To Rude Nala, Confidence Is Everything

Stevenson Altidor

To Rude Nala, confidence is everything. The belief she has in herself, her art, and her career trajectory are at an all-time high right now. Not much can derail the path she’s been etching for herself since her journey began in 2018, with her debut EP Rude Awakening. Oddly enough, you can’t stream or find the album right now because its owner is delisted. In a way, the decision could be viewed as an unsaved checkpoint. Acknowledging how far she’s come as an artist but unafraid of the travel ahead of her without a reference point.

“That project was done at a time where I was still finding my sound,” Nala said. “I wasn’t really sure what I was doing in terms of music and wasn’t serious about it. Once I became serious, I wanted a fresh slate to build from.”

And that fresh slate culminated in “Zaza,” a sultry cry for intimacy and companionship, where the Vancouver artist finds herself singing more than she ever has. This tone shift works for her, however. Nala sounds comfortable, contained, and most of all, self-assured.

Who or what inspired you to start making music?

One of my first toys as a kid was a toy mic. I always loved to dance when the music started playing and sing along to the words. I would sit down in front of my parent’s cassette player and rewind the songs until I memorized the lyrics in full. The first song I remembered was “My Girl” by Temptations.

You mentioned in an interview that the meaning of “Rude” changes from time to time. In this moment, what does “Rude” mean now?

At this moment, “Rude,” to me, means having unapologetic confidence in the authentic self. For example, I had to tell a guy I saw in recent times after he asked me why I always get looked at, “well, I’m a bad bitch, and that’s something you just have to deal with.” I walk with confidence, and that’s not about looks!

How does your heritage or upbringing help you become the artist you are now?

My upbringing taught me how to appreciate real values in people and experiences rather than just materialistic things that are temporary. Understanding that is really important because it helps me stay focused and keep my eyes on the end goal.

With “Zaza,” it feels like your most complete record to date. A relatable tale on wanting intimacy and companionship tied in with soulfulness that fits in today’s R&B landscape. How did the song come about?

The creative process for my single “Zaza” was very quick and smooth. I completed the writing of the song in about 30 minutes. I came across the beat online, and rubyrafsimmons produced it. As soon as I heard it, it drew inspiration through feeling. The euphoric sounds brought back a feeling of being cross-faded. The vocal samples gave me a sensual/romantic feeling. The combination of the two vibes channeled memories of moments where I was out catching a vibe, missing a guy, or thinking of him. Usually, I know the song will be good when I am inspired by the beat because it fully resonates with me. I can come up with something real without effort.

The stories of your records seem very much rooted in reality. Are you ever afraid to let the world hear you relive them creatively?

No, not at all. Creating music is my way of coming to terms with these experiences. It’s the form of expression that I resonate with most. It helps with closure to any emotions I might still have pent up inside of me.

Your previous singles, “Selfish” and “Same Game,” have you singing more than you did on your last album, Rudeness. Is that intentional?

Yes. As I grow and find myself as an individual, my sound is also evolving. I actually began my music career with singing. It’s always been a part of my life. I feel as though, with the last two and these next singles, that I’m just channeling back an evolved version of the sound that I originally started with. Sometimes you try different things and then realize in time that it’s better to stick to what you know best.

What sets you apart from a lot of artists is how you vocally approach your records. When did you decide to go with this stylistically, or does it just come naturally?

Thank you. It definitely just came naturally to me. When I’m in the studio, I like to have fun and try different things in my creative process. If it sticks, it sticks and becomes a part of my cadence/sound.

Can you recall the moment where any doubt you had about your decision to be a full-time artist all went away, or is there a hint of doubt still there?

I’ve never doubted myself, just distractions. When I lose focus, I definitely feel a bit disappointed in myself, but there has never been any doubt. I am confident in my potential.

What’s your best advice for women looking to break into the music industry?

Be confident in what you want. Build a team of solid people who you trust. Be authentic and genuine, and the right people will come to you to help you achieve your goals.

 I noticed that your previous EP, Rude Awakening, was taken off streaming platforms. Why?

That project was done at a time where I was still finding my sound. Also, I wasn’t really sure what I was doing in terms of music and wasn’t serious about it. Once I became serious, I wanted a fresh slate to build from.

What does the next year look like for Rude Nala?

This next year for me is going to be focused on applying pressure, meaning consistency and persistence. I will be dropping music every 4-6 weeks and starting my Youtube channel and other visual content. You will definitely be seeing a lot more of my name!