Artist Name: Neijah Lanae
Origin: Oakland, CA
Introducing Neijah, Lanae, the young Oakland singer caught my attention when her producer J-Hyphen sent her music over. As soon as I pressed play her music stood out and now she’s back with her recent release Sapphire Vol. 2. Neijah Lanae is a young lady who people can learn from and when you take a listen to her music you will understand why. Currently she’s staying in LA, so we caught up with her to discuss her project, plans, and the LA music scene. S/O to The Formula!
A&R Report: Thank you for your time! Neijah Lanae, How’s life?
Neijah Lanae: Life is good!
A&R Report: Who is Neijah Lanae? What’s your story?
Neijah Lanae: I am a singer from Oakland, CA currently living in LA.
A&R Report: From Oakland to LA, how the transition going? Oakland and LA are two different music cultural cities.
Neijah Lanae: I moved to LA for college after graduating high school so I’ve been settled here for a while now. Oakland is home, and feels more down to earth in terms of music and culture. It always feels refreshing to visit and catch up on everything there. There are so many scenes within LA’s music scene it’s hard for me to pinpoint. LA is a tough city for music and entertainment; it definitely helps you sharpen your skills and forces you to stay on your grind as an artist.
A&R Report: Personally, I have never heard of a pop act come out of Oakland or Bay Area, what inspired your music to be pop?
Neijah Lanae: Oakland and the entire Bay Area is an extremely diverse place in terms of culture and people, that’s one of my favorite things about The Bay. I grew up listening to and studying so many different types of music. I just make what feels natural and good to me.
A&R Report: So you have given us two projects, Sapphire Vol. 1 & 2 and with The Formula; how did you meet this duo?
Neijah Lanae: I met J-Hyphen and Chikotiq (The Formula) in college. We all went to LMU (Loyola Marymount University).
A&R Report: Is The Formula the only producers you working with in the meantime? Seems like you have great chemistry with them.
Neijah Lanae: We are all good friends, so we understand each other creatively and put in the hours working with each other. They are my go-to guys for sure, but I will always be open to making music with other people.
A&R Report: What do you believe makes the LA a great music culture? Why did you decide to move to LA than stay in Oakland?
Neijah Lanae: I moved to LA for college and not really for the music scene. LA is just a faster city with lots of opportunity, so that attracted me.
A&R Report: How would describe your sound? Where did you get your inspiration? What artists you model yourself after? I hear a blend of R&B and synthpop; I like it.
Neijah Lanae: Thank you! I wouldn’t say that I model myself after anyone, but I grew up going through phases of what I was really into from Prince to Spice Girls, Nsync, TLC, SWV, and Kanye West. I went to a performing arts high school where I studied classical, jazz, and world music, so I don’t limit myself to genres. I just try to capture a feeling or message more than anything.
A&R Report: What’s the meaning behind Sapphire? Are you in love with color? Is that a feeling you have doing your music?
Neijah Lanae: Sapphire is my birthstone and it was also a term that was used to describe a woman of color who was outspoken in a negative light. My family would call me that growing up to tease me because I am that outspoken (sometimes aggressive) type of girl. When working on this project I started to dig deeper and reflect on what it means to label a woman like that. I came to the conclusion that society likes to shut women down if they exist outside of certain parameters. We are taught that an outspoken woman is annoying/overbearing, we are taught that an opinionated woman is a hater, a sexually active woman is a whore and so on and so on. All the while we forget that women and girls are human. There is no cheat sheet to labeling and categorizing girls. the world, the sexually active woman is just being HUMAN like you. Sapphire vol. 2 is my attempt to give an inside look at what the Sapphire girl thinks and truly feels. It’s celebrating this girl, not a color.
A&R Report: I have to bring up your song Lady, which is my favorite, and I love the concept you had for the music video. S/O to PAPERmaSHAY for laying down a dope verse. What was the process of that song? You had a lot to say with lyrics and video.
Neijah Lanae: J-Hyphen actually brought Lady to me. I don’t know how he came up with the beat and hook, but I loved it right away. I wrote my verse and not too long after that saw PAPERmaSHAY perform at this show in DTLA and had to have her on the track. Her energy was perfect for this song and the Sapphire concept in general. We met up to finish the lyrics and Shay wrote her verse. It was all very organic and honest, I wanted the video to reflect that energy as much as possible. Lady is all about feeling confident about the girl you are, no matter where you’re from and what you choose to look like.
A&R Report: What can we expect in the future from you? Any plans?
Neijah Lanae: Performing and creating more music/visuals. I’m doing my first out of state show on December 3rd in Portland. Keep an eye out, I’ll put all info online via social media or neijahlanae.com