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Nailah Blackman: Redefining Soca for a Global Stage

Nailah Blackman, the vibrant Trinidadian artist, is making waves across the music world with her dynamic fusion of traditional soca rhythms and contemporary influences. Recently signed with Republic Records and debuting her single "Pressure," Nailah reflects on her journey and aspirations in an exclusive interview.

Nailah Blackman

Photography Courtesy of @carlosalexanderphotography

Words by Angel Neal @angel_stylistbehavior

Make-Up by Beauty Dreams by Mekelia

Hair Tanisha Kojo

Stylist Nailah Blackman

As the granddaughter of Ras Shorty I, the creator of soca, Nailah acknowledges her family's profound influence: "My journey in soca is a tribute to my grandfather's legacy. It's about carrying forward our culture and identity through music. As she's ready to embrace a wider auidence she says, "I signed with BMR Records, a Republic partner, and I'm thrilled about the new avenues my music will explore," Nailah beams. "It's exhilarating to see my music reach more ears and hearts worldwide." *

Nailah Blackman

Nailah's collaborations span genres from reggae to dancehall, enriching her creative process: "Collaborations blend talents, cultures, and fanbases. They've broadened my musical horizons and inspired me to innovate within soca."

My approach to soca is natural," Nailah explains. "I let diverse influences flow freely into my music, creating a contemporary sound while honoring soca's roots."

"Soca is about joy and living in the moment," Nailah reflects. "I aim to expand its global presence, making it more inclusive and emotionally resonant."

 Nailah's Lah Lah Land initiative aims to nurture creativity in children: "It's about providing a space where kids can dream freely and develop their potential."

Future Aspirations and Challenges Faced 

"I aspire to showcase the beauty of Trinidadian culture globally," Nailah shares. "Navigating fame was challenging, but I've learned to stay true to myself and my art." The challenge I faced as an artist was keeping up with change. Things change so quickly in my lifestyle that I didn’t understand how to adjust to my own personal changes. I think after I got popular I began to feel like I no longer knew myself, as everything changed so did I. I was always working and there was no time keep up with who I was becoming. I felt very lost and wanted to be able to share who I was as an artist, but I was in a completely new and uncharted space. Now I finally understand it’s all in the mind and that was the hardest part. I had to take control from the beginning and just be who I wanted and create whatever I wanted to create. You will find your art when you find yourself.

Advice for Aspiring Musicians 

"Trust your instincts," Nailah advises. "Embrace what moves you deeply and let that passion guide your musical journey."

Excited about upcoming projects and collaborations, Nailah anticipates new stages and experiences: "I want to introduce the world to the rich stories and rhythms of the Caribbean." Nailah Blackman's journey is not just about music; it's a cultural odyssey, celebrating tradition while embracing innovation. As she continues to inspire through her artistry and advocacy, Nailah leaves an indelible mark on the global music scene, heralding a new era for soca.

My creative process is simple, I don’t overthink music. I have had many musical influences from Jazz, Pop, Folk, hip hop, calypso, Indian classical, Alternative and Rock music. Music come naturally to me so my approach to soca music is to be myself. Whatever my influences are, let them shine and find its place in the song I’m doing. Soca music was birthed in the 70s, it is an evolution of calypso with a mixture of East Indian and African rhythms. Soca today is now the sound of the Caribbean. I am from the Caribbean, born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, I know who I am and I own my identity in whatever genre I choose to create. Soca needed to grow and evolve naturally. Most genres are driven by the new generation of artists to reinvent and reignite the culture and Soca has been missing that youthful perspective for some time. That is exactly what I brought to the genre with my contemporary influences and I hope to continue inspire young artist to explore and be different in genre.

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