MISS and Nola Darling together again! If you are an avid MISS reader then you know we have a huge crush on these ladies! We have been waiting for almost 3 years to get new music from Nola Darling and with the release of “STFU (Start the Riot),” we got that and more. Trust me though – it is just the tip of the iceberg. Their new release is sure to be a pivotal EP from the girls of Nola Darling. The bi-coastal duo has been very busy writing, working and finding inspiration with a new production partner, Kwame, for this new release. Now residing in Los Angeles full time, Alex and Jaq have begun work on enough material for 2 full lengths and are ready to get their music out to the world. I was lucky enough to check the girls out last week at Little Temple Bar in LA for their showcase; beforehand we chatted about life, loves and the pursuit of power.
MISS: Is there a consistent message you feel is important to you tell in your music?
Jaq: Absolutely! There are a few different messages we feel are important to speak to. 1) Girls are people, too! We feel really strongly about that shit.
Alex: There’s no middle ground where you can be a normal person. You’re either hyper-sexualized like a Lil’ Kim or super thugged-out – and that’s cool too, but that’s not what we are. And I think a voice like ours has been missing in hip-hop for a long time. It is a man’s world but we’re learning to take our power back.
Jaq: That’s the whole point of Nola Darling, anyways. It’s about telling one’s story ourselves. It’s about being the subject not the object.
MISS: That’s right! I’ve read that your name, Nola Darling, comes from the Spike Lee film She’s Gotta Have It – only you are looking to tell her story from the female perspective.
Alex: We love Spike Lee’s work, but at the same time felt like the character Nola kind of got the shit end of the stick. She had a rough time. So basically we like to think we are telling the next chapter of her story.
Jaq: It’s not about men defining who she is, its about us defining for ourselves who we are as women and human beings. Taking that and showing the world.
Alex: As women in today’s society we still define ourselves by the men we are with, and that’s fucking bullshit. It’s over and that time is coming to an end. So for us it is about the journey – accepting who you are and embracing your power as a woman. Because if every woman did that and we stuck together, really, this would be a woman’s world. And it shall be.
MISS: So new album? It’s been a little while since your last release; what are the inspirations and influences?
Jaq: Right, we put out a mixtape in 2008 – produced by Melo X – and since that time we have done a lot of exploring, a lot of focusing and zeroing in on what we really want to do. We knew what it was – it just took meeting the right person and the right person for us was Kwame.
Alex: Kwame fully stepped into our world. What he created with us sounds nothing like the rest of his catalog or any of the things he has done. What he created with us was for us and it was incredibly amazing. This album is like the continuation and a volume two of the mixtape. We brought the ancestors with us on this, it’s heavily influenced with different sounds. We love to blend genres so you’ll hear a lot of Afro-beat, traditional Haitian rhythms, dance hall, house. It’s a really nice blend that just works. We’ve had a lot of time to grow and live as young women over the past three to four years. That journey is really chronicled on this album. We’ve gone through a lot – from relationships to personal growth to accepting your flaws and turning them into positives. Because that is what it is all about as women. We try to write from a personal space and where we are; hopefully other men and women can connect with that. We just keep hearing the same stories so we know we aren’t the only ones. That’s how we know it is important for us to tell it.
MISS: What’s inspiring your style?
Jaq: That is a great question and maybe the hardest! We are just being ourselves.
Alex: Clothing should be fun. Most of my life, clothes were not a fun thing and I spent a lot of time hiding in my clothes. Now I just want to have a good time and feel comfortable and feel good. Everyday what I put on reflects my mood, so hopefully I am in a good mood. Haha.
Jaq: We are just living our little girl fantasy of dressing up. It’s not that serious to us. Whatever works for you works for you.
Right after our interview I was able to hear Alex and Jaq perform 5 new tracks – all amazing. They weren’t lying about bringing back their ancestors, the Afrobeat-Haitian-dance-hall-house mixes were right on point. Expect this new release to be on repeat at house parties on both coasts. Also in the house was our own Rocky Rivera! Looking and sounding better than ever, she rocked a packed room with her “fan favorites” and a new cover of Rihanna’s “Man Down” – loved it! Rocky is about to tear it up on even more stages this fall touring the west coast – all the way to Hawaii.
Check out this live video from the night!
- Women Making History: Jaq & Alex of Nola Darling
- Behind the Scenes: Nola Darling Makes a Music Video
- M.I.S.S. TV: Nola Darling Photo Shoot – Behind the Scenes
- We Got The Beat: Nola Darling’s “Pretty Gritty Mini Mixtape”
- M.I.S.S. TV: Nola Darling at SOBs in New York