With zero desire to align herself to one particular genre, Nicola Gaea simply writes music for the soul. Motivated to write music that nourishes her own, Gaea’s ‘Fly’ continues to enrich her existing catalogue. Written a year ago today, ‘Fly’ came at the time of the artist’s hibernation. “I was just beginning my journey into writing again. And I was just thinking about how I feel about the world. How do I feel about living? How do I feel about my connections to my emotions on a day-to-day basis,” she explained.
A jazzy, compelling composition; what grasped my attention was the choice of the saxophone, keys and horns. Provoking an ensemble of warmth, ‘Fly’ is the perfect melody to rock you back to ease and remind you of the importance of being present. Directed by Henry J Kamara, the visuals illustrate how Gaea keeps her cool while the rest of the world falls victim to the rat race. The artist’s gentleness throughout the video captures her essence, which shone brightly during our conversation.
“It was really a difficult time for the world. There was just so much heavy energy. During the period of isolation, I aligned with that, and I felt the weight of it. And so, I just wanted to write a lullaby for myself and a lullaby for the world.So that was the inspiration for writing 'Fly'."
So who is Nicola Gaea?
Nicola Gaea (pronounced GUY.UH) speaks to WEARESOUL to discuss her brand-new single 'Fly'. What began as a conversation that started with the intent of discovering an emerging artist soon transitioned into honest dialogue centring on self-reflection, gratitude and the story of a songbird's strength finding the courage to tell the stories she loves.
With fond memories of “belting Mariah Carey” into her mother’s ears, Nicola Gaea was awarded the title of ‘Songbird’ since she can remember. At age eight, she found herself centre stage reciting the words of ‘Killing Me Softly With His Song’ by the Fugees during her primary school showcase. Her quest through music didn’t necessarily follow a straight path when it came to finding the sound that suited her best. By 15, her vocals landed on dance instrumentals resulting in her questioning her artistry for the first time. “My relationship with music kind of changed,” she told us.
"I think at that age, you take the influences around you, and obviously, you don't have a good understanding of who you are as an individual. So sometimes, it can be quite easy to be misled. I was doing stuff that I didn't love, and because of that, I thought I wasn't good [at music]. So I fell out of love with music [..] Up until I was about 18. I didn't love it. I didn't feel like what I was releasing and writing felt right."
There began her journey of self-exploration in the form of sound. Between 18 to 20, Nicola Gaea indulged in realms where neo-soul met jazz. Marrying the sounds, she recognised the stories she wanted to share. This year the world was reintroduced to Nicola Gaea, as she released her singles 'Soul Sisters', 'Sunday Prayer' then 'Fly'. "I feel very positive and very good about where I am musically at the moment," she told us. "Music has taken over my life like I'm in the studio as much as possible. If I'm not in the studio, I'm researching different things I can learn about the industry and the business. I'm just trying to surround myself with music as much as possible."
Despite the inner work she acquired when rediscovering her sound, our conversation soon centred around why she continues to give her mother flowers for where she is today. “My mom is like my biggest supporter ever. She used to take me to every single thing I wanted to do musically.”
Her mother's music taste led to the exposure to 70s/80s music, Jazz, Soul and Reggae music, providing Gaea with the blueprint for her sounds today. Along with the melodies that flooded her childhood walls, Nicola Gaea's heritage also impacts her craft today. Black and Brown people's attachment to their names is expected. For many of us, it's a map etched out for us to follow the pathway destined for us. Gaea, the Greek spelling for 'Gaia', pays homage to Nicola's Greek Cypriot heritage. With ties to Italy, Cyprus and Guyana, Gaea's authenticity continues to shine through her reinforcement to honour those who came before her. "I really thought about what name I wanted to come out with last year. Gaia, Mother Earth is that connection with something greater than us," she explained. "I've always felt a connection to something more divine and always exploring what it means to be alive. I always try to put those messages in my music. That's the space that I like to write from."
From the elevation, confronting inner demons and finding solitude among soul sisters, Gaea music reinforces the importance of giving thanks to our every day. "When people listen to my music, I want them to just take a second to pause and to just think about living and the present moment and what they're grateful for. I think sometimes we just don't do that enough. So if my music could do that for someone like that's all I could want, that's beautiful," she expressed.
Inspired by today’s musicians like Cleo Sol, Little Simz and Sampha, Nicola Gaea aligns herself with those who understand their craft and simply make room for themselves at the table. Remaining faithful to their individuality while producing sounds for their world is all that Gaea aspires to achieve. Her lyricism alone already reflects the inner lessons she’s grown for. Once put out in the world, Nicola Gaea provides a soundtrack for others going through something similar. Recognising her Divine Feminine through painting, journaling and movement, Gaea also finds being grounded through her loved ones. “My partner plays a huge role in inspiring my creativity.”
He is someone I can express my inner world with, so my relationship with him is also important to me.”
Nicola Gaea is simply writing as a mediator for her soul. While listening to her music, she intentionally makes music for those who find power in their feelings. Operating from a space of honesty and vulnerability is a superpower she doesn't run from. With her next live show coming to a head this December, Gaea intends to continue to be herself. With her mother and other loved ones present in the room, Nicola wishes to have more fun during her next show. "I definitely want it to feel a little bit more free-flowing. I don't want to pre-plan everything."
With 2023 on the horizon, it was only fitting to see if we could glimpse how the artist set out to make the most of the new year. "I've written a lot of music, so definitely the EP is coming next year. More singles. More videos," she told us.
We look forward to seeing how Nicola Gaea continues to set the tone with her artistry.