With a strong musical background and a penchant for breaking music rules, Nyallah is a dexterous composer. The multidisciplinary artist is from the West Coast but is now based in Brooklyn, NY. Growing up in a musical family, they were heavily influenced by reggae, jazz, and soul. Listening to their discography feels like a look inward into the innermost voice in your head. Nyallah’s profound lyricism and precipitous arrangements push you to reflect upon what you are feeling at the moment and affirms those feelings. Nyallah says “music for me is very healing and a lot of the times the things I’m writing about are the things I haven’t [even] addressed yet.”
“Owe U?” is an amazing look at the way they evoke complex feelings within their arrangements. The track was released in summer of 2021 with an accompanying video. The release was a huge milestone for Nyallah, as they were also making their producer and directorial debut. When asked about what inspired the track, they cite the movement for Black lives and specifically the uprisings that occurred in the summer of 2020. They wanted to shift focus towards the revolutionary potential and liberation of Black non-men. In contrast to her previous tracks, they address their feelings in a more direct fashion. It’s written like a conversation they might have with the homies. Nyallah says “I want folks to feel the rage that I felt [in the summer of 2020], but also see how it was transmuted into something liberating, energetic and joyous and playful.”
You can stream, “Owe U?,” on @_theaux’s Rage — FUCK THE POLICE Playlist or watch the official music video below. When asked to share some advice for up and coming Black artists, Nyallah shared that “the point of learning the rules is so you can break them shits! So learn all the rules and learn all the basic necessities — and learn that music theory! Learn it so good that you can still make magic.”
This article was written by student and music writer, Adrianna Maxwell.
More about Adrianna: The 20 something year old is from the Chicagoland area and grew up immersing herself in the Black music tradition. From house music at family gatherings to hearing gospel music during Sunday service, Adrianna shares a special and intimate relationship with music. Currently, she is finishing up her studies at Brown University studying International and Public Affairs and Africana Studies. You can find her on twitter or stanning Janet Jackson instead of writing her essays. She hopes to one day be able to support Black musicians as they navigate this ever changing musical landscape.