7 Questions | Nia Wyn
An incredibly intriguing artist, Nia Wyn today reveals her brand new track 'Stay In Your Lane'. We chatted to her ahead of the release to speak all things women, politics and femme power!
When I first heard this single it got me very excited, it’s great to see someone representing how the music industry holds and views women. Was this something that you expected yourself to be writing about?
Thanks! Appreciate that. Yeah I think so, because it's a regular thing I complain about to everyone I know. But in seriousness it's always been relevant to me, even as soon as I started playing guitar as a kid. When I was nine and I wanted to learn guitar someone in my class at school said I wouldn't suit playing guitar because it was a boy's instrument. It leaks into every part of being a woman musician. There's the small things that happen on the regular - once there was a sound engineer who was struggling to mic up an instrument and then has the cheek to ask if I've ever done a soundcheck before, and a venue rep who will go to shake my male band members' hands before even acknowledging me as the performing artist. You grow a thicker skin for sure, and although it does make me want to rock back and forth in a corner sometimes, writing about it lets out the anger and frustration and can turn it into a 'fuck you' empowering feeling for me.
Working on behind the scenes, I’ve been subjected myself to being intimidated by older men in my field and it honestly makes you feel like a pile of shit. What was it that sparked this track? Was there a particular incident or was it just the topic as a whole that interested you?
It actually started off being a general picture of negative experiences in the industry with some guys, as well as just navigating the world with certain identities. The fragility witnessed and backlash you get as a woman artist calling someone out on their shit or even just asking for something reasonable always astounds me. It was also drawing from seeing how alt-right and incel men behave online, emboldened by Trump, Farage, Johnson, and this growing 'community' of people who use the anonymous nature of the internet to degrade and threaten women, people of colour, queer+trans communities. That's the landscape we live in right now where the internet is used to push these ideas that were already there but now can be spouted anonymously.
Then a particularly incident happened with someone who was pretty intimidating, gas lighting and just plain nasty toward me, right after I came off stage. It made me feel shaken and complete shit at first, then I got angry. And anger can be really productive for me. At the right levels obviously!! Took me time to process the situation but in many ways I feel glad it happened because I was able to write this tune.
What is your songwriting process when it comes to these kind of topics?
This one actually took a few months, I was almost collecting snapshots of a bigger picture of how I felt about it all. I think I also needed some space from that above incident I mentioned to process it all because I was feeling pretty weak and kicked down. Took me some time to get my resolve back but it left me wiser and resilient. That knowledge and self-assurance really helped me finish the song.
Sometimes I write lyrics and music at the same time and it can be a rush of creativity, other times I might sit on some lyrics or chord progression or a beat for a while and different ideas gradually get piled together.
I had a good idea about how I wanted Stay in Your Lane to sound as I demo'd it at home, then I brought it to Turkish Dcypha and George Hasbury and they produced it and worked their magic.
One thing you’re very good at is your ability to tell a story through lyrics. Do you find that writing sometimes is a lot easier than speaking what you mean?
Thanks for that! Yes - I find it hard to identify emotions and express them sometimes in the way I want, so to sing them and put it down lyrically and musically gives me a more comfortable platform to do that. I'm pretty open about experiences I've had in life with things like mental health issues and addiction so telling stories about those things is not only therapeutic but I hope challenges some stigma around those issues. I'm excited for the next couple of songs to come out, because I had one week where I was just on one, I wrote about 4 tracks and some of these will be in my debut EP. Lyrically they continue that story-telling element in my music.
What is your favourite thing to write about?
I honestly couldn't pick to be honest, I tend to write about a bit of everything - being a musician, mental health, relationships, political things are a few so far. I'm actually quite hyped to release some songs that have sauciness as I haven't really done that before and I think soul really is the best genre to portray stuff like sexuality, lust, feels!!
You supported Paloma Faith and Paul Weller earlier this year, as well as being included in the line up for The Great Escape’s First 50. How does it feel to be recognised by such influential people?
It's been awesome to say the least. Weller is an absolute dude, very down to earth and to have him produce and collaborate with me on my single Turnstiles was an unbelievable experience, as well as opening for him too. One to tell the great grandkids for real. Supporting Paloma Faith last summer was incredible too - biggest audience I've played to so far and it was near my hometown so was special in a different kind of way. Being one of the First Fifty 2018 was sick as well because I was in some brilliant company of emerging artists and Great Escape is always a vibe.
What’s next for you?
I've got so much music to share so I'm beyond excited for that. Currently I'm working on my debut EP, so I think I'll be releasing one more single and then it is a-coming!! I've also got a headline show at The Waiting Room in London on 19th November so currently rehearsing and getting ready for that one. Probably some more shows too because I love playing live, especially with my band.