Written by: Lauren Demir
Photos: David Franco
Collages: Annie Mcgill
Nipah the 23 year old artist from London dropped self titled EP ‘Nipah' earlier this month. Her impressive EP showcases her unique voice as she sings over a mixture of funky, mellow rnb beats. We met with the singer in Kennington where she grew up with her family. The youngest of 11 siblings, 8 brothers and 2 sisters, she explained how this influenced her, “I’m not very girly, I try to be at times. It’s definitely my brothers that did that to me.” Dressed in her friends brand ‘Profit Collection’ which resembles a sports shirt, she discusses how good the prospects for her team Manchester United are looking this season. She realised that she wanted to pursue music after interning at Roc Nation and witnessing the label create Rihanna’s Unapologetic album. "Seeing them[the label] work on someones album, I was just like damn. I want to do music." Despite her confidence, it has taken her a while to embrace her talents and come out of her shell, “Before I wouldn’t let anyone hear my music or sing in front of people either.” This changed when she told herself that if she was going to do music she would have to do it properly, “I was meditating a lot and trying to get more confident, even with socialising because I’m not very sociable person. I started going to the studio more, just being around musical environments.”
Nipah has been doing music for 4 years now. When she mentions her inspirations and who she looks up to, its not surprising as she names, soulful, strong female artists renowned for their songwriting. “Etta James. I’m a big Beyonce fan, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill. Soulful artists because I like a lot of jazz and old blues music. I think I’m more inspired by sounds then artists which is weird” Although her biggest influence is Amy Winehouse, with Back to Black being one of her all time favourite albums. “Amy is just my number one inspiration I love everything about her.” Her 8 track EP- which is a mix of neo soul and rnb showcases her songwriting skills as well as the range in her voice, as she hits the high notes on Get This Far. Exclusively produced by Spacey Blak, Nipah explains the beginnings of the EP, “I took 2 beats of him, wrote to it, and that was literally the start of the project. The 1st song I wrote and recorded was the 1st song on the EP (The One). It was long, but I don't like rushing things.” The EP took just under 2 years to complete.
As we discuss her other passions she talks film with the same amount of enthusiasm as music. She practiced filming before the music, directing her video for Down, and the quality matches that of her music. “I love film, I love watching films. Filming, along with music are my 1st joint loves together.” Similar to her musical inspirations, she names classic films as her favourites; Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction. It was thanks to her love of cinema that softened her mum to the idea of a music career. “By the time I wanted to do music my mum didn’t care because she had accepted that I wanted to do film. She’s like ‘I don’t know why all my kids want to do creative things’ but its how it goes.” She hasn’t slowed down on the filming because of the music either, as she looks to combine her 2 talents with the EP. “I plan on doing 6 visuals out of the 8 songs. Do visuals and direct them”She has already written the treatments for these videos.”
Her relaxed demeanour comes across almost instantly, it’s fitting when she brings out a spliff, “I’m just a chilled, laid-back person. You may think I don’t care about a lot of things. I do, I just have a laid back reaction.” Its inspiring how hard she is willing to work for what she wants. Just because the EP is finished that doesn’t mean she's taking a break. She’s currently in the middle of creating content for her website, “I want everything on my site to be original content. I’d do videos and everything to do with my music.” With her amount of drive and fearlessness to achieve her goals, she is destined to go places. Her fiery appetite for success almost seems a contrast to the first impression of a cute, petite black girl but don’t be fooled. “I’m gonna do a bit of everything. Music isn’t going to be my only hustle, trust me.” and its safe to say that we do.