Nakkia Gold is here to represent her hometown of Compton, California, the best way she knows how. In an oversaturated music industry, more than ever it is important for musicians and artists to make music with substance… and Nakkia has done just that. Her most recent single “Justice (Get Up Stand Up)” speaks volumes to our current times, even sampling the legendary Bob Marley on his timeless smash 1973 “Get Up, Stand Up.”
Not only does the song encourage the masses to use their voice to fight for equality, but reminds them of the impact Bob Marley had on the people, giving his name and music a resurgence in 2021. The new collab taps the legendary Wiz Khalifa, displaying Nakkia’s talents and versatility as a recording artist.
Nakkia describes herself as an artist and a creator. She states, “I’m bold, energetic, lively. I’m a motivator.” Nakkia got her start as a professional dancer until a life-altering injury would set her sights on the studio, discovering her own voice and love for R&B and hip-hop. Fast forward to today, the rising star signs with Saban Music Group, backed by Haim Saban.
Flaunt caught up with Nakkia in downtown Los Angeles to discuss her roots in Los Angeles, getting her start dancing, biggest influences, partnership with Saban Music Group, how “Justice” came to be, Wiz hopping on the track, her dreams and wanting to give back, hobbies outside of music, and more!
Talk about being from South Central Los Angeles.
Growing up in South Central was rough. We didn’t have resources, it’s tough out there. You don’t see a lot of people make it. Not a lot of outlets, but some people are able to find that light and shine. It was rough. Being able and being around better areas and it being literally walking distance, it’s inspiring.
What was a young Nakkia Gold like growing up in Compton?
Nakkia as a young kid, I had a rough life. I was very into school, very smart. I couldn’t sit still, so if it wasn’t something that interests me… I dance. I literally did my work, then I’d go to the dance class for the remainder of the day with all my classes. The sitting down part wasn’t me, so I got into trouble. I got kicked out of the district. I ended up going to the district to test out maybe around 16. I tested out, I was done with school. Before then really, I was dancing. I said “oh I know how to dance. Let me try to venture off and do this.”
I started dancing professionally, which led me into doing more singing and acting. I was doing shows because it came with it. Dancing and dancing, doing more live shows got me more into the singing part. I was more in love with the music part rather than the whole performance. I love to be center stage as the lead. I had no type of lessons or training, I wanted to get out there and do it. Get the experience. I can do whatever it is. Consistently doing that over and over gave me that motivation to want to pursue the arts.
How did you get connected with Saban Music Group?
A couple of years ago, my partner Jinxz and I sat down and started writing. Literally went HAM for three straight years. We didn’t party, club or have friends. We sat next to each other in a room and locked ourselves in quarantine. We quarantined before there was a mandated quarantine. After that, our manager Chris introduced us to Haim Saban, founder of Saban Music Group (SMG), and Gus Lopez, CEO.
Haim and Gus gave us a few projects to work on and originally signed us to the label as writers. Haim asked us to do the Bob Marley song, “Justice Get Up, Stand Up.” We sent it in and he loved it. He called us on Zoom a week later and said, “I want the song out. We’re going to do the song.” We said “okay cool, great.” He said “no, I’m going to put it out with you as an artist.”
That very same day, I was asked to be an artist outside of writing. It was also the same day of my mom’s anniversary since her passing. While it was one of the best days of my life it was also very emotional.
That’s wild! Were you ready for that?
I’ve been ready! I wasn’t focused on the opportunity at that moment because I my goal was to build my catalog as a writer first. However, we stuck to what was in front of us and shot the music video to “Justice (Get Up, Stand Up).” The night of the video, we got a call from Gus. Gus calls in and says, “We’re going to change the deal. We want to sign you for a long-term deal.” They signed me immediately as an artist without seeing me perform or act. I got signed based on my voice and pure talent.
So how did they know?
The label took a wild throw and didn’t know what to expect. My manager Chris has been rooting for me for years. Getting signed and becoming an artist was a new and surprising experience. I’m humble and grateful for how far I’ve come.
