Nija has been composing from behind the curtain — now she’s taking the stage with “Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You”
by Ashlyn Robinette Photos by Brian Ziff
As hot girl summer approaches, get your headphones ready. Nothing will prepare you better to live your best life than “Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You,” the debut solo project by three-time Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Nija. The New Jersey-born artist’s 10-track EP focuses on finding confidence after a toxic relationship. “One thing I want listeners to take away is the feeling of confidence and being the person in control, not letting someone get you down,” Nija said. Everyone knows that the best way to spend hot girl summer is either single or with someone who makes it worth not being single. Nija’s new project will help you let that toxic man go and instead give energy to someone who deserves it— yourself. While there is vulnerability in her music, Nija takes a different approach to heartbreak. Rather than having an “I’m so sad” victim mentality, the 23-year-old said she takes a stance of strength in her songs with an “I’m sad but you f*cked up” attitude. “Again, it’s that confidence and never feeling like that person got one up on you,” she said. Nija is done playing games and letting anyone do her dirty. Moving forward, she is not crying over any man and is taking charge of her own happiness. With her EP, Nija encourages listeners to do the same. Through sultry melodies, songs like “Beautiful Lies,” “Wicked” and “Finesse” speak to warning signs you should look out for in relationships, including dishonesty, gaslighting, bitterness and ego. If you identify any of these warning signs... run! Nija wants her listeners to know when it’s time to leave a relationship and for them to focus on themselves. In all aspects of life, Nija advises people to do what her tattoo says: Trust your gut. “Make sure you trust your gut and trust your intuition because it will prevail,” she said. “It never fails you.” Similar to how female rappers are in control of their music, one thing that Nija wants to bring to R&B is self-assurance. Having been named as one of Billboard’s Artists to Watch in 2022, it seems as if Nija has found that confidence and shows no sign of letting it go.
For years, Nija has helped artists tell their stories. Now, she is telling her own. “One thing I like to do in my music is be real and say the things that people aren’t really talking about but relate to,” Nija said. Having previously written songs for artists like Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Cardi B and more, Nija needed to believe in herself before writing her own stories. After playing the “HEARD ABOUT US” demo for Beyonce, Nija was told by her that she had one of the most beautiful tones in the world— talk about a confidence boost! Beyonce gave Nija the courage to write songs for herself, something that Nija had been itching to do. The next year, Beyonce featured Nija on “MY POWER.” Following her verse on “MY POWER,” Nija made her artist debut last year with three singles from “Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You.” These were “Ease My Mind (Come Over),” “Finesse” and “On Call.” Nija credits much of her success to her ability to not doubt herself. “Since the beginning of time, especially once I started getting into the industry, I just always led each decision by my intuition and trusting my gut,” the Capitol Records recording artist said. “It has gotten me so far.” In having the power to freely express herself, Nija’s music has allowed her to trust herself. “A lot of times, humans won’t think something is good until someone else validates it,” she said. “You have to just listen to yourself ... That’s all that matters. Don’t worry about other people’s opinions.” Nija advises aspiring artists, especially women, to not let anyone take advantage of them. “What I realized getting into the industry was I felt like you have to prove yourself to everyone every time you walk into the room,” she said. Nija discovered that confidence is key. “Show up and show out,” she continued. “Stand your ground and don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise. Remember you’re strong.” Nija’s new R&B project, which was executive produced by Jack Rochon, is just a small taste of what she can do. Nija will continue saying “Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You” to the music industry and aims to one day establish herself as a music mogul.
From writing to singing
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