Thanks to M37 Management's Nicole, we were able to get an inside exclusive on multi talented artist, " Na Rai ". When it comes to the industry she's no rookie we've learned ! Take a look below to learn more about the songstress Na Rai.
Tell me in a few words, who you are. How would you describe yourself in a short story.
Hii ! My name is Na Rāi, I am a singer, songwriter, model and actress. I was born in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania early in the year 2000. I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia. I moved here in 2021 to put myself in a space where I could really make things happen for myself. I would describe myself as an intelligent, creative, ambitious, passionate, versatile, witty, personable, empathetic, courageous, and confident young woman. I am an Aries so I have so much fire in me and I put that fire inside of everything that I do. I have always been intrigued by art and the dierent variables that make it up. Growing up, singing, dancing, acting out scenes from movies or shows, playing instruments, and dressing up and taking pictures were all things that I naturally gravitated toward. There is no surprise that I am pursuing the career path that I am currently in. I feel that God showed me my purpose at a very young age. I am very grateful to be able to create timeless art that will be on this earth years after I am gone.
What’s your stage name and how did you come up with it?
My stage name is Na Rāi. My first name is Naja and my middle name is Rai. I dropped the ‘j-a’ in my first name and I added an accent over the ‘a’ in Rāi so that people would know how to pronounce it. I put the two together and Na Rāi came to life.
What got you into music? I had a natural attraction to music my entire life. Since a child I always found myself singing along to dierent songs that I would hear on the radio, and songs that my mom would play on the CD Player or in the car. Most of the time she played CDs that my dad created and filled with a mixture of the greatest hits of that time. A lot of those songs are still on my list of favorites today. I also always found myself drawn to music-artist documentaries and films where the actors also sing in their role. When I got older I started going to concerts and the energy that I feel at live shows is unmatched. Seeing the passion and energy that artists have during their shows put into perspective for me how I want to fulfill my passion.
I remember feeling connected to so many dierent songs growing up. Around the age of 12 I started singing in my church’s choir, that’s the space where I got really comfortable with my voice and singing In front of a crowd. The next year I started entering talent shows at my school. In the first few shows, I performed dances that I choreographed myself. Once I got to high school, I decided that I wanted to sing in the talent shows. I felt so good during and after each of my performances, and I always got good feedback from the people around me which solidified for me that I was on the right path.
After watching legends like Alicia Keys, John Legend, Lady GaGa, and Bruno Mars, at the age of 14 I taught myself to play the piano while singing. For the next three summers, I had the honor of attending an all girls band camp called ‘Girls Rock Philly’ where I was taught the fundamentals and got to practice playing the piano even more. During that period of time my dad helped me record and post videos of myself singing covers of some of my favorite songs to YouTube. In 2018 I wrote a short song over the instrumental to Bad by Wale ft. Tiara Thomas and I posted a video reciting it online. I ended up getting a lot of positive feedback from it. For the next few years I consistently posted videos of myself singing covers to my favorite songs. Eventually I found a beat that I really liked and I wrote my own song to it. Not long after I
got to go to the studio to record it, and then I was able to release my very first single. From there, a good friend of mine connected me with his producer Sauce On The Beat and I started to write a bunch of songs over his amazing beats. Today, we have released a total of 9 songs together so far. As you can see, I’ve always been super passionate about singing, creating art and music, and entertaining. This is the story to the start of my career.
