One of the best feelings in the world is a sense of purpose. NDAI shares hers with us. She recently released two singles: Time Heals All Wounds and Nobody’s Ting. One quite vulnerable and the other empowering. The R&B/Soul singer-songwriter moved from Scarborough (Greater Toronto Area) to downtown Toronto a few years ago. “I can definitely feel this sense of anticipation. A lot of people in the city have been working really hard and it feels like a lot more success is brewing,” she says of the climate in Toronto. “It’s slowly becoming the destination for a lot of creative pursuits.”
Listing Mariah Carey, Sade, and Aaliyah as her artistic influences, she has always known music is what she wanted to do. “I have tried to hypothetically ask myself on several occasions what I’d be happy doing if not this and nothing ever comes to mind. The only career that’s been a minor possibility is one as a lawyer, but then I remember the reality is actually really boring and I think I can accomplish the same end goals via music.” Amongst her favourites are 90’s R&B artists SWV, Faith Evans, Keith Sweat, Boys II Men, Ginuwine, and Toni Braxton. Whilst not forgetting the great Michael Jackson, Tupac, Stevie Wonder, Etta James, and Mary J. Blige, she also names new school artists SZA, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Drake, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Adele, and Bruno Mars as inspirations.
What was it like meeting the one and only Lauryn Hill? You also beautifully covered her song Ex-Factor, what are you favourite Lauryn Hill songs?
Thank you, it was amazing! I mean, it’s Lauryn Hill! I only get starstruck for her and Mariah Carey. I went to her show in Toronto at Massey Hall. After the show, I grabbed some food at Fran’s across the street. After my late snack, I walked back over because I saw people standing in the alley of Massey Hall, so I went over, I stood there for a bit and then she emerged. She came outside and shook everyone’s hand and took a picture with every single person there. When she shook my hand and asked me my name, I almost froze! Her energy is unreal – she is actual magic. So much of who she is as an artist resonates with me. I loved her in Sister Act back in the day, The Fugees, and of course, her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. My favourite song is Ex-Factor, followed by Killing Me Softly, then That Thing, and Zion.
NDAI has been recording music since she was 16. However, she took a hiatus from music for a while to grow and live a little. “I always wanted my music to be real and I knew at that age, I hadn’t lived enough to write authentically. I didn’t want to rely on other people to write for me. I do write and I’ve always loved writing. I’m constantly learning and growing as a songwriter. I usually listen to and study other artists I like to gain some inspiration and compare different styles.”
What was the inspiration behind Time Heals All Wounds and Nobody’s Ting? How would you describe the feel of Time Heals All Wounds – the big intro to “NDAI, the artist”?
The inspiration behind Time Heals All Wounds was really just love and loss. The song is asking the universe, “when will the wounds heal from the loss suffered?” Failed relationships are a common theme for most people and I know I have been there as well as hearing countless stories from the women in my life.
Nobody’s Ting is a tongue-in-cheek song about a woman asserting her power. The song was written from the perspective of one person not knowing the situation fully in a “relationship.” The word “ting” is from Caribbean culture’s, more specifically Jamaican patois, heavy influence on Toronto. My cultural background includes Guyana, a Caribbean country in South America. The influence of our culture on Toronto is major. “Ting” is basically someone you’re just casually hanging out with, with no strings attached. It’s OK if both people know the deal, not so cool when one person is in the dark.
The feel of Time Heals All Wounds is ethereal and melodic. The song felt ambient so I wanted to make sure the vocals reflected that feeling. The song also features muffled drums and my vocals kind of float above them. I really like the contrast of the heavy bass and my cool-toned vocals.
A music video, you ask? “We’re discussing a video in the near future, but there are no current plans to release a video, yet. I want to make sure when I release videos that they are more than just a video to a song. They are all a part of the story and the journey.”
What are your goals, career-wise?
I have a lot of goals, and I always want to aim to create memorable art. I want to play all the major stages, festivals – you name it! As my music grows and touches more people, I want to branch out and give more of my art to them. I have interest in writing books, writing for TV or movies, organizations and charities, and real estate. I’m an artist at heart, but I also have a strong drive when it comes to business. I want to make sure I’m giving in balance of receiving, and I plan to do that through business.
I’ve always had this one clear goal to be relevant enough to perform a tribute to Mariah Carey at the Billboard Music Awards or Grammys when they decide to *finally* give her a Lifetime Achievement Award. She’s given the music community and the world so much with her music.
What vibe would you like your voice and music to transmit? What would you like NDAI to mean to others or yourself?
I want it to take people to another place. Entranced. Like, I just want my voice to pull you in and wrap you in a warm blanket. My vibe is relatively chill, so my music will always have that feel. I love to dance and when the time is right I will share different parts of my creativity but for now, I want people to receive my voice and lyrical content.
NDAI is actually an acronym for No Doubt About It. Essentially I’m a no-BS person and I always want the truth. So, NDAI is tied to the philosophy of the truth of all things. It also symbolises going after what you want in life no matter what. A lot of people give up on themselves under the guise of being “practical.” I don’t buy it. I want NDAI to be a symbol of creating the life you want in spite of the hurdles put in your path, and becoming the truest version of yourself, fulfilling your potential.
Her singles are available on all platforms for streaming/downloading.
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