Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!
NJOMZA fans are finally in luck, as she readies the release of her highly-anticipated debut album. The Germany-born, Chicago-raised singer-songwriter has created her own lane, transcending the genres of pop, R&B, and hip-hop and winning souls over with her smooth, buttery vocals.
Her first step into the music industry was as the lead female vocalist in an alternative band called Scarlett, who played the infamous Warped Tour in 2010. One year later, the members dismantled in which NJOMZA transitioned her focus to her solo artistry. It was through her Youtube covers where Mac Miller would then discover her, later signing her to his imprint REMember Music (through Warner Records).
Having moved to Los Angeles 6 years ago, Njomza Vitia is currently signed to Motown/Capitol Records. Last Summer, she released her most recent single “No One Is Spared,” which she wrote after the passing of her beloved friend Mac Miller. While the grieving process never ends or gets easier, she knows Mac would want her to be singing at her fullest potential.
NJOMZA’s talents as a songwriter includes co-writing Ariana Grande’s songs “7 Rings” and “thank u, next.” You may even see her on Ariana Grande’s next album too! Flaunt caught up with NJOMZA over the phone during Los Angeles quarantine hours, to chat about her love for cooking and all the new music on the horizon.
How are you handling Coronavirus?
It’s been chill, at the crib. I’ve been staying home not doing much. It’s pretty scary, I’m trying to process it all still.
Have you picked up any hobbies or new shows? How are you keeping busy?
I’m Netflixed and movied out. [chuckles] I don’t know if I can watch any more movies. At this point, staring at my wall is a bit more.
How’s the natural look life?
It’s good. It’s a lot easier. I get out of the shower and just leave my hair. [chuckles]
You recently posted there’s a lot of pain behind this smile. Can you expand on this?
I thought it was a witty comment because the mask I was wearing had a smile on it. Not too deep, just a caption.
I had “No One Is Spared” on repeat last night.
I wrote that for Mac after he passed. That’s the first song I wrote that consisted of me letting out emotions I felt during that time. I did that song with producer Blair Taylor, he actually has a lot of production on my debut album that I’m working on now.
How have you evolved since that single?
I’m definitely in a better space now mentally. I’ve been perfecting my craft music-wise. Me and Blair work really closely together. We’ve been growing together, while writing this album. He and I were in a studio house for a month working on the majority of the project. It’s all evolving. Music is evolving with me, I’m growing up and the music is too.
What can we expect from your debut album?
It’s my baby. It’s probably the most raw piece of music that I’ve put out. It’s the most myself I’ve ever been with my music. I’m exploring different tones and letting myself be free on all of the records.
What is the name of your debut?
I don’t want to say just yet because I’m not 100% sure what I’m going to name it. I always change my mind at the last second so I don’t want to tell you something and it not be it.
What can we expect from “Bite”?
“Bite” is not on the album, but I definitely wanted to start putting out some music until the album’s done. I can start rolling that out. “Bite” is a fun flirty record, it’s a cute little bop.
How do you create a vibe in the studio?
I usually work with a producer, sometimes at their studio. It doesn’t really matter where. As long as we have a functioning microphone, speakers, and headphones, I can make something happen. I love to be in the room with the producer starting the song from scratch. I make my best work when I’m involved from the very beginning of the song.
How involved are you in the creative process?
I’m super involved. It really begins with a chord progression. The chord progression has to inspire me immediately. Pretty much every step of the way, I’m involved.
3 things you need in the studio?
I need really loud speakers, snacks, and wine. Wine is a staple piece.
What are your favorite snacks especially during Quarantine?
Omg! I don’t even want to get into it. I feel like I’m shoveling food down my throat. I’m trying not to gain quarantine 15. I’m trying to implement workouts into my daily routine, but it’s real hard. Especially because I love food, I love it so much. I love to cook too.
What are you whipping up in the kitchen?
Man, everything! Soup, pasta, stir frys, anything. Whatever I’m craving, I’m like “alright, let’s give it a shot.” Food is my second passion after music.
How has your fashion style changed?
As for my style it’s the same thing with my music. I’m maturing and my style literally matures with me. Everything I wear is definitely a reflection of where I am at currently. I definitely think it’s me at 25.
How’s your relationship with SinceThe80s management?
I love my management. We’ve been working together for hella along, they’ve been with me since I was 19 years old. We’re really tight-knit.
Who are your top artists in rotation?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Cigarettes After Sex lately, been really into that. Obviously The Weeknd just dropped his album. Love his new album, it’s amazing. Frank Ocean is always a staple artist.
I think he just dropped something right?
Yes, he did. I’ve definitely been playing all his new stuff.
What are some goals for yourself as an artist at this point in your career?
My main thing right now is getting this debut album to be as 100% me as possible. I really want to give the fans something that’s a piece of me so that they can get to know and understand me more as an artist. This will help do that.
When should we expect the album?
I’m hoping by fall. This Coronavirus has made it hard for me to meet up with producers and engineers, and shoot music videos. All of that’s been really difficult. I’m still trying to find ways to keep it going, keep working so that I could get it out by that time.
What’s the best encounter that you’ve had with a fan?
Lately because of Quarantine, I went on IG Live for the first time in forever. I’ve been really active with my friends through social media, their support on social media is really dope. The most exciting stuff is being in touch with my fans. Having a lot of more time on my hands to be on the internet, to be responsive and check in with them.
Who are some female artists/figures you looked up to when you were coming up?
It varies. I could answer this differently every time, but Rihanna’s amazing. She’s a queen. Her career is incredible, to watch her do everything she does and who she’s become now. Always been a fan of Hayley Williams from Paramore was a huge influence on me throughout middle school and high school. Amy Winehouse has always been a huge influence as well. She was always herself as much as she could be and it showed. It was really evident, that’s pretty badass.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists who want to do what you do?
You have to believe in yourself more than anybody else believes in you. People catch on once… if they see that you’re not letting up, people get drawn into that energy. I really think you have to believe in yourself.
What’s the biggest obstacle that you faced in the music industry?
Creating and being 100% sure with everything that I make. I’m very indecisive. I can make five songs everyday for three years and be like “eh, I’m not going to put these out. I want to start something new.” My biggest thing is trying to get the music out before I change my mind. [chuckles]
Is there anything else you want to let us know?
I’m working on a ton of new music. I’m really excited about dropping it, that’s the main thing. Hopefully when this is all over, a tour. It’s all up in the air until we know what’s going on with the world.