Meet the R&B star committed to ending Domestic Violence, one note at a time

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The smooth songstress has a one of a kind vibe

With melodic tunes that feel out of this world at times, it’s no surprise that up and coming R&B star Neila often refers to her self as an Extra Terrestrial. Her green hair and loud fashion sense have potential icon written all over it and unlike some artists who often value style over substance, her look is backed up with her talented sound. Displayed most recently in her video “Ready”, Neila’s work often depicts the fleeting idea of love through a young woman’s eyes, a theme that is consistent throughout her newly released EP “Level 1”. Oh, and if her signature aesthetic looks familiar, you might have seen her plastered somewhere throughout the world as a member of a recent NIKE campaign. We caught up to her shortly after she shot a second NIKE campaign to talk about her life, her influences, and her bright future.

1. Where are you from? Did your beginnings have anything to do with your style as a musician?

-Well I come from an island background. I am first generation American. My mother is from Barbados and my father is Jamaican. And I grew up in South Florida. So my culture is very much Caribbean. But I am influenced by my culture, classic rock like The Beatles, alternative R&B like James Fauntleroy and Frank Ocean and real instruments like artist such as  Jimi Hendrix used. I like to call my music Pop-Soul. 

Photo by @tsehayphotography

2. Your video for “Ready” brings a different kind of energy to the game. What statement, if any were you looking to make with this video?

-“Ready” is a song about love. Free, Fun, young love. For the video I wanted to show love, but from a different angle, in a different light. The dangers of love. The dangers of two people deeply in love. “Love” is beautiful and kind but also very confusing, and misunderstood. During the video you see two people who seem to be madly “in love”. They spend their day affectionate towards each other and that quickly changes, and makes a dramatic left turn. And that’s what “Love” can be, especially in this generation. 


3. Speak about your work with NIKE please. How does it feel to be featured on ads across the world?

-Working with NIKE has been so awesome. I always knew that through my career journey I would work with major clothing companies but I never dreamed of it being this earlier on.  I have shot with NIKE twice so far. The first campaign is released and is everywhere from Shanghai, to Los Angeles. It’s a surreal feeling. My friends who travel the world on tour and stuff send me pictures of myself in all these different countries. It’s magical. 


4. Can you speak on your fight against Domestic Violence and abuse? What strides have you made to bring about awareness? How have you tied it into your music?

-One cause very close to my heart is Young women/ Women of sexual assault and abuse. So many women and children have been faced with sexual assault and abuse. The subject is very hard to speak about in most family households, so victims tend not to seek help or deal with the trauma sexual abuse/ abuse can cause. One of my biggest goals is to start a Non-Profit organization and some sort of facility where young women and children can go to be safe and get counseling and help for free. I’ve already taken the steps with the help of my mother to make this goal a reality. 

Photo by @wire_atl

 5. Are there any recent or upcoming projects or collaborations you’re working on that you’d like to speak about? 

-The beginning of next year around mid January I’m dropping another EP. I named this one Sage. And a few months later, I’m dropping a collab project with the producer DunDeal. Shit it’s going to be crazy. I’m so excited. 


6. What’s the most rewarding thing about what you do? How about the most challenging?

-The most rewarding thing about what I do for me currently is creating. Being able to have an idea and mold It and see It come to life as a tangible thing. Something you can watch or listen to. I think it would also have to be seeing how people relate. As an artist I make music off of my emotions and how things around me make me feel. So it’s relieving when people feel the same way as you do. It makes me feel less alone. Some challenges are, simply being a woman and facing stereotypes and other things placed on us by men. But when they see how focused I am that always changes. My whole team are females. My manager, publicist, creative director are all women of color. My photographer is a dude but he’s so woke lol it’s amazing. There’s a lot of things within the music industry I  would change. But the respect for women is a big one that needs more attention to be brought to it. 

Photo by @Rayshawncaffee 

7. Where can we expect to see you in 5 years? What are your dreams/goals? 

-I almost hate this 5 year question because within 1 year I’ve accomplished more than I would have ever imagined. So, I could say in 5 years I want to be headlining my own International tour, nominated for and winning Grammys/awards, in a movie, creating music with my idols, launching my own beauty brand, my own clothing line, have my Non profit flourishing etc. but that could happen within the next year or so, it’s all through God and hard work. 

IG – @Neilaofficial


 

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