MBW’s World’s Biggest Songwriters sequence celebrates the pop composers behind the globe’s greatest hits. This time, we speak to Grammy-winning Nija Charles, whose work consists of hits created with/for the likes of Beyoncé, Ariana Grande, and Girl Gaga. World’s Biggest Songwriters is supported by AMRA – the worldwide digital music assortment society which strives to maximise worth for songwriters and publishers within the digital age.
At simply 23 years-old, songwriter and producer Nija Charles has a bunch of spectacular achievements, which embrace working with Beyoncé and Jay Z, Girl Gaga, Cardi B, Ariana Grande and Drake.
Her work has led to 3 Grammy wins, a number of press profiles and a recently-signed cope with Capitol as a solo artist.
She’s even received a road named after her. The one she grew up on in Union, New Jersey, is now known as Nija Charles — one thing a good friend and her supervisor, Christian McCurdy, made occur to rejoice the success the songwriter’s achieved throughout the pandemic.
That success has included a Grammy win for Charles’ co-write on Girl Gaga and Grande’s US No.1 hit Rain On Me (Greatest Pop Duo/Group Efficiency) and a credit score on Grande’s chart-topping single, Positions.
During the last yr, Charles has additionally labored on releases from Wizkid, Ty Dolla $ign, Maroon 5, H.E.R. and Megan Thee Stallion.
So what’s behind her prolific work price at such an early age? “God and instinct,” Charles solutions.
“My complete life I really feel like I’ve been guided by one thing that tells me which path to go in and it all the time finally ends up being the fitting resolution. However that’s positively adopted up with arduous work and dedication, making sacrifices and figuring out what I would like.”
“My complete life I really feel like I’ve been guided by one thing that tells me which path to go in and it all the time finally ends up being the fitting resolution.”
Charles turned considering music manufacturing in her teenagers by way of her aunt and uncle, who have been pastime producers.
She later enrolled on the Clive Davis Institute at NYU and, whereas there, began getting consideration for the beats she was making and sharing on SoundCloud, later including her personal melodies and lyrics.
McCurdy discovered her after Charles recorded a demo of a beat by a producer he was working with, she signed a cope with UMPG, and the music she co-wrote that modified the whole lot was “Ring” from Cardi B’s debut album, which was launched in 2018.
Charles has spoken about experiencing stereotyping that resulted in her being siloed to R&B music however she broke into the pop world with “Rain On Me” thanks partially to her good friend, BloodPop, who introduced her into the session.“That was the primary music that allowed folks to see that I can do different genres,” she says.
Present initiatives embrace govt producing Kiana Ledé’s second album, and Charles has began her personal manufacturing firm which is working with producer Sergio Romero. Her solo music beneath the brand new Capitol deal is anticipated to drop within the coming months.
Right here, we chat to her about her method to songwriting, confidence, failure and her greatest classes realized so far.
How do you method songwriting and the place do you discover inspiration?
I’ve to enter it with a clean canvas and a headspace that’s mentally free with good vibes. I draw inspiration from in all places — motion pictures and TV reveals that I watch, conversations I’ve had, after I’ve been by way of stuff that the artist is saying that they’ve been by way of, simply each avenue that my eyes, ears and thoughts can view. I’ll hearken to chords, melodies or tracks and I’ll choose one thing that strikes me — that’s the one manner that I can get what I would like out as a result of I can’t drive something.
“I’m a melody-first particular person so I’ll make sure that I get that proper, after which I method writing [lyrics] like a dialog.”
Once I hear a sound that basically conjures up one thing, it’s like a melody or a phrase involves me out of nowhere and I am going within the sales space and freestyle it out. I don’t write my rhymes or traces down, I simply blurt it out and attempt to make sense of what I’m saying and the melodies. I’m positively a melody-first kind of particular person so I’ll make sure that I get that proper, after which I method writing [lyrics] like a dialog as a result of that’s what it’s.
Do you ever expertise inventive blocks the place you’re feeling such as you simply can’t write, and in that case, how do you cope with that?
Yeah, for certain. These days I positively expertise author’s block extra. How I used to cope with it was going to the flicks and being a daily particular person however all that has shut down.
Now what I do is I don’t drive it, I don’t really feel dangerous about it, I simply be sure that I am going dwelling, I eat, name up some pals, simply hang around and overlook about music in order that I can regroup and are available again the subsequent day with a free thoughts once more. Day-after-day will not be going to be a fantastic day, you possibly can’t win all of them.
What have you ever realized in regards to the components that go right into a profitable songwriting session?
Primary is nice vibes. It’s by no means enjoyable once you go right into a writing session with a chip in your shoulder or carrying weight from different conditions that will have affected your temper as a result of it’ll have an effect on the music. Among the different components are nice melodies and catchy hooks.
You’ve been in some classes with actually excessive profile artists, and I’ve additionally heard you discuss how quite a lot of the classes you go into are typically fairly male-dominated. What offers you confidence in these conditions that would doubtlessly be intimidating?
