NSTASIA: The Emerging Artist Who's Putting a Country-Trap Twist on R&B
More often than not, many artists get their start by penning songs for other, more popular musicians. It's the same road burgeoning act NSTASIA traveled. Having written tracks for Beyoncé, Usher and Macy Gray, NSTASIA is now trading places and emerging from behind the scenes. Flaunt attended NSTASIA’s launch event and gallery exhibition for her debut EP New Religion.
It was an intimate invite-only affair that took place in an underground speakeasy in Los Angeles. A gallery space showcased the album artwork created by Taj Stansberry who tailored the designs to match the steamy essence of the project. Guest sipped on cocktails as NSTASIA filled the venue with her country-tinged melody and '80s-inspired style. There’s no doubt she was made for this. It’s her turn.
Growing up with a musician father, music has always been a passion. “As a little girl all I ever knew was the studio," she recalls. "Since I was two, I remember being there with my dad. He introduced to music and I’ve loved it ever since."
So determined to pursue a career as a songstress, NSTASIA left her hometown of North Carolina and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. “I only moved to Atlanta because that was the home of music," she says with a laugh. "I told myself I’m going to college in Atlanta so I can get to Atlanta."
“I was told if you want to be an artist you have to be a songwriter first and write a big hit for another artist and that will lead you into being an artist," she says of her journey. "I was like, 'I’ll do whatever I have to do, to be an artist and to sing what I want to sing' and that’s how I got signed to Sony as a songwriter.”
Living in Atlanta not only changed NSTASIA’s career but it shaped her music. “I spent my adult years there so most of what I talk about comes from my Atlanta experience," she says. "I’m a lover and my music is a reflection of that. My relationships and emotions all come from my time in Atlanta.”
This is evident in her single, “Chains,” with lyrics like “When make love just keep your chains/ I wanna see them shining all night long.”
“It was a fun sexual experience and I found it to be attractive to be with a guy with his chains on but then if you’ve never experienced that it makes you go, 'Hmmm I want to try that!' Everyone can try that,” she says with a mischievous smile.
When it comes to her sound, NSTASIA’s describes it as a gumbo. She’s inspired by the Beatles, Robert Glasper, Tracy Chapman, Frank Ocean, Rae Sremmurd. But her most intriguing influence is country music and the storytelling that comes with it. That influence is present in her music as her lyrics describe her most intimate moments.
“I enjoy freestyling at the studio right then and there," she says of her process. "I go from scratch. Usually we just start with a sound--a piano or guitar anything--with one loop melody and I go in the booth and freestyle. I don’t really like sitting down and writing because I feel I’m authentic in what I write and I come from a real place when I come off the top of my head. I’m very in the moment. Every song was made in the moment of what I felt.”
If you haven’t already jumped on NSTASIA’s bandwagon, it’s not too late. She has a little something for everyone on New Religion. Whether you’re getting over a breakup, starting up with someone new or just looking for a “Hell of a Time,” she’s got you covered.
“I just want everyone to appreciate, retain and resonate with the vibe," she admits. "I want to inspire realness and storytelling. I just want to be relatable because everyone goes through what I sing about.”
When asked what her biggest moment of 2017 was and what she’s looking forward to in 2018, she reflected on the release of her EP. “It’s my very first collection of music that I put together along with the launch event. This was for sure my highlight and I’m so grateful. Next year I’m really excited to start touring and meet people and see how fans connect with my music. I am so thankful for every second of the journey even being here with you.”
New Religion is now available for download on all major streaming platforms. And you can buy it here.
Written by Robyn Merrett