist in the music industry today. Not wanting to conform, but rather wanting to inspire and strengthen other females into chasing their dreams. This is shown in her recent release DEFY which tells a tale of a traditional caterpillar to butterfly story. An EP that shows what it’s like to be unapologetically fearless.
We chat to Niqa Mor about chasing her dreams, what was like opening for Omarion and the importance in being involved with production. Margaret Tra writes.
Tell us about DEFY and what it's about?
DEFY is the story of a girl who was once a shy introvert, now breaking out of her shell. It's your traditional caterpillar - butterfly story. I'm doing things my way now, I'm not following rules musically, structurally etc. I'm saying how I feel and I'm not afraid to stand behind what I believe in. I wanted this all to be conveyed in my music, just a girl chasing her dreams; the trials the tribulations being unapologetically fearless.
Growing up you were introduced by some pretty awesome legends, like Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, tell us how that came about.
I have quite a strong musical background, great music was always all around me. My mother was a cabaret and my dad played bass guitar too. My dad found it necessary for me to know, and study these legends. It was the music he grew up on.There wasn't a car ride that we weren't listening to "All I do" or “September." It was my first introduction to music, melody and rhythm. My parents used to record music together, and I also grew up watching my mother perform live at all the shows she did.
You've opened for Omarion, what was that like?
It was an awesome experience and great learning curve. It was my first time opening for a big artist. Afterwards we spoke briefly, I told him I loved his work and respected him as an artist. He shook my hand and told me to "Keep grinding.” That experience really put things into perspective for me. It really made we want to stay focused, work harder on my craft and to keep aiming for the top. I've done smaller, more intimate shows such as an all-female event I was on the bill for alongside Nitty Scott and some other artists. That was a quite different, but it was great because we all embraced and genuinely respected each other; it was good to have that element of 'girl-power' going on.
What other projects are you working on?
I'm looking to start recording a second project fairly soon. There's nothing I love more than creating. I still have some experimenting to do and stories to tell.
You are quite hands on with your music, writing yourself and assisting with production, does it come natural to you?
Yes! It has always come natural to me. I think it comes from being a perfectionist. I have and eye and ear for things especially when it comes to my art. Sometimes when you want things done you have to do it yourself and know what you want your outcome to be. I cant help, it I love being apart of any creative process.
What stimulates your soul?
Great question, I would say true love, a muse, great music, poetry and travelling, incredible scenery. I can really say I've discovered everything that does yet, but I'm on a mission to!