Interview – NIIVA

Toronto’s NIIVA has released her pop-infused, self-titled debut EP.

The singer-songwriter released the seven-track EP on October 30 through REVE MUSIC / Believe Digital. The EP’s latest single, Trigger, dropped in August — a sultry track with laid back beats and an effortlessly cool vibe.

NIIVA’s career has been on a steady incline since signing with VLVT Tree / Warner Chappell for a USA publishing deal. She’s lent her vocals to K-POP artist Taeyeon’s latest single “Happy” — reaching number one on the iTunes charts in 15 countries — and she’s shared the stage with fellow Canadian artists Shawn Hook and Ria Mae.

We caught up with the budding star to discuss her creative process throughout COVID, releasing her first EP, and the future of NIIVA.

How have you been adjusting to this new normal when it comes to making music? Has it altered your creative process in any capacity?

It was rough at the beginning, but I think now we all have found new different ways to be productive and creative. In my opinion, it has been even easier to collaborate with writers outside of my city because now everyone’s so used to Zoom sessions. I think people have found ways to be even more connected even though we can’t be creating while physically in the same room.

Your first single of the year — “Love Games” — has been gaining a lot of momentum on Spotify, over 200k streams and counting. How does it feel to see the response to the song?

It feels amazing honestly because of course, I make music as an outlet for myself but also very much as a way to connect with other people. That’s my favorite part of making music, and to see that it’s resonating with people is the biggest gift, to me.

You’ve got some great producers and co-writers on your debut EP. What was the experience like collaborating with these industry veterans?

It has just been the biggest growing experience. When you’re in the room with people who have written and recorded with Camila Cabello, Alessia Cara, Britney, Avril… all you can do is absorb as much of their knowledge and expertise as possible and let that flow through your performance as well. I feel so fortunate to know and work with such amazingly talented, creative people.

Sonically, did you have a sound already in your mind when you began creating the EP?

Not necessarily. Of course, naturally, I gravitate towards darker, richer pop/R&B sounds, so it was always going to go there. But we just wanted to write as many songs as we could and see which ones we ended up loving the most.

What kind of stories are you telling throughout these seven tracks?

If I could summarize some of them in one sentence, we’d have everything from “I don’t want you if you don’t want me”, and “I dare you to give me a reason to fight you right now”, to “we’re both crazy but I love you” and “it’s good to have myself back”. Love letters and threats I guess, haha.

Do you have a clear vision for your career? Are you a planner or are you more experimental when it comes to making music?

I have clear and vivid goals that I’m striving for, absolutely. But I’m also happy to say I’m a pretty flexible fluid person and can find joy in a lot of things. Our industry is so big and diverse that I’m always finding new things to grow into. That extends into my music too. I have an overarching genre that I like to write within, but I like to add and pull from different influences and genres that make the songs sound unique and interesting.

As an up-and-comer in the industry, what do you want to communicate to your current and future fans about who you are as an artist?

I think a dirty bass synth and an airy vocal make the best couple, I think there’s strength in vulnerability, and I think you can never buy enough purple hair dye.

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