A few have the wondrous power of weaponising their pain and turning it into art, and emerging pop star NERIAH has made it clear that this is her superpower. NERIAH’s stellar new release, No One Cries Forever takes the crown for being powerful, pure and authentic, featuring six tracks each with a distinctly unique sound. As for her, she happens to be gearing up for a busy year ahead, with a lot of music. When reflecting upon what’s coming for both her and her listeners, she remarked, “things have been amazing so far! This year is definitely going to be a big one, we have a six-track EP ‘No One Cries Forever’ and we have a 24-track album coming out, which is my debut album, so the year is off to a great start and we’ve been doing so many fun things and I’ve also been writing a lot.” With a mindset of being the next big thing, it’s no doubt she’s always working on improving her art.
Her passion for music has only grown over the years, and she uses the millions of streams on her songs to fuel it even further. Recently though, her music has gained immense traction, reaching and resonating with young listeners globally. NERIAH added that it ‘feels amazing’ to know her dreams are coming to fruition. “I got into music because it was such a therapeutic outlet for me, and to help people around the world get through a breakup or understand what they’re feeling is all I’ve ever wanted to be able to do so the fact that it’s resonating with so many people around the world is amazing. I remember I thought a million streams was the craziest thing in the world and now we’re about to hit 14 million on my biggest song and it’s so crazy to think about. Getting videos of people singing my songs and playing shows where everyone knows the words, it’s a dream come true,” she says, in fascination of her own achievements as an artist so far.
“One of the most important things for me is knowing exactly who I want to be as an artist, and not letting anyone get in my way and push me to be something I’m not so authenticity is really important to me.”
For her, music was more inbuilt rather than acquired, with her parents even admitting that she ‘sang before she talked’. “I was 4 or 5 and would sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow from Wizard of Oz over and over and over again to my parents! I wrote my first song when I was 5 and I’ve been doing music ever since, and it’s been such a big part of my life. When I was younger, I never knew it was possible to have it as a full-on career, but when I got older I knew music is what I want to do,” says NERIAH. She’s been working with fervour ever since, often basic her music off her actual experiences, rather than jumping on musical bandwagons.
When it comes to her music, she has a more impulsive rather than planned approach, a sign of any good musician. When talking about her songwriting process, she says ”it’s based on real-life experiences for sure. I actually have an ongoing note, where I enter titles and concepts throughout the day, and I’ll go into the studio and we see what resonates with everyone and work on production, and then we pick a title and it just spills out!” She uses music as an outlet to express her emotions, which explains the rawness of her music. “I honed in on writing in a journal, knowing what I was feeling and trying to express it, and music became my expressive outlet. I think it all started by listening to other songs and feeling like I resonated with them, and they were helping me get through the emotions I was feeling. So I knew I want to write my own songs and exactly how I feel, and it just developed that way. Even now, every song that I write is for myself, and it helps me get through things. It’s a whole other experience, it’s the best kind of therapy,” she says with an obviously uncontrollable smile.
After years of songwriting, her hit single ‘Puppet on a String’ is one for the books because of the uniqueness of its concept, which accentuates her innovative capacity as an artist. While discussing the song, she says, ”Puppet on a String was a really fun one. It was the first song we wrote on the album. I remember I had this title and was sitting on it for a long time because I knew I wanted to write a song with this title but I didn’t know what I wanted the meaning to be. I was in the studio talking about toxic relationships and controlling relationships, thinking about times when I’d felt like a puppet in relationships. I thought of flipping it and writing it in a sense of you being my puppet on a string as if we were in their shoes and treating someone the way they had treated us. It brought this whole other meaning. My producer Jason and I knew it felt so special and cool, and it was our favourite song. I feel like it’s a different sound for me so it was cool to experiment for sure.”
Experimentation is so important in a world where new music is released daily, and experimenting with different sounds is the only way of discovering what may strike a chord with listeners and what they might enjoy. Having had a few hits, NERIAH admits that she knows when a song is going to be a hit. “When we’re in the studio, we’re always choosing between a ballad or an upbeat song. Recently, we’ve been writing so much music so we’ve been a lot pickier over the lyrics and music because we want to make it perfect. It’s a process of writing a chorus and a verse, and then if we get a good hook, we just know it’s really good. So then we just scratch everything else, work with that hook, and start over. I can definitely tell which ones are special and stand out from others, but you’re definitely not going to get a hit every time.”
All this work is geared towards the release of her EP ‘No One Cries Forever’, a passion project featuring stellar sounds, all of which she absolutely loves. The EP is a perfect reflection of her versatility as an artist. “No One Cries Forever is a special EP because there are six songs and they’re each from different producers. I wanted to deliver this versatility and variety through this project. These are some of my favourite producers I’ve worked with. I want to show people that these are the sounds that I’ve learned to love. The concept behind the whole project was knowing that you can’t cry over somebody forever and one day you wake up, and you know you’re over it. It took me three years to move on from my ex, and one day I knew this is it, I’m done and I’m not dealing with this anymore!” she says with a laugh. You also see fragments of her life, experiences and emotions in the EP. “My emotional and sensitive side is definitely seen, there’s a lot of hurt in the EP. It’s related to things that went wrong in a relationship and trying to figure out why they went wrong. Like was it me or them and who’s the one who played a part in this?”
As a young artist whose carving out her career, NERIAH’s music is influenced by a variety of artists and sounds, all of which reflects in the music she creates today. “Julia Michaels is the biggest influence on my music, I think she’s a genius. Lauv is incredible in his songs too. I think it’s important to see where music is and where it’s going and what resonates with me. If you shuffle my liked songs on Spotify, you’ll find a lot of different artists.” Also, as a young artist who’s gained success, it’s easy to get caught up and lose sight of where you’re going, but for NERIAH this doesn’t hold true. “I think it hasn’t changed that much because in my head I’m always trying to be better and work harder, and put in just the same amount of work if not more, every day for it. Things are definitely happening a lot faster but it’s opened me to more collaborations and opportunities, I’ve been working with amazing artists and writers that I never would’ve thought I would have the pleasure to work with. It’s amazing to share my stories and experiences with a broader range of people. Regardless of how big I get, I will always put in 100% into my work and where I want to be.”
NERIAH has a radiant authenticity that shines in her music and persona, even through the screen, and in a brilliant twist of events, she says, “I owe it to my exes! After my last breakup, I literally lived in the studio for a week so I take a lot of inspiration from my relationships. I also want to be honest about how I was feeling because a lot of people aren’t. I’ve been told that I can write about my breakups but I don’t want to be the one who was sad or hurt, I should have power. But putting out that honesty especially in my music, that I was hurt, is important to me. I want to write about it because it’s okay to hurt, you can also overcome it, so you can move on and grow. One of the most important things for me is knowing exactly who I want to be as an artist, and not letting anyone get in my way and push me to be something I’m not so authenticity is really important to me.” With this attitude in such a cut-throat industry, it’s quite clear that NERIAH is going places. She’ll be breaking barriers in music that is to come!