UK singer/songwriter Nia Nicholls is an artist whose career we have been keeping close tabs on here at Belles and Gals since we first featured her back in March 2018… nearly three years ago now! 2020 was a particularly exciting and productive year for her despite the obvious challenges it presented, seeing the release of several singles including “Nervous”, her first after signing a two year deal with Unique Recording Artists, the song clocking up over 10,000 streams on Spotify. And Salisbury based Nia shows no signs of slowing down in 2021 it seems, kicking off the year with her new single “Cali Beaches” released on New Year’s Day.
The song sees Nia struggling to move on after the end of a relationship despite things in her life seeming to be pretty good, and while this concept isn’t anything new I enjoy the way she tackles it and how she describes both the situation and her feelings. Her writing seems to be getting stronger with every song in my opinion.
Not a powerhouse singer by any means, Nia does however have a beautiful break in her voice and sings with a lot of conviction, both of which are ideal for these heartfelt types of writes. From the very beginning of “Cali Beaches” she draws the listener in with the emotional delivery of her highly relatable lyrics, setting the scene perfectly as she lies awake in the early hours not wanting to let her past haunt her dreams. I’m sure most of us have been there at some point!
Addressing the song to her ex, it’s clear that she’s been trying to put on a brave face since he left which in the modern world includes sharing seemingly happy posts on social media. But it’s something she’s aware is fooling neither of them. Yes, although she’s found “a hundred silver linings ” since the split they are all “consolation prizes “, and she admits that “life is good but it’s lonely without you” in the catchy chorus. Possibly my favourite part of the song is its break which really captures its essence, with Nia realising in a light-bulb type of moment that “you can’t have it all”, a line she appropriately delivers very wistfully.
The simple accompaniment during the more plaintiff and reflective verses contrasts well with the more rousing choruses in which Nia voices her frustrations, and I really like the production and arrangement throughout the entire song which on first listen immediately reminded me on many levels of the early Kacey Musgraces track “I Miss You”.
There’s some fun facts about the single emerging too… apparently the idea came to her at 3.25am (which she references in the first line!) when she’d just flown home from California and was too jet-lagged to sleep, and she still has the entire original voice memo which she recorded very quietly into her phone that night. In addition, she took the song’s cover photo on her phone, i assume during that same visit to the West coast.
No doubt her growing fan base will be aware that as well as this official new single Nia released a surprise second track on the same day. “Waste My Time” is full of attack and attitude, in stark contrast to “Cali Beaches” , demonstrating what a versatile artist she is. I think she will be creating quite a buzz throughout the coming year and well into the future.
Stream/Download ” Cali Beaches” here https://orcd.co/xembyk and keep up to date with all Nia’s news via her socials.