What was life like growing up? Life was pretty hard growing up due to me losing a parent at such a young age. My family was so close when my mother was alive, but once she was called home everyone kind of went their own way. After she passed, I moved to New Jersey. I would come back to Philly on the weekends and holidays to spend time with my dad, spend time with my cousins, and go to church. When I was in Philly, I spent majority of my time with my two best friends Jayda and Daesha. We would do everything together. We used to go to dierent events and concerts, we would do walks in support of MS, we went to a few dierent summer programs and summer camps together, we would have plenty of sleepovers and make up dances, skits, and sing karaoke and perform it all for anyone that would take the time to watch. We would also just go to the park and hang with the rest of our friends. Those will always be some of my favorite memories. A few of those people that I grew up with unfortunately didn’t get to live to make it this far... When I was in New Jersey, though I actually spent a lot of time alone. Most of the time you would catch me listening to music, learning the dances of the music videos to my favorite songs, teaching myself to play songs on the piano, or talking on the phone to one of my close friends. I was in a lot of art-related activities growing up such as dance, the step team, cheerleading, choir, theatre, and art. I feel that those things kind of helped keep my mind at ease throughout the years. I was able to put majority of my emotions and energy into these things, and ultimately doing so brought me to this point in my life where I am pursuing a career in the arts and entertainment.
Who is your inspiration? What keeps you going to get up daily and put eort into your music career? Honestly, God is my inspiration. Knowing that he has a plan for me, and knowing that I am on the right path means everything to me. Also my family is my inspiration, they believed in me before I even completely believed in myself so I am doing this for all of us. Thinking about where I came from and the fact that all the odds were stacked against me, I know that I have to keep going to continue to change the narrative. To prove to myself and to others that no matter what cards you were dealt, you can still make something of yourself that you and your family can be proud of. To be able to leave a legacy for generations to come. To be a real life example of the fact that dreams do come true as long as you whole heartedly believe in yourself and work extremely hard.
What is your creative process like? What is the meaning behind your current single? I approach songwriting by first listening to dierent beats and feeling the energy of each one. My mood and my energy in the moment as well as the energy that the beat possesses both play important roles in what type of song will be created. Once I find a beat that I resonate with, most times a fire hook will pop up inside my head. If it doesn’t come so easy, though, I hum dierent melodies that sound good over
the beat until I sing one that I really love. Then, I add words to the melody and continue to write the rest of the song from there. I would say the over all meaning behind my record Honey Pot is that women can really control the world. Woman can really control the narrative. Woman can really control the room. A woman is God’s most amazing creation, and that Honey Pot that God gifted us with is power. I want Women to feel that and to know that when they listen to my single. When creating Honey Pot, I wanted to create something fun, something empowering, and something sexy for us. I intended for women to feel confident and free when listening to and when singing along with my record.
What is the name of the current single/ep/album that you are pushing? Do you prefer people to buy it or stream? And why? My current single is titled ‘Honey Pot’. I am honestly appreciative of people listening to it no matter how they do it. I do like to be able to see the amount of streams and what area of the world they are coming from, though through the streaming sites. There was a time where absolutely no one knew who I was or listened to my music, so to me, if someone takes time out of their day to check me out it honestly means the world to me. I put a lot of energy, and passion into my work and I love that people are taking the time to see that.
With the industry changing so much, would you stay indie or sign to a label? Why and why not? As of right now, I plan on staying independent and continuing to grow my name and my brand. In the future, I would love to be supported by a label with a distribution deal. That is because I know that a label can help promote and distribute my music at a much larger scale than I can do myself.
Do you feel like the music industry has went down since the pandemic? Why or why not? Where you affected by the pandemic with music or everyday life? I don’t think that the music industry went down since the pandemic. I actually started my music career during the pandemic. I released my first song ‘After Hours’ in August of 2020. I do feel like since the pandemic, though the music industry has become oversaturated if anything. I feel that a lot of people have decided to become artists and to create music even if it isn’t really their passion or their forte. My every day life was aected by the pandemic just because I wasn’t really able to go anywhere but to work and back home. But as far as my music career, I had a lot of extra time to create, so in a weird way I appreciate the pandemic.
If you were give a chance to sit down and have a business dinner with a celebrity who would it be and why? If I had the chance to sit down and have a business dinner with a celebrity it would probably be Rihanna. I feel that she has made a lot of career moves that I plan to make in my own career and I know that she would be able to give me good advice on how to carry out those plans. I also know that she would be able to connect me with some of the people that could aid me in carrying out those goals and plans as well.
