Raised in Oregon but now based in London, 17-year-old artist Nyah Grace demonstrates her world class potential with the release of her debut single ‘Black Coffee’.
Citing the likes of Lauryn Hill, Billie Holiday, D’Angelo and Ella Fitzgerald as influences, ‘Black Coffee’sounds like an artist with years of experience behind her. Nyah’s voice is the star of the show: rich, evocative, tender and sensual, it’s a remarkable gift for any artist, let alone one so young. The spacious, organic production complements that voice, but what’s most surprising of all is that ‘Black Coffee’ is just the third full song that she ever wrote, back when she was 14-years-old.
“I started writing it about a friend who I stopped being friends with,” she recalls. “It could be interpreted as being about a boyfriend, but it’s mostly about growing apart in a relationship. You’d like for there not to be that distance between you, but little things like black coffee remind you of them.”
The song’s meaning has continued to evolve for Nyah since it was first written. She grew up in Monmouth, Oregon to a family steeped in the farming tradition – although her great aunt was a hugely successful backing vocalist in the ‘70s, singing for Chic at their peak. Her parents had some interest in music (‘80s hits for her mum, old school rap for her dad), but her destiny was shaped when she began singing lessons as a child and her teacher encouraged her to try some jazz standards. She’s been hooked ever since.
As she summarises, “Music is something that I’ve always loved, it’s been so deeply ingrained in me since I was six. It’s my first and only passion.”