Who are your biggest influences?
Beyonce has been a big influence in my life. I love Jazmine Sullivan, Missy Elliott, Janet Jackson, and Michael Jackson. Since I grew up on soul music, I love India.Arie, Musiq Soulchild, Kendrick Lamar to name a few. I enjoy all genres of music.
Have y’all tapped in, being from Compton?
I’ve been in a box for years. No one knows who or where I’ve been. I spent many years in the streets, doing stuff that wasn’t feeding my soul or benefiting me. I had to figure out a lane for myself. The people I was around didn’t have my best interest. I had to get up and take my life into my own hands and discover my own passion. I didn’t want to be stagnant and in the same place. In every situation I’ve been in I’ve always found a way to figure it out.
“Justice” is such a great record. Was there pressure? Because that Bob Marley record is huge.
[whistles] The goal was to interpolate my voice in the song and make it relevant to the issues happening in the world today. When we did the song, there were so many things going on including the brutal murder of George Floyd. During this time, Bob Marley spoke to me. His music spoke of peace, love, bringing people together, and unity.
Bob Marley’s legacy will forever live on. Although he was gone way before I was born, I love his music and wanted to be a part in keeping his legacy and message alive. I want to be this kind of artist through my music.
What’d it mean to be able to work with Wiz Khalifa? How did this collab come about?
Wiz is amazing! My manager connected with his team to set everything up. We sent the record to Wiz and he said “man, why the fuck is there not an open verse? What’s happening?” Immediately we opened up a verse, sent it over, and it was history from there.
I felt so empowered to bring two legends together, Bob Marley and Wiz Khalifa. Bob Marley and Wiz’s fans were both shocked and appalled. It was really big, especially in the cannabis industry. We brought many different people together through this song. From the Palestines to Australia, the song did exactly what we wanted it to do. It touched the world and got the message of peace out. It is empowering people to stand up and continue the fight for our rights no matter where we are in the world. The song is still growing and reaching millions of people every day.
How’d it feel to make such a political record?
It’s daring. This isn’t the usual lane of my music but it was important to say something at a time when people needed to be inspired.
What would you say your lane is?
R&B and hip-hop. Stay tuned for my next project. It will have a R&B and Soul kinda vibe.
What did it mean to get the support of Cedella Marley?
The second we got on the phone with Cedella, I was nervous. To be on the phone with Bob Marley’s daughter and to hear her feedback on some stuff that you did to her father’s track was nerve reckoning! Immediately she got on the phone and said “Nikki, I love what you did. You have my blessing.”
You’d think she’d have a million questions to ask me. “What is this? Why this?” It was a blessing. I’m overly thankful and grateful to be able to do something this big.
How do you not believe a song like that?
They thought I covered the song. Little did people know, we did it the right way. We got real footage of Bob Marley in the music video. We got his family’s full support. To see how much support we got, even from Wiz, is mindblowing.
What are your dreams?
I want to change the narrative. I want to put resources in the Black communities, especially where I grew up. I want to help my family and other families in my community. I want to give back to those in need and build programs to educate kids about taxes, financial wealth, and credit building. I want to teach kids all the things that’s not in academic books.
What can we expect next from you?
I have some big projects coming up. I don’t want to speak too much because I want to surprise my fans and make it special. Expect more music from me real soon.
What do you like to do for fun, when you’re not doing music?
I love being outdoors. I like hiking. I like animals. I’m a thrill seeker so anything from riding dirt bikes to paintball shooting is fun to me. I used to do escape rooms all the time, I was really good at them. I was the best. I would sit in the room by myself while everybody else was stuck in their room. You don’t panic under situations like that, you figure it out. The room is dark and you don’t know what’s going on but you somehow figure it out and the results feel amazing.
Anything else going to let us know?
The streets are about to be on fire, that’s it. Get ready to hear more music from me.