Interview by Satchel Lee
Photos by Maria Marrone


"Something More", NAKAYA's latest track produced by JAIE, features a more uptempo version of the artist's signature ambient soul sound as she conveys an honest yearning for an unrequited love. DRØME had the opportunity to ask NAKAYA about the process behind the track and how writing through emotional turmoil has allowed her to embrace the way she loves.


DRØME: "Something More" is a bit more uptempo and bright than we've heard from you before. What made you want to go there with your sound?

NAKAYA: It is! I think that as I'm growing and changing, I like allowing my music to evolve as I do. I'd rather not limit myself in regard to genre and truly enjoy experimenting with different styles. I try not to identify myself in one box, as I think my identity exists as an amalgamation of many influences, so I hope some of that shines through in my work.

You sing a lot of songs about love. What is it about love you find consistently inspiring? 

I honestly don't know if I can put my finger on it—I think of all the feelings, it's the one I've consistently been most drawn to. Ironically, but maybe not surprisingly, I write my best songs when I'm dealing with emotional turmoil. I've found through the years that I am most connected to myself when I am face to face with the more trying aspects of my life. I know that I love really hard and have sometimes cared too much, but I'm learning how to embrace those aspects of myself—mostly by writing about those feelings.

What is the songwriting process like? 

It's always different. I often consider it quite mystical. Some days, I will try and just feel a sense of frustration, where I'm fighting with the words or the melody lines and something isn't clicking so I let it go. And then there are some days where I pick up my guitar and in minutes write an entire song, simply because the pieces aligned at that time. I know how it feels in my physical body when I'm at war with the natural order of what the song needs, so I try to listen to my physical and emotional cues when I write. I think the process is a whole lot like magic when it's right. 

JAIE, produced "Jump" as well as "Something More". How does that partnership works and what it's like finding collaborators over the internet?

It's really new age stuff that I feel lucky to be a part of. Working back and forth with JAIE, who I've actually never met in real life (yet), is a fun process and incredibly accessible with the technology available to us today. 

What do you hope your audience takes away from your music? 

I hope that audiences take away a sense of honesty—I don't know if I would say that I wear my heart on my sleeve in real life. I think I am often putting up walls and different masks in everyday life (as we all do), but I think my music is the most true version of myself. I think I wear my vulnerability with pride in my music, and through the years have grown more comfortable with that type of expression. It's been a really freeing process. 

What's Next?

More music of course. More learning about myself. More reading! More laughing. More feelings. More dancing. More vulnerability as strength.