In addition, I believe that we could make some amazing music together, so I would also mention that to her during our dinner and let her know that I am also a songwriter so If she wasn’t interested in doing a song with me, It’s possible that I could still write her next hit for her. Lastly, I would see about being an ambassador for Fenty Skin because that’s what keeps my skin glowing everyday.
How do you balance everyday life tied into your music career? I make sure to plan out my days ahead in order to balance my every day life with my music career. I make sure that the things that need to be taken care of in my every day life are taken care of, and then I use the rest of my day to cater to my career and the things that are important in that field.
Tell me about your most memorable moment in your career? The most memorable moment in my career is the day that I auditioned live during the filming of the show ‘Surviving Philly’ which was a music based reality tv show for upcoming artists from Philadelphia. The show was created by the late Novee J and Philly Wonderwoman (LaCinda Trotter). I performed my single ‘We Gon’ Slide’ from my debut EP ‘Itz Na Rāi’ . I had 10 of my family members and friends come out to support me and that moment really meant the world to me. I met so many amazing artists from my city and we built relationships that I hope will last a lifetime. From filming for this, I was able to experience a lot of firsts and those firsts are things that I can say really helped prepare me for the moments that I am experiencing at this point in my career. I was also able to meet and network with some amazing people who are known in the industry such as Philly Wonderwoman, Plex, and Hennesy Kev who all supported me and aided me in growing my brand, and performing at events around the city.
What style of music do you prefer to make? Would you ever try a dierent lane? To be honest, I really like to create whichever style of music I feel in the moment. I consider my main genre to be Neo-soul. I love this genre because it’s rooted in soul and r&b, but it also includes a mixture of some of my favorite genres such as pop, hip hop, jazz and funk. I consider myself an extremely versatile artist. I feel that all of my music is already in lanes of their own.
Is there anyone who you would collab with right now? There are so many people that I would love to collaborate with right now . To name a few, I would collab with Queen Naija, Megan Thee Stallion, Giveon, Chlöe, Tink, DDG, Rod Wave, Summer Walker, Brent Faiyaz, Rae Sremmurd, Gunna, and Roddy Ricch.
Who is the producer and engineer behind your music?
I worked with the producer Sauce On the Beat on majority of my records. In the beginning of my career, J Stylz of Blackstreet engineered my songs for me. Later, my singles ‘The Party’ and ‘Don’t forget that’ were engineered by Hookmaster Jaz. My most recent single ‘Honey Pot’ was produced and engineered by Hookmaster Jaz. All of these amazing people are a part of my sound and I am extremely grateful for each one of them.
What are you currently working on and what is next for you? I am currently working on promoting my latest single ‘Honey Pot’. It is still very fresh and I want to make sure that it hits all of my target markets. I am also in the process of starring in my very first film which is a television series called Thugs Cry. Please stay connected with me to get more details on the release date of that! Lastly, I plan on releasing an album some time next year. I feel that it is about time for me to take that next step in my career, and to release some of this music that I have been working on throughout these past few years.
When it comes to fashion, whats your dressing style? I wear things that make me feel good. I feel that my style is comfortable, bold, sexy, unique, edgy, and just me. I like to wear bright colors that make me stand out in a crowd. I like to wear outfits that hug my figure. I like to wear outfits that you won’t see anyone else in because of the way that I put the pieces together. I dress myself most of the time, but I also work with a stylist for certain moments and events, her name is Aisha TKO Thomas and she is the owner of ‘Rare Breed Connection’. She is absolutely amazing!
What is your creative process like and who inspired you to make music? I approach songwriting by first listening to dierent beats and feeling the energy of each one. My mood and my energy in the moment as well as the energy that the beat possesses both play important roles in what type of song will be created. Once I find a beat that I resonate with, most times a fire hook will pop up inside my head. If it doesn’t come so easy, though, I hum dierent melodies that sound good over the beat until I sing one that I really love. Then, I add words to the melody and continue to write the rest of the song from there. Summer Walker was actually the artist to inspire me to make music. I remember hearing Girls Need Love on the radio in 2019, and when I heard it I just felt so inspired. I knew that I could write a song with a similar vibe that would sound just as good, so that day I started taking myself serious and really started trying to write a full song.
