Behind the Song
NinaLee is a 23 year old singer/songwriter born and raised in New York City. Nina’s voice has been compared to the likes of Amy Winehouse and Adele both of whom are large influences in her musical and personal life. Her music encompasses both RnB/Soul and Pop contemporary. Nina studied classical jazz and has been captivated by the voices of Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan and Aretha Franklin from when she was young. Nina’s abilities both live and recorded include hard rock covers, ballads, acoustic sets, contemporary and jazz standards, and modern pop. Nina is a prolific songwriter and story- teller. Her authenticity evokes a strong emotional connection by revealing her own struggles, strengths and successes that are moving and experienced by many.
For fans who have never heard your music, can you pick three words to describe it?! If three words just aren't enough then tell us more!!
I would have to say raw, moving and deep. Growing up an avid music lover, the songs that really spoke to me even at a young age were the one's that gave me the shivers in my spine. Even if I was too young to understand the meaning of the words, my body had a visceral reaction to the feel. I have really tried to translate that intention into creating and performing my own music. My music is definitely raw, what you hear is what you get. I won't sound different in a performance and a recording. It's imperfect, it's real, and it's strong. It's where I feel invincible. Unapologetic. Completely free to go to the depths of my soul and let my guard down. Music is probably the only place that I feel like that so I just hang on to feeling and I pour myself into every single word I write and sing.
What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else?) Tell us why.
All of it. I have always loved songwriting. It is a way for me to say exactly what I mean, and feel uninhibited like a child. Songwriting is a skill that I have always felt very calm with, just like I would feel with a close friend or a family member. I'm never scared to speak my mind and there are no bad ideas, there are just better ones. I never feel nervous when I am in that mind set. Performing is probably my favorite thing in the entire world. There is a high that is undesirable and better than anything I have ever felt in my life. It is the place where my worries melt away. The one place I don't have to think, I can just be. To be able to feel that is something I want to constantly recreate for the rest of my life. That is why I know without a doubt in my mind that I was born wired to be a performer.
Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you?
Honestly... it's awesome. It's so fun to have an idea and be able to execute that by working with insanely talented producers. Especially if you have a great rapport and shorthand with a producer it is like you are speaking a different language ,and you just can anticipate each other's thoughts. I get so excited when I hear something come together. When you are recording you can't have the AC on and I run really hot, so especially when I am singing and moving I feel so overheated in the recording booth. So I always bring my own ice packs with me to the studio and put them in the freezer before we write the song so once we cut vocals I can go them and stick them down my shirt and on my head as I'm singing!
Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing?
Music is truly the thing I enjoy most in life. I like to play on my ukuleles and write music with my dad who is an excellent writer. Nothing is comparable, but I do love spending time with my family and friends. I like to go to watch other people perform, I like to eat amazing food and I love to play with my two dogs! I also haven't brushed up on it in a while but throughout high school and college I took American Sign Language and was pretty fluent at it at one point and I really loved doing that. I would love to pick it back up.
Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why?
That's hard.... Someone I have admired always and still admire is Miley Cyrus. I grew up watching her on Hannah Montana when I was a kid and I very clearly remember telling myself that one day I would be a rockstar like her. So I'm working on that! I have admired her and followed her for so long and loved the evolutions she has gone through and the self-expression she has shown to the world. Not to mention she has a crazy killer voice that is so recognizable. There has honestly not been a single thing she has released that I haven't really loved. Her new album is amazing and in my opinion she just gets better and better. Some artists are so good but you really like the old stuff they did and not all the current music they release, but Miley's stuff isn't like that. All of her stuff feels real and authentic which I think is why I connect to it so much. She has always been someone I have looked up to and wanted to emulate.
Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it?
Last month I was in LA and I wrote this song "Screaming Inside my Head" that has not been released yet which I really love. It's weird and the tempo changes, but it works in this harmonious way. I had been out to dinner with some friends one who was producing with me and we were talking about life and the line "Screaming Inside my Head" came up and I was like that would be a really good song. So I went home and wrote this song and brought it to him and we fleshed it out. It is still in demo form but with a little TLC I think it could be an outstanding song. It's about the shit that people don't talk about, the insecurity and uncertainty that comes with being a human. It's super vulnerable maybe more so than anything I have released. It's super real which I love, very unfiltered, and sort of a stream of consciousness. One of my favorite lines is, "Hello Mr. Self Sabotage I think you and I should have a talk." I feel like it's really relatable.
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?
I have literally dozens and dozens of songs that are finished and so many in the works also. For the last while I have been writing and writing and writing and I have a lot of new material that I can't wait to put out. I am planning on releasing a lot more songs consistently in the upcoming months which I am really excited about! Follow me at ninaleemusic.com, NinaLee on all platforms and @ninaleeofficial on Instagram to get updates about upcoming releases!
Tell us where fans can access your music.