Nia CC Says Much on Music, Including Upcoming Works!

Alternative pop singer/songwriter NIA CC has dabbled in R&B and just pretty much creates her own material. Speaking of which she did release and EP and does have newer music in the works as well. Just see what more she has to say from our chat below.

1. Please tell us about your musical history.

I began taking piano lessons at the age of 4, and wrote my first song, about Disney World, when I was 8 years old realizing early on that songwriting was something I wanted to do. I grew up listening to artists like Corinne Bailey and Taylor Swift, and I loved how they were always able to play live with their guitar on hand, something that was harder to do with an immobile piano. So at age 12, I decided to teach myself how to play both the guitar and the ukulele so I could carry them with me to open mics and to school. Throughout school I was very active in the performing arts from show choir, and to dance classes ranging from ballet to jazz and hip hop. 

As a student at the University of Virginia, where I just graduated from last month, I was the Music Director for the all female award winning A Capella group, the Virginia Sil’hooettes, and a writer and performer for the student run show The Black Monologues. With a degree in music and African American studies, I recently released my self-written and self-produced undergraduate thesis album titled “On Trial” that explores the history and dynamics of Blackness at UVA through a collection of songs. That said, songwriting is like a diary for me. It’s the outlet where I’m able to be my full authentic self and tell my story, whether it be about Disney World or heartbreak. And as someone who tends to live in this world with a lot of passion and feelings, I have a lot of stories to tell. Currently, I  have a catalogue of 500+ songs to my name and I can’t wait to continue writing more. 

2. Is there a story behind your name?

It’s funny because my real, legal, full name is actually “Nia C. C. Williams” so Nia C. C. is my artist name, but it’s also just literally my name, which was something that a lot of school teachers thought I was lying about growing up. But my parents really wanted to name my middle name after my grandmothers whose names both start with C, Claudie and Constance, but they didn’t want there to be arguments over whose name was first. So to make things fair, they just put two C’s there in honor of them, and of course we always change the order of whose name comes first depending on which house we’re at. So that’s what the C. C. stands for. Or, as I told a lot of my classmates when I was younger, “The C. C. Stands for my favorite food, cotton candy.” Which of course was only believed for so long, but that’s something I still like to joke about to this day. 

3. Where are you based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local artists you could recommend?

Well I’ve just finished school at the University of Virginia last month, so I’ve been based out of Charlottesville, Virginia for the past four years. The scene here is getting more and more robust every day from the indie scene to the rap scene. That said, because I’ve been a part of the college music scene for most of my time in Charlottesville, artists are always coming and going, which can be exciting but also a bit daunting. While in Charlottesville one of the main projects I’ve been focused on was my undergraduate thesis album I wrote for school titled “On Trial” which is an album that follows the figurative trial of “Blackness vs. The University of Virginia and analyzes the impacts of white supremacy at the University of Virginia on the Black community. Working on that project allowed me to get closer with a lot of artists, especially black artists in the Charlottesville area and at UVA. Some of those artists include K.I.A.S. and Wayne, both of whom are amazing. That said, I’m excited to move to Los Angeles this August and keep meeting and working with other artists, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. 

4. How would you describe your style?

I like to describe my music as a diary that fell into my guitar and started telling stories. I consider myself an American alt pop singer songwriter, although I also like to dabble a bit in R&B. As a Black Woman, this was always a bit scary and even a bit of a sore spot for me, because I’m an artist who constantly sings with my guitar, and there weren’t many Black mainstream pop artists doing that as I grew up. I always felt like people were pressuring me to switch genres or didn’t take me as seriously when I first started out playing the guitar and writing country songs. Since then, I’ve gained more confidence in the music I write and the genres I typically sing in, and I’m happy to see that Black woman singing with guitars is a space that’s only growing, and I’m excited to be a part of it. Nonetheless, I like to say that my music is always authentic, and it’s like a cloud, sometimes dreary, sometimes rainy and sometimes cheerful, but always moving.

5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?

Last summer I released my first EP “All Things Nia C. C.'' where every song was both written and recorded by me, and 3 of the 5 songs produced by me. That was a huge milestone for me as I like to say that I’m a song-writer who sings and a student of producing. I also released a few self-written and self-produced singles including “Home,” A song I wrote in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, meant to address any inequality and police brutality in America. Each of these releases was terrifying for me. Releasing music is always so scary, especially when it’s just you. There’s no one to share that feeling of accomplishment or insecurity with, and I was always so insecure about releasing my music. “Maybe I should’ve changed that lyric” or “ that bass definitely could have sounded better” and that insecurity was only amplified as I began to release things I produced. Music that I truly poured my heart and soul into. But I decided that letting the world hear a part of me, even if that part didn’t always feel perfect, was better than not letting them hear anything at all. That said, something listeners can always expect from my work is authenticity and a story, no matter how juvenile it may be. And of course, probably a guitar in there somewhere. 

6. Do you have any new music in the works?

I do! I have a ton of new music in the works that I can’t wait to share! I tend to have a lot of feelings, and as I said before writing is like a diary for me, so I’m always creating something new that I’m excited for people to hear. One of the releases I’m really looking forward to is “Animal” which is a song I wrote during the pandemic that I love performing. so I can’t wait for people to hear it.

7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

As of now I don’t have anything planned out, but that’s something I’m definitely working on, especially as we start to return to normalcy and with my move to Los Angeles. That said, I love performing live with my guitar and interacting with the audience. That’s really what gives me energy.  For example, I performed this Instagram Live show titled “Nia CC: Unplugged” and every week I ask the viewers to give me words to write a song with, and I bring back the song everything with all the words the next week, and I love doing it! It’s always challenging me to be a better writer, especially when I get those inevitably really hard words like “ubiquitous” which I was able to include a song titled “Liquid Courage” that I hope to record soon, end it also gives the listeners a chance to be a part of the story and the process. So while I continue to perform open mics, and work up to eventually touring one day, you can catch me performing my Instagram Live show “Nia CC: Unplugged” every Sunday at 7:30 EST, or catch the recorded version on YouTube. And feel free to leave some words to write with in the comments! 

8. What plans do you have for the future?

That’s always such a scary question because it feels like the future is always changing. Right now, my plan is to continue chasing song-writing and singing as full heartedly as I can, keep releasing new music, and start performing more sets to build a fan base. I also see a lot more recordings in my future which makes me really excited, and pushes me out of my comfort zone of just singing songs with my guitar live. Nonetheless, no matter what the future holds, singing and songwriting will always be a part of my life. 

9. Where can we listen to your music and where can we buy your stuff?

You can find my music on all streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music. You can also find my music on YouTube, where I’ve uploaded a lot of live videos of me singing songs in addition to my recorded music. One of the things I’ve liked to do recently is write “Response songs” which is where I respond to a song that’s already been written from another point of view, and that’s also something I’ve loved doing and posting on all my social media pages along with YouTube.

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

My authenticity in the stories I tell. One of the reasons I’ve always loved songwriting is because of the way it’s allowed me to express myself in a way that everyone can enjoy, while also telling my truth along with the stories that are important to me. Music and the arts in general or some thing that I believe brings the world together and teaches us how to empathize and care for one another, and as a Black woman living in America, that’s always been something that was important to me. So whether the song I’ve released is about oppression and equality, or heartbreak, or in this case, the Percy Jackson series with my new single Monsters, I want the listener to walk away with a new story, and know that story was authentic and truly represents me.

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