Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Today, our focus feature of the day is Naïka Richards, also known as Naïka. Though the singer/songwriter was born in Miami, Florida, the sounds from her music encompass and intertwine many different worlds together to create a unique sound all of her own. Her music is best described as a cocktail of pop blended with world music, a sound she refers to as “World Pop”. She developed a love for music at an early age while growing up in various countries every corner of the world. Her family members also hails from Caribbean, African, and European backgrounds. These multi-cultural facets of her life continue to influence her music and define who she is today as an individual.
I have the pleasure of interviewing this dynamic star once again, this time for Detour and for Channel Sounds. Naïka and I first met back in the summer of 2017, when I heard her song “Ride”. She was just getting started, and it’s been amazing to see this lovely friend grow and reach the most incredible milestones in her life. Her music is rich, bold, and flavorful much like the pride she shows in her heritage and loved ones. There is no way that you could listen to her and not fall in love with the groovy rhythms the tropical tunes of the instrumentation and production or the soulful melodies of her voice. She is a stunning individual inside and out, with a voice that is strong, confident, seductive, and hypnotic. In addition, she is versatile being able to speak in different languages, thoughtful to be able to capture the essence of a particular sound, and a prowess in vocal range.
Naïka has been hard at work on what is her debut EPs, which are part of a 2-part project she is working on and releasing. She recently shared Part 1 titled ‘Lost in Paradise’, which is a 5-track getaway adventure. You can’t help it when you hear the music: you will dance, let your hair down, sway, smile, and daydream of a paradise far far away from here.
HERE IS THE INTERVIEW:
Channel Sounds [CS]: What was the inspiration behind this EP?
Naïka [N]: “This EP is the product of a time of confusion, vulnerability, and enormous growth in my life.
For a while I was trying to find out what my debut EP should be about, and it turns out that the theme just unveiled itself right before my eyes without me realizing it until later.
During my time in college, I had completely and utterly lost track of who I was, for many reasons. One of them being that I was in the best music school in the country and surrounded by extremely talented people which made me lose faith in myself and my abilities. I was extremely insecure, and trying to fit in a box that I couldn’t find. I was also going through a major identity crisis as I didn’t know who I was and where I belonged from moving so much growing up. Moving to the US after living around the globe was the biggest cultural shock of them all for me. It was especially hard because on paper I was « from there », but it was where I felt the least at home.
This EP touches on the journey of personal growth and self discovery. Part 1 hones in on these feelings of being ‘Lost’, insecure and vulnerable. The listener follows the journey into Part 2, reaching ‘Paradise’, a personal oasis and a place of confidence, self love, and trust.
I’ve come to understand that everyone goes through this time, and it’s a matter of putting in the work to reach your paradise. If we don’t do the difficult work inward, I don’t think we can ever be truly happy. I’ve seen people at the end of their lives who are still stuck at Part 1 and never reach their personal paradise. Loving yourself takes effort, practice, and patience. It’s not something we inherently have in us, especially in today’s time when everything around us is screaming that we are not good enough. But it is so worth the effort. Because when you reach a point where you are happy with yourself and you love yourself, it kind of feels like a shield, which makes it a lot harder for the rest of the world to tear you down.”
[CS]: How do you feel about finally releasing your debut project and what's to come for you down the line this year?
[N]: “I can’t tell you how amazing it feels. I signed to a major label way too early, and was in a contract for two years that did not serve me. At the time I was still in college, and was just starting to put together the building blocks of my artistry. I wasn’t releasing much music at the time, but I was writing a lot. After I finished and got out of my deal in November of last year, I knew this was the beginning of a new chapter for me. I started fresh, and put together a new team with a handful of amazing people that I love. I had the EP pretty much ready by then and from there we’ve just been in the hustle to put out the music independently. It has its challenges but I love every second of it! I’ve been learning and growing so much, and the fact that my career is in my own hands now makes it all the more empowering and exciting.
This year I’ll be releasing the second half of the EP which I am so excited about. The songs are more fun and upbeat than the first part. I’m really excited for the world to have the project as a whole by the end of the year.”
[CS]: Off the EP, what's your favorite song or what's one that you resonate with the most? [N]: “I have a couple that are my favorite. I love all of the songs but if I had to pick only one it would probably be « For Gerard » off of EP 2. I don’t wanna give anything away yet, but I have a special connection with that one.” [CS]: What's your reasoning for creating and using music as your channel of expression? I know you're multi-talented and creative, so what drew you to music in particular? [N]: “There isn’t much reasoning behind it honestly, it’s more so something that is literally a part of me that I really believe I was born with. When I look back, music was quite literally the first love of my life. The intense obsession I’ve had with it since before I could even speak confirms that it is inherent in me. It’s always been my best friend that has been with me through everything.” ———————————- Thanks, Naïka, for sharing your amazing perspectives and stories. We’re excited for Part 2. Be sure to stay tuned for the second EP’s release everyone! FOLLOW CHANNEL SOUNDS ON INSTAGRAM & ONLINE FOLLOW NAÏKA ON INSTAGRAM & SPOTIFY