The arrogance that I’ve is one thing that I used to be taught very younger. My mother grew up within the company world — she was an engineer and a black feminine in a male-dominated trade.
She all the time taught me that so long as you will have the data, you’re the one going into these rooms, nobody ought to let you know what you’re doing mistaken. If you’re assured in your self, that’s all that issues, don’t take no for a solution. So I’ve all the time carried myself like that.
Music is one thing that I’m obsessed with and I do know what’s true to me so after I go into these rooms, that’s positively the mindset that I’ve. I don’t really feel intimidated as a result of I used to be taught that from an early age.
You’ve had quite a lot of success however what usually goes hand in hand with that’s failure as a result of you need to fail in an effort to be taught and enhance after which have success. Do you will have any memorable failures and classes that you simply’ve realized consequently?
Yeah, there was one music that I used to be requested to work on and I wasn’t mentally proper. I used to be drained that day and didn’t take the music critically. It was simply not day and I ended up leaving [the session] and probably not being productive.
I realized that you need to carry your A-game each time
The music ended up going to primary and that was a intestine punch for me. I realized that you need to carry your A-game each time and you need to take the whole lot critically — you’re right here for a motive. In case you don’t take it critically, issues will slip and also you’ll see it. It was one of many first occasions I let one thing slip by way of my fingers.
Are you able to inform us what the music was?
You’ve not too long ago signed to Capitol as an artist. Why is it vital to you to department out in your personal proper and what are your ambitions in that capability?
I really feel prefer it’s crucial for me to come back out as an artist as a result of I’m a songwriter however that’s not all that I’m. Over the previous few years, with the next that I’ve gained and seeing folks organically gravitate in the direction of me, I realised that my goal was larger. I need to be seen as a mogul, not only a songwriter.
So I’m tapping into my artistry and having folks hear the songs which can be my story and get extra in tune to me and the information that I would like folks to listen to. Once I’m writing for different folks, I’m writing songs that I need to hear from them on the radio, what I feel they need to sing, and there’s an entire different lane and sound that I really feel like folks want to listen to for the tradition of music and tradition usually.
“My ambitions are as huge as they’ll get. I need to have charting singles on the Billboard 100, I need to get a primary with my very own artistry.”
My ambitions are as huge as they’ll get. I need to have charting singles on the Billboard 100, I need to get a primary with my very own artistry. I need to faucet into the whole lot, heal folks, similar to I do with my songwriting. I would like folks to gravitate in the direction of the music, I would like awards, I would like the whole lot. It’s a brand new problem for me and I really feel like I do effectively in relation to challenges as a result of that’s what excites me.
Songs are sometimes written by committee nowadays — what are the professionals and cons of that out of your perspective?
The professionals to having quite a lot of songwriters on a music is that each songwriter has their very own taste that they carry to the desk. You may play one observe to 5 completely different folks and also you’ll have 5 completely different songs. The fantastic thing about having a collaborative effort is that there’s a mixture up of all these folks’s types. In case you took one or two of these songwriters out, the music wouldn’t be the identical.
“egos get in the way in which generally.”
The cons of that’s that egos get in the way in which generally. And generally folks aren’t all the time group gamers when it comes right down to the splits — if folks aren’t breaking it down equally it could create points round what everybody thinks they deserve on the music. These points are inclined to occur so much when there are quite a lot of writers in the event that they’re not splitting it simply.
What recommendation would you give to somebody beginning their profession as a songwriter at the moment?
Networking is vital. And all the time imagine in your self, that’s an important factor, as a result of so many individuals gained’t see your imaginative and prescient or will simply let you know ‘no’. You’re going to get a thousand nos earlier than you get a sure so be sure you don’t let that discourage you. Any person will like your music — I’m a agency believer that music will all the time be heard, it’s nearly timing.
Are there any key items of recommendation that anybody else has given you alongside the way in which which have actually stayed with you?
One piece of recommendation was extra of a quote that I learn and it was: a idiot learns from his personal errors, a smart man learns from the errors of others. That’s positively stayed with me all through my profession. There have been a bunch of individuals earlier than me and patterns that I can be taught from.
If somebody did one thing mistaken, simply just be sure you don’t try this or see the place folks had their faults and be taught from that in order that you don’t make those self same errors. Studying about historical past, observing different folks and taking recommendation from different folks is certainly one of many predominant issues I’ve realized that has helped me alongside the way in which.
what would you modify in regards to the music trade and why?
I’d change the dearth of respect for songwriters. It’s a 50/50 partnership between producers and writers and, with out us, music wouldn’t be the place it’s at.
Everybody must be pretty compensated and that manner everybody shall be happier and we wouldn’t have all these points.
What would honest compensation appear like to you?
Factors on the grasp, getting paid advances, or simply songwriting charges per diem. So coming into work and having the ability to not pay for our personal meals. Simply caring for the writers, usually, that will be honest compensation to me.
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