If you could open up for one celebrity who would it be and why? If I could open up for Beyonce, I would literally die. Lol, okay not literally, but that would be a dream come true. The way that Megan Thee Stallion fanned out after performing with her at her Houston
Renaissance show , would be me after opening up for her !
Any funny stories or an embarrassing moments you want to share with our readers? Twice in my life I got stuck on a zip-line. Once, I was in Las Vegas zip-lining across the strip, and I got halfway across the line and I just stopped zipping in the middle of the line. I was just hanging there in a super man pose looking so stupid in front of everybody on the strip. My family was cracking up laughing at me taking videos and the conductors had to climb across the line to come and get me. The second time I was at a trampoline park in Philly called Urban Air. You’re supposed to run from the entrance and jump to give you some speed to zip across the line until you get to the next checkpoint, and then you do it again and again until you get to the end. When I was heading to the second to last checkpoint I got all the way there but I didn’t stick my landing well enough and I went sliding backward. I was yelling for help but it took a minute for anyone to hear me, so I was just hanging. My friends saw me first, and of course they were cracking up laughing and took a few videos before they went to get someone to come to get me.
What would you be doing right now if it wasn’t for your music career? If it wasn’t for my music career, I would be in the beauty industry pursuing cosmetology. Or I would be in Real Estate.
What is one message you would give to your fans? Believe in yourself and know that you’re worth it! You deserve to live your wildest dreams. Be confident in yourself and work extremely hard to get to where you want to be in life. Don’t try to skip steps, everything happens the way that it happens for a reason. Take all your losses as lessons.
-Please give us a very detailed description of the current song you are pushing, what was the creative process like with it, what is the meaning of it, what makes this song a hit? My single Honey Pot is a fun, sexy, and empowering song for the ladies . I intended for every woman that hears it to just fall in love with the energy it possesses and to just feel good when they sing it. The creative process was actually really cool because this entire song was created from scratch one day in the studio. I actually intended to record something else the day that Honey Pot came to life. I was in the studio with Hookmaster Jaz, and he suggested that we try something dierent. He told me that he had been wanting to create a Neptunes-like beat, and he thought that my voice would be perfect for it. So, I trusted his vision and he started creating the beat stem by stem, note by note, insert by insert. As the beat came to life, the hook “Ladies, can you make it rock? Ladies can you go non stop? Ladies, show me what you got...” Popped up in my head. The beat was so funky and fun I wanted to make sure that my lyrics were adding to that vibe. It took a second for me to add ‘it’s getting hot, The Honey Pot’ as the last part of the hook, but once I thought of it, that was it! I just knew this was about to be something dierent! I wanted the verses to sound like I was talking directly to the listeners. I wanted them to be able to visualize everything I was saying when they closed their eyes. I also wanted women to be able to sing this song to their man or in the mirror when they want to feel sexy. I ended up adding a step in the song because I felt like it would be so cool for me to have my own universal step, and I feel that stepping really brings people together. I felt that having a step would be another reason people would wanna get up and dance to it. I also made sure to add
a break for the “Watch me work it, & Twerk it” Parts because I know how the girls love to twerk! The overall meaning behind the record is that women can really control the world. Women can really control the narrative. Women can really control the room. A woman is God’s most amazing creation, and the Honey Pot that God gifted us with is power. I want women to feel that and to know that when they listen to my single. Honey Pot is a hit because you can’t help bur nod your head when you hear it. You can’t help but feel good when you hear it. You can’t help be get that nostalgic feeling when you hear it. You can’t help but want to dance when you hear it. I feel in my soul that this is the next number 1!
Stream " Honey Pot " here ! https://music.apple.com/us/album/honey-pot-single/1702450233