She’s collaborated with Skrillex and written for Beyonce, but that’s hardly the most enticing thing about her. Miami-born R’n’B songstress Nstasia is at her most addictive when she’s singing to her own tune, waxing poetic about love gained and lost on her wildly underrated and candid debut, New Religion.
Hers is an experimental vibe that feels familiar — Solange and SZA and a tease of something raw. As she rounds off a three-month residency at Q’s in Palazzo Versace Dubai, ending on September 8, Gulf News tabloid! caught up with the singer about what comes next.
Your debut album, New Religion, came out late last year. What were your inspirations going into it?
My inspirations came from my past. I’m a lover, so I tend to sing about love and feelings more than anything else. The only type of love I have known is the type I sing about on this album.
What’s your creative process usually like when you’re creating a song for yourself?
All I need is a dope loop that I vibe with. Whether it be a guitar loop or a really cool sound with melody. From that I go in the booth and freestyle whatever melodies and lyrics come from the top of my head and from my heart. A lot of times I get full songs in one take that way.
What made you decide to take on a residency [at Q’s Bar & Lounge] in Dubai?
I’ve always wanted to visit Dubai. I feel like I manifested this, so it was only right to take the opportunity. Also, it being a lounge curated by the legend Quincy Jones was an absolute honour. It’s been so cool to see people from all over the world vibe with my music. Goes to show we all go through the same type of feelings no matter the culture.
You’ve also written for other artists. How did you get into the business of songwriting?
It happened after moving to Atlanta for college to pursue my dreams of an artist career. When I got there, I was told over and over again that the only way to have my music heard as an artist was to write for other artists. ‘Once you get a No 1 from them, then you’ll have the credibility to put out your own album,’ I was told. So that’s what I aimed for.
Of course, you’ve written for Beyonce… How did that opportunity come to be?
I wrote a beautiful song with one of her writers and his brother. It was an alley-oop. That was the second time she recorded a record of mine. Those records have not been released, but the opportunity in itself is amazing to me.
Who has been your favourite artist to write for, and why?
I am my favourite artist to write for. I can say whatever I want to say. I can write from my heart.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about songwriters?
That they even exist, maybe?
Your father being a musician as well, what’s one of the biggest lessons you took from him?
‘Music is what we do,’ he says. In any time of nervousness or doubt, I know that this is my destiny, I was born into it, so it reminds me to continue on and be as true to myself as possible. It will all happen, and it will be authentic.
Who are your favourite artists out there right now?
Current artist? I would say it’s a mix between Drake, Solange, Childish Gambino, Post Malone and Bon Iver. I can’t pick just one. There’s actually a few more I could add. I never have just one favourite when it comes to music. That’s why my music sounds like a gumbo of genres sometimes.
Finally, what’s next for you?
Touring is next, along with a new album, new exciting collaborations and more growth.
Check it out!
Nstasia performs at Q’s Bar & Lounge in Dubai Tuesdays to Fridays from 9pm onwards, and on Saturdays from 8pm onwards.