Q&A with Nia CC

Alt-pop singer-songwriter Nia CC filled out a quick Q&A for us!

WHAT do you want someone’s first impression of you to be?

I think the first impression I want someone to have of me as an artist is that I’m a storyteller. Songwriting is like a diary for me. It’s the outlet where I’m able to be my full authentic self and tell my story, whether it be about Disney World or heartbreak. And as someone who tends to live in this world with a lot of passion and feelings, I have a lot of stories to tell with a lot of different messages. That said, I would say the through-line in my music is not necessarily the content I’m singing about, but who I am as an artist. As a Black woman in America playing the guitar and singing genres that are often times predominantly white, my message is that of reclamation. Claiming space where many Black artists have been pushed out of, and being a voice that brings us into this more diverse and inclusive stage in the music industry. So whether I’m singing about a break up, or explicitly singing about racial inequality or sexism, it’s important to me that my audience is able to walk away more empathetic, more joyful, or even more supportive about a more inclusive society, no matter how subtle and subconscious that may be. That’s the impact and importance of storytelling and songwriting to me. Not just the story being told, but the importance of who is telling it. That’s really what I want my first impression of me to be.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY PLAYING SHOWS? 

One of my favorite memories playing a show is when I was a senior in high school and sang at an event in Boston for teens. There were about 1000 people there and I only got to sing one song, but that was enough. I sang a song I wrote titled “I don’t care” about a teacher who told me I would never make any money as a songwriter. I told the story about the song to the audience before I sang, so when I got to the punchline in the song, the audience went wild. I remember a lot of people coming up to me after that performance to compliment me, and I made a lot of friends and followers that day. That said, while I loved that the performance went well, it was really that the audience was so connected with the song and story that made the show so special to me. My favorite part of songwriting and singing is telling stories and connecting with the audience over them, so I loved every part of that. 

WHAT ARTIST WOULD BE YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

There are always so many answers I have to this question because there are so many artists I would love to collaborate with. In terms of songwriting, I think it would be really fun to write with Tori Kelly. She’s always been one of my favorite artists, but especially one of my favorite songwriters, so it would just be so fun to collaborate with her. In terms of singing a song with someone, I would love to sing with H. E. R. She has a style that I’ve always admired and I’m just in love with her voice and the music she puts out. So I think if we did a collaboration we could come up with something amazing. 

WHAT SONG ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF AND WHY?

This question is always tough for me because my answer is always changing. The songs that I’m attached to tend to be most proud of are songs I’ve just written that I’m continually finding joy in because they’re something new. That said, of my released songs, I would say my new single “Monsters” is probably what I’m most proud of right now since it feels like a new beginning.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO GAS STATION ORDER?

My go-to-gas station order is pretty simple: any candy based on sugar with a bag of Takis. This ranges from jelly beans, to sour patch kids, to fun dip, to cotton candy. If it’s a candy that’s really just made of sugar, I love it. In fact, my legal middle name is “C. C.” which is why it’s my artist name, and people always ask me what it stands for. For awhile, or even now when I feel like messing with people, I tell them that it stands for cotton candy because I love cotton candy so much. That said, as long as it’s a sugar based candy and there’s a bag of Takis on the side, and of course a bottle of water for when my tongue is on fire, I’m content.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR NON-MUSICAL INFLUENCES?

I have so many non-musical inspirations from authors like Rick Riordan, to poets like Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou, to actresses like Emma Watson. That said, when it comes down to it, I always say that my family influences and inspires me for different reasons. My mom is a doctor and the daughter of two Haitian immigrants, and she had both my sister and brother in undergrad while her and my dad were both at Cornell University. Nobody thought she’d be able to finish undergrad with two kids, let alone go to a top medical school. She’s someone who taught me perseverance and the importance of following your dreams, even when the world is rooting against you. My dad is my  biggest supporter. Despite being a lawyer, he’s always found a way to come to EVERY game I play in and show I perform, no matter the time or distance. He’s taught me the true meaning of love and commitment. My brother was the first one to teach me how to play piano and sing at the same time. Even though he’s a doctor himself now, he continues to find time to push me and encourage me artistically. He’s taught me the importance of having balance in life and confidently trying new things. Lastly, my sister is the definition of a girl boss. A lawyer, an author, a model and so much more. She’s taught me how to not place limitations on myself and reach for all the things I want in life, no matter how far they may seem. Together, they are all influences and I couldn’t be more grateful for them.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF? 

If I could go back in time and give myself advice, I would tell myself that perfectionism can be a weakness, so don’t get caught up in it. I find that as an artist, I was always weary of putting out music because it wasn’t perfect. I would tell myself “I’m going to wait until it’s perfect for anyone to ever hear it.” The problem with that is that it scared me into not releasing music for a long time because it never sounded perfect enough. It became an excuse to not release music. One thing I’ve learned, is that sometimes it’s better to release it 95% sounding how I want it to, rather than never releasing it and working on it for a lifetime to hit 100%. As important as it is to hold on to your music until it sounds up to the par that you want it to, it’s just as important to be able to let it go. Besides, I find that the best music tends to come from the beauty of some of the imperfections hidden inside of it. That’s what makes it so authentic. 

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE YEAR?

I have a lot of goals for 2021 that I’m really excited about. I’m moving to Los Angeles soon so that will be a really fun transition, and I’m excited to dive in the music industry there. I’m also planning on releasing a lot of new music whether it be recorded singles, or just acoustic videos. I always say that writing is like a diary for me and I have so many songs that I’ve written that people haven’t even heard yet so I’m excited to catch people up to speed. I’m also really excited to begin performing live again, that’s something I really missed over the pandemic, i’m excited to be back on the stage with my guitar and in front of a live audience and rocking together. Lastly like most artists and songwriters I’m just excited to keep writing and singing music in general and building following and making more connections with people, doing what I love. That’s really what it’s all about.

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