Nina Sky With their unique style and signature sound, the beautiful Nina Sky hits the streets with their latest mixtape “La Conexion.” These two Latina sisters sit down with WHO?MAG and talk about their break-out success, their formula, and their latest upcoming second full length album.
Interview by Rob Schwartz
WHO?MAG: What differentiates Nina Sky from other artists? NINA SKY (Natalie): We take a lot of pride into writing and co-producing our own music and being involved in the whole creative process. We really just don’t only sing. Our album is really personal to us, whether it’s something we have gone through or seen or that we have been around.
WHO?MAG: How did you get introduced into the world of music? NINA SKY (Natalie): Our stepfather was a DJ when we were growing up and he played all kinds of music ranging from Bob Marley, Metallica, The Police, to Mary J. Blige. That’s what first got us into music. When we were 14, that’s when we first decided to take music seriously because we have been singing all of our lives. We started going on auditions for a production company called The Jettsonz and signed with them. They introduced us to Cipha and that’s kind of how everything happened.
WHO?MAG: What’s going to be different about this new album from your last? NINA SKY (Natalie): The first album was kind of rushed. We first put out “Move Your Body” independently and then we got signed. Then we had to make an album pretty fast, so we didn’t get to work with other artists, just Betty Wright and Jabba on “Move Your Body”. We also only worked with in-house producers like The Jettsonz, Cipha Sounds, and Disco D. The second album is going to be the same kind of contents as the first, but we want to work with outside producers. We have already worked with Ryan Leslie, Stargate, and hopefully The Neptunes and other writers so that we can vibe a little differently on this one.
WHO?MAG: As songwriters, what’s your process for creating a song? NINA SKY (Natalie): Sometimes we just think of stuff & write down the rhythms in our heads. Sometimes we’ll write to beats. There’s really no set formula. What ever comes to our mind, we write it or how ever it happens, it happens. I don’t prefer to write over a beat. I rather just write what just comes to my mind.
WHO?MAG: How do you feel the music industry has changed over the past 10 years? NINA SKY (Natalie): It’s more business than music. I’m not involved in the business side as much. My sister is more involved with networking and finding things out and more of the business part. I don’t follow the whole business aspect of it.
WHO?MAG: What impression would you like Nina Sky to leave on the music industry? NINA SKY (Nicole): I feel that when Nina Sky first came out, and even now, Latinas aren’t really represented in R&B and hip-hop music. Males are, but not really women. I think a lot of people really underestimate the talent that we have. I think that the impression that we really want to make, especially for the young Latinas, is that if we can do it, they can do it to. Also it’s about the quality of the music and not about your background. That’s really important to us.
WHO?MAG: Since reggaeton has hit hard recently, where do you see the future of Latin music? NINA SKY (Nicole): I think it has the potential to be really big. Within one year, “Oye Me Canto” came out last year and that was really the first reggaeton song to cross over. Every single station was playing it non-stop, and now, they have stations that are dedicated to the genre of music just in one year. Now if you see that happen in one year, and keep in mind, that hasn’t happened with other types of music, then I can’t understand how it couldn’t get any bigger. In New York, they really don’t have country stations, but they have reggaeton stations. And these stations are now competing with all the major stations. When we went up to a reggaeton station in New York, the station currently holds the number one afternoon slot in the city.
WHO?MAG: What do you feel was the formula for making “Move Ya Body” such a huge success? NINA SKY (Nicole): With “Move Your Body”, we got into this deal with Cipha where he said “Here’s this beat. This beat is hot! Ride on this beat and let’s see what comes out of it.” When Nat and I were writing it, we were talking about keeping it simple and making it a party song because when people go to the clubs, they’re not really thinking. So it had to be simple, something that the people can repeat. Something that people will repeat, even if they don’t want to as long as it stays in your mind. That was how we wrote it. It was written really simple, real, up-tempo, and party like. This was the formula and that’s how “Move Your Body” came about.
WHO?MAG: What advice could you give an upcoming artist trying break into the music industry? NINA SKY (Nicole): When you look at the music industry from the outside, it looks so great because you get to do what you love and it’s such a beautiful thing. It really is a beautiful thing, but you have to come into this industry really strong. For example, our first album didn’t go gold. It didn’t go platinum, but we are still here recording and writing songs. We didn’t get the support from the label that we would have liked, but if you let that get you down, then you are not going to succeed in this industry. Everyone on top is really hungry and everything isn’t always going to go the way you want it to go. We’re the prime example of that. We had a number one hit and our album really didn’t do very well. We had a single that was picked up on radio that our management was pushing alone. The label didn’t stand behind that single. If you come into this industry, you need to be really strong and not depend on the labels and always hustle. Once you get signed, don’t stop hustling. You can’t sit back because you have a record deal. You always have to take the “unsigned artist” approach.
WHO?MAG: What’s next in store for Nina Sky? NINA SKY (Nicole): We are doing our next album right now which we are really excited about. Unlike the first album where everything was rushed and we only had three weeks to make an album, we really have taken our time with this. We have gotten in the studio with some really dope producers like Ryan Leslie, Neo who co-wrote “Let Me Love You”, and just vibing with others. Now that we have a studio in our crib, we are recording a lot there. We’re really excited about this new album and we are also reading for a lot of movies, but our main focus is just getting this album out and giving the people something new from Nina Sky opposed to a feature. We’re on Sean Paul’s album, Rupee’s album, and Tony Touch’s album, so I think everyone right now is waiting for another Nina Sky album and we’re really excited about that.