Born and raised in Mumbai, singer-songwriter Nikitaa who has spent her recent years in LA mastering her art, is poised to be a breakthrough star on the independent music scene, creating a witty blend of sassy melodies, partnered with powerful lyrics that give added depth to each of her compositions. Nikitaa combines ethereal Pop/RnB with a subtle nod to the South-Asian soundscape to bring a new genre she calls Goddess Pop.
Her first 2 independent singles “Honest” and “Exodus”, written, sung and composed by her had garnered a total of just about half a million Spotify streams along with being spotted on ‘Spotify Editorial Fresh Finds’. Her first Punjabi single in India – “Vichoda Yaar Da” – was critically acclaimed and garnered just over a million YouTube plays, and was followed by a successful mashup cover of the legendary songs Aa Jaane Jaan and Piya Tu – a release sponsored by HMV.
Here is Nikitaa in a conversation with GOGO Magazine.
1) When did your journey as a musician begin?
My journey as a professional musician began in 2016. I started by doing songs for short films etc while developing my sound on the side with my production partner Mukund in Los Angeles, and I released my first single March 2018!
2) Which was your first song?
My first song is called Honest! I had the pleasure of writing it with Russel Steedle and Joseph Crow during a writing camp for various artists and I decided to keep it!
3) What does the genre ‘Goddess Pop’ represents and how does it reflect your music?
The genre represents inclusivity of all kinds to me. Goddess culture and traditions (which are thousands upon thousands of years old) recognized all genders, they recognized that the feminine could simultaneously be kind and ferocious, loving yet angry. We’ve lost this fluidity and inclusivity in today’s day and age – but Goddess Pop as a genre is my way of bringing it back both lyrically and sonically. My single Exodus is a track that is both strong and vulnerable, Majesty is a song that calls out the inequality between genders while also acknowledging that we were all made divine. And overall, the sound of my music is quite literally a blend of various genres and cultures!
4) How did you feel after being featured on New Music Friday playlist?
I have been fortunate enough to be featured on Spotify’s editorial playlists since my debut release, but I didn’t land a New Music Friday placement until Majesty. And when I did, I ended up on New Music Friday India, North Africa, Gulf, and so many more! It just didn’t feel real, but at the same time it felt so good to be acknowledged in this way by several countries across the world! That feeling remains even today, everytime a new release gets a playlist feature with New Music Friday, or other such prestigious playlists across DSPs. It’s always good to be recognized for the work you do!
5) How do feel being of Indian Heritage and mastering in arts in LA?
It feels really good, but also is definitely new territory. When you’re a South Asian creative – especially as a woman – in an American market, there aren’t very many people who look like you, move like you, create like you. Every idea, every creation is a risk, and feels new and exciting to put out. Which meant training as a musician and then working as one in LA wasn’t just about learning technique or understanding genres or songwriting, it was also redefining how I would fit into them, or rather how I could tailor make everything I was learning to me!
6) Who has been your inspiration?
Every brown creative that’s putting their best foot forward is my inspiration.
7) Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In 5 years I see myself having a few Grammys, mentoring new South Asian musicians, establishing a lane for artists like myself and having my self coined genre Goddess Pop globally recognized!
8) Which has been your most memorable performance?
I’m a sucker for intimate venues, and so my favorite has definitely been playing at The Hotel Cafe in LA. I love being able to interact with every single person in the audience and telling everyone the stories behind the music!
9) Tell us about your latest track.
Universe is my first ever love song! It was co-written by Ash King one evening in Los Angeles, and it’s about that feeling of truly falling for and wanting to commit to somebody. I think it came out at the perfect time – with everything going on in the world the question “Do you wanna build a Universe with me?” Could take on so many meanings beyond the romantic one!
10) Which is your most preferred genre?
My most preferred genre to listen to is a toss up between RnB and Hip-Hop/Rap!
11) How was life in quarantine?
Life in quarantine is definitely a huge adjustment, but I’ve acquired so many new skills during this time and have been able to release so much music that in a strange way I feel grateful for it! I’ve learned how to direct, edit and colour correct my own videos, I’ve learned how to engineer my own recording sessions, I’ve returned to producing my own tracks and so much more!
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