Niykee Heaton returns with a new, three-song EP, Starting Over (Capitol Records), which – as the title suggests – marks a turning point for the young Chicago-born artist. Recorded with such producers as Charlie Handsome (Post Malone, Mac Miller, Young Thug), the EP’s hypnotic, sophisticated sound is perfectly suited to Niykee’s intimate lyrics. Download /stream Starting Over HERE.
Amid soulful guitar tones and smoldering R&B grooves, the emotional title track/lead single underscores the realization that a fresh start isn’t possible without putting an end to a relationship that’s been one long loop of break-ups and make-ups.
“Most of the time I sing in a sort of growl, but I wanted to make ‘Starting Over’ a full-on power ballad,” says Niykee. “I really pushed the boundaries of what I usually do and sang it in a totally different way.”
In the past, Niykee was quick to accept the blame, as she details in the dreamy slow-burner “Bad Guy.” “It has been a theme in my life – accepting the role of being the bad guy, just because it makes it easier for other people,” she explains.
While “Bad Guy” unfolds with a heartfelt intensity, laying the song down made Niykee realize that she had finally moved on from that role. Recording the song was so cathartic, she decided to make a last-minute change to the name of the EP, originally titled Bad Guy. By naming it Starting Over, Niykee has marked a new era in her music and life, one that’s defined by true vulnerability and self-love.
She penned her first song at age 5 and soon discovered that music offered an escape from the difficulties she faced in childhood, including bullying at school, being taught to hate herself, abuse and the loss of an older sibling. Not long after teaching herself to play guitar – and giving herself vocal training by singing along to a Diana Ross greatest-hits CD – Niykee began creating her own material and posting covers on YouTube. Her acoustic rendition of Chief Keef’s “Love Sosa” wound up on WorldstarHipHop, and instantly drew interest from a host of record labels.
Niykee made her major label debut with the single “Bad Intentions,” which has since been certified Gold by the RIAA. Migos’ remix of the track appeared on her mixtape, The Bedroom Tour Playlist. Success has not made her immune to adversity, but she’s found a way to cope.
“When I feel like something might break me, it keeps me going to remind myself why I started making music in the first place – just remembering all the girls out there who had tough childhoods, too, and relate to what I’ve been through,” says Niykee. “I want to keep writing songs for those girls, so that they know that someone else understands exactly what they’re feeling.”
Track Listing – Starting Over
2. Bad Guy
3. Starting Over