Slidin’ Thru: Nicolina

October 4, 2018

Read the full interview on YoungCalifornia.com!

Hailing from Florida but now residing in Los Angeles, Nicolina is ready to showcase her talents as a recording artist. From singing to songwriting to playing the piano, the 22-year-old uses music to channel all the emotions we go through in life — from the happy to the sad to the turn up, and everything in between. Read more…

This isn’t the Nicolina who used to be on The Four, but the new and improved Nicolina who aims to touch lives through her art. With the release of her new EP titled Caution, the 22-year-old demonstrates there really is no rush thing as genre barriers. Her records can be seen as a raw and uncut reflection of herself and the experiences she’s been through.

Beyond music, Nicolina comes equipped with a warm personality and an undeniable charm, evidenced by her beauty inside and out.

For those who don’t know, who is Nicolina?
I am a resident of California, I just moved from Florida. I’ve been singing my entire life. I’ve never really wanted to do anything else but sing. I started actually putting out music at 18 after I put out YouTube covers. I kind of just started writing and figuring out who I am as an artist, and just started growing from there.

Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B and pop?
I used to do hip-hop and kind of steered out of that genre, because I wanted to just be more genuine with myself. Now I’m more into the R&B and pop side of music, because I’m inspired a lot by Amy Winehouse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and all those types of music. But I also love hip hop. I love Kendrick Lamar and Logic.

You’re from Florida, how does that play into your life and career?
It’s definitely given me that platform that I have today because Orlando is very small. It’s not really the market for music.

I feel like a lot of rappers come out of there.
Yeah, they do. Kind of like South Florida. The area I’m from is definitely not the place that pushes music as much as here.

How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
It’s very important. There’s a lot of people and a lot of connections. I’ve already experienced some of that right now. It’s definitely humbling coming from Orlando and not really, really having as much or as many people around you.

What’s your favorite part about the city?
Probably the views. Malibu is my go-to place to write and just to get away.

Having been on The Four, at what point did you realize this music thing was forreal?
The Four was like a stepping stone for me. It was definitely something that helped me get to where I am today. And the fact that it wasn’t really who I was on the show, it was like a fabricated side of me.

That’s interesting. Why do say that?
Just because it’s TV. TV is TV. They try to put you into a box or category, and it just wasn’t genuine. After The Four, it kind of brought me to realize that I have to be authentic. TV is crazy. [laughs\

What was the best part of being on the show?
The best part was the platform and being able to show who I was on a bigger scale. I was able to show that side on national television, but it wasn’t the genuine side.

Last year, you released your self-titled EP. Why name it after yourself?
I think the inspiration was definitely my grandmother, my nana. That name actually came from her. That was her middle name, so honoring that. I wanted to keep it just Nicolina.

What is it you want fans to get from your story?
I want them to be inspired. I want them to be motivated. I want them to have more self-love. That’s kind of what Caution is bringing to the table.

I was listening to “Outta Town” and “Money” which sees you flexing like a rapper. What did you do with your first check?
I mean… [laughs] If you want to go into detail, I was able to take out college funds. Most of it, I was able to put back into music and invest in myself.

You also mention you sound good rapping. What are some goals for yourself as an artist?
Just to be flexible. Just to be in different genres and work with different artists, like rappers and singers. Every genre I can. I don’t really like to categorize myself as a R&B singer, a hip-hop singer, or a pop singer. I think it’s limiting and I think being open to that is beneficial to an artist.

What is your take on the music industry?
It’s a difficult industry. I did modeling for awhile and that industry compared to this is completely different. It’s all about connections and who you know in this industry. And about money. It’s all about money.

Talk about opening for Trina, who is a legend in her own right.
Oh yeah, I opened for her a couple months back. That was interesting. [laughs] It was dope. I definitely enjoyed it. The crowd was amazing. It was in my hometown in Orlando. It was fun. It was really, really fun.

Talk about your new EP, Caution, and the creative process behind it.
This EP has definitely changed. The style has changed. Everything has changed. I shifted. I was at a very low point after The Four. I took a week in LA and I just started writing. I was figuring out what I wanted to get to my fans. I wrote about issues in my life and the relationships that I was letting go. I was finally figuring out that it’s okay to let it go and talk about the shit that you usually don’t talk about. The new music was kind of self-medicating. It was therapeutic to me. I made the songs to lift myself back up, and hopefully it will do the same for my fans. It’s definitely an important project for me. It’s like a new start.

What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Well now in Cali, it’s completely different. It’s hard living out here. You have to keep up with rent and do all that shit. I’m creating as much as I can. I try to get in the studio — I have a studio at my house — at least every day. I try to get in there. I’m learning the guitar. I play piano. I’m just trying to write and create as much as possible.

3 things you need in the studio?
I need the piano, I need Hennessy, and I need sage and crystals. And candles!

What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Oh gosh, I’d be doing something creative. I’d probably be doing make-up. I want to get into acting too.

Favorite song to perform in a set?
See, I haven’t performed any of the new stuff yet. But if I were to perform the new stuff, it would probably be one of the slower songs like “Affection,” because I like that slow ambience.

What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
One of my fans messaged me on Snapchat. She and I have had conversations before. She was like, “Because of you and because of our conversations, I came out to my mom as being gay.” She literally poured her heart out to me and in my situation, I hadn’t even come out to my mom as being bi. Her just saying how much of an inspiration I was and pouring her shit out to me, that same night, I ended up coming out to my mom. She really inspired me just like how I inspired her. It was a beautiful moment.

Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Right now, it’s either The 1975 or Mac DeMarco.

Dream collab?
Probably Kendrick or Logic. Or Amy Winehouse if she was alive.

Is there anything else you want to let us know?
Follow me @itsnicolina. Get Caution out now. Merch is coming out soon. The “Congrats” music video is coming out. Shout out Anna. Shout out Swavy.

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