Remember that popular summer hit, “Love is Wicked”, by the sister duo Brick and Lace? VP Records featured the jam on their Reggae Gold 2009 compilation album. Now in 2013, Nyanda, (one half of that duo) has gone solo and has been heating up the charts across the world. Her sexy dancehall remix of Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” has spent 6 Weeks on UK’s Urban Club Chart and is not showing any signs of slowing down! Not only does she cover songs, she writes her own as well. Her recent hits “Slippery When Wet” and “Boom and Rave” (featuring Mr. Vegas) are blazing the dancehalls. We got a chance to talk with Nyanda about her music, songwriting and much more.
How is your solo music different from your work with Brick and Lace?
Nyanda: Being solo means that I am able to express myself without compromise; the onus is on me and I have the last say. This means there is more pressure, but more creative freedom. I am singing as well as “DJ-ing”; in Brick and Lace, my primary role was to DJ. I want the Nyanda fans to see me as an artist and connect with me on a more personal level.
When can we expect your album to be released?
You recently recorded a dancehall cover of Taylor Swift’s “Trouble”. This trend of reggae and dancehall artists covering songs dates back to the early days of Jamaican music. Why do you think this trend has lasted so long?
People love dancehall /reggae music, but sometimes it doesn’t get the major push as pop artists do. So doing remix versions are beneficial to independent artists because of the familiarity of the song. Plus, when we stamp it with our Jamaican swag, it gives it that identity and ability to relate to us yardies and reggae lovers everywhere. Some songs work better than some; Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” already had a reggae flavor, but we wanted make it more hardcore and change the topline. I’m saying I’m causing the trouble; I think people gravitate towards that too.
Tell us more about the songwriting you did for Jennifer Lopez’s “Follow the Leader”. How did that come about?
I write with my sisters in a group called Bloodline. The producer sent us the track and told us Wisin Y Yandel (a huge duo in the Latin community) and Jennifer Lopez were looking for a collaboration song they could perform together on tour. We wanted to make the song high energy and fun; we even put in some Spanish words like “cabesa” and “gente”. Thank God for our Spanish class in high school (laughs)!
What’s your song writing process like? Where do you gather inspiration from?
Everything inspires me as a writer; an idea could come from a movie, magazine article or anywhere really. But I love real talk; juicy conversations make the best song material; it’s what people are talking about in the streets. I could start a song with a melody and I’ll add the words later or I could build on a theme and then I’ll add the melody later. There are no rules when it comes to music; sometimes I write down ideas on the plane when I’m travelling. You just have to go with the vibes.
Why do you think reggae has become so popular around the world?
Has become? It’s been popular from ever since, it’s just about the feeling you get when you listen to reggae music. It’s so unique and full of vibes. Artist all over the world use reggae in their music: Gwen Stefani, Maroon 5, Bruno Mars … just to name a few. Most of the great reggae hits will last a lifetime.
What does the genre mean to you?
It makes me proud to be Jamaican; I want to continue to represent for reggae/dancehall music and show the world how “we ting tun up”.
What’s your favorite “riddim” mix tape of all time (other than the Diwali Riddim)?
If you could collaborate with any current artist (regardless of genre), who would it be?
I love and appreciate my Brick & Lace and Nyanda fans. I’m calling my them the “NYA TRIBE”. Big ups to all the media who have been showing love and support. Check me out on Twitter @NyandaBnL and Facebook page “Official Nyanda”. Nyanda to the world!!!! Bless up and thanks again.
Check out Nyanda’s “Slippery When Wet” and “Boom and Rave” below!
*Special thanks to Nyanda and her team for for taking the time to speak with us. Much love and nuff respect!
*All photos courtesy of and provided by Nyanda