LU: You were making music well before Brick & Lace, right?
Nyla: I grew up singing in Jamaica, in church, and then I did JMTC, Jamaica Musical Theater, for years. That was a great experience, being exposed to the arts. It was not just singing but dancing and acting. After high school, we moved to Miami, and that’s where the journey for us began. We had a couple records out in Jamaica but our break was here in the States. We used to do background singing for Beres Hammond and Diana King who, at the time, was a big influence. Our first tour was a European tour with Marcia Griffiths, who is a good friend of the family.
LU: You seem to be able to work in a lot of different genres. How does being Jamaican influence your music?
Nyla: I could do pop songs and R&B songs but, at the end of the day, people see me as an island girl. Whatever energy I bring, I’m always Jamaican. When I speak, I have a Jamaican accent. I can’t run from who I am. And reggae is a big part of who I am. I’m a fan of reggae music, and what we bring to the world. I feel like I would be doing myself a disservice by not incorporating that in my music. That’s something special that we bring to the world, and everybody can’t pull off. So I embrace it.
LU: What can people expect from your new project?
Nyla: I’ve been in a free spirit kind of vibe. I’ve been going with the waves and working with young producer and writers who are giving me energies and excited about working with me. I want to work with young musicians and writers, and I have been. I’m working with these new guys in Jamaica called Jus Eazy Productions, also C and C Productions in Miami. It’s been a little scary for me because I’ve always worked with my other sisters. But it’s freeing to just say what I want to say, and express my voice however I want. I have an uptempo, very electronic influenced record, called “Selector.” There is another one I did in Jamaica, taking it back to that late 90s, Tanto Metro and Devonte sound, with an old school sweet melody on a dancehall riddim.
LU: Why the name change?
Nyla: People could never figure out how to spell my name, I would tell them just write “NYLA.” They could never catch on. I thought it would be a cool solo name.