in , ,

Interview: Nigerian multi-hyphenate artist Nissi knows she’s all-that

The London-living artist dishes on opening for her brother, Burna Boy and the makings of the new single ‘Higher’

Photos: Courtesy of the publicist
Photos: Courtesy of the publicist

Last month, Nigerian singer-songwriter Nissi sat with GRUNGECAKE to discuss her multi-hyphenate status, which she is proud of. The musician, painter, animator and entrepreneur with over ten million plays under her belt is GRAMMY-Award-winning global superstar Burna Boy’s kid sister and is currently opening for him on tour. When she isn’t glowing through her live performances in front of tens of thousands of people or designing and engineering for Range Rover and designing for Havana Club, she collaborates with global stars like Belgium’s Stromae, South Africa’s Major League DJz, and upcoming London’s Backroad Gee. During our time together, she spoke to me about the differences between her hometown and London, opening for her big brother during the Love, Damini Tour, what she may have learned about herself on tour, and her new music.

GRUNGECAKE: Okay, so you are a multi-hyphenate, and just reading that, and seeing that excites me. I love when women are just doing the things. There are so many incredible things in your bio. Are you able to break it all down for us—starting with what you are most proud of?

Nissi: Oh, I’m proud of everything. So, I mean—breaking it down—I, I’m guessing you’ve seen obviously, the music, art–

GRUNGECAKE: The painting, art. Yep.

Nissi: Yeah, music arts. I’m guessing you’ve seen some things about entrepreneurship with the animation film production studio.


Nissi: Creative and, then, automotive engineering.


Nissi: Yeah. Then, of course, product design things is—pretty much, yeah. That’s, that’s it in a nutshell.

GRUNGECAKE: I love how you’re like, yeah, that’s it! I also see here that you worked with Stromae—

Nissi: Yes.

GRUNGECAKE: And then, Major League DJz and Backroad Gee. Could you tell me like, what was it like working with those artists?

Nissi: I always been a huge fan of Stromae. He’s a phenomenal artist. So, being on tour with him was great! Backroad Gee, solid guy. My UK brother. Major League DJz, the South African DJ duo, just the best guys. Oh, it was very organic.

GRUNGECAKE: Okay. Very nice. And you are currently living in London. What are the differences between there and like where you grew up?

Nissi: There’s a lot of differences. Uh, uh, and then obviously, the times have been different. Yeah. So I’ve, I’ve lived in London for about 12 years. So me, my knowledge of living in Nigeria is very much like between and below. So it’s, it’s a bit, it is a bit different. I haven’t lived life as an adult in my life as an adult here. But I guess everything, everything works quite separately. The pace is different; the structure is different. The way people behave is very different, as well.

GRUNGECAKE: Artists and songwriters typically have great stories surrounding the makings of their music or what inspired them to make a song. What inspired ‘Higher’?

Nissi: ‘Higher’ was a song I wanted to be made to really allow people express the badasses in them. You know, going back to how I always describe it, like, we all are very much people that like to concentrate too much on where we fall short. That’s a human trait. You fixate a lot more on the bad than the good. And I wanted ‘Higher’ to be a song that made you just focus on the things that you’ve achieved, the things that you’ve done. I’m guilty of doing that as well. So, have a moment to brag about yourself a little bit. Feel yourself.

GRUNGECAKE: That’s right!

Nissi: And yeah, just elevate, elevate your mood and elevate the way you see yourself.

GRUNGECAKE: Definitely! How has it been on tour for you? Do you think that you’ve learned anything new about yourself through the process?

Nissi: Yeah, it’s really… I love it. I knew it, but, obviously, the more you do it, the more you realize, okay, this is for me.


Nissi: Yeah. So, I guess if I’ve learned anything, it’s that this is like a US change for me. So yeah, it’s been great. I’m looking forward to doing more.

GRUNGECAKE: Very nice, how is it opening for Burna Boy? Any pressure at all?

Nissi: There’s never any pressure. Like, I mean, the first time I did was 2018. I did O2. then I’ve done quite a number.


Nissi: So, at this point, it’s like, um, you know, I know how it goes.


Nissi: But obviously, the crowd is different, the energy is different, and locations are different. It’s always exciting.

GRUNGECAKE: Yes, you have some upcoming dates as well. Like, are you… I wanna know specifically about the Citi Field show. Are you excited about that one?

Nissi: I’m excited about everyone!

GRUNGECAKE: Got you. Got you got,

Nissi: Don’t, don’t make me pick! I’m excited about every show!

GRUNGECAKE: (Laughs) Well, ’cause I’m from New York City, so I’m like, okay, I see a New York date on there. So, I’m like, New York—

Nissi: New York— New York’s energy is oof!

GRUNGECAKE: Yes. It’s gonna be different, a bad one. Yes, it is. I love it! I listened to your single a few times, and I’m like, okay. All right. This is very good. So, I’m looking forward to—

Nissi: Yeah, definitely.

GRUNGECAKE: Looking forward to hearing more. Do you have any more music coming? Is this like a single from a project, like an EP or anything?

Nissi: Yeah, this is one of the singles of the upcoming projects, which would you be out this Summer. So looking, looking, looking forward to everybody listening. Especially you two.

GRUNGECAKE: You got it!

In June, Nissi performed live at BergenFest, Bergen in Norway, at GelreDome Stadium in Arnhem, Netherlands, and AfroNation Festival in Portimao, Portugal. This weekend on July 8, she will light up the stage with her confidence at Citifield Stadium in New York City and conclude her tour schedule at the Afro Nation Festival in Detroit, Michigan, on August 19.

Written by Richardine Bartee

Her unprejudiced love for people, the arts, and business have taken her this far. Join Richardine on her journey as she writes history into existence, one article at a time. Richardine is a member of the Recording Academy/GRAMMYs, and a GRAMMY U Mentor. She is the North American Press Agent and US Business Manager for Oxlade; Follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Tyga, YG and Blxst keep the West Coast bussin’ with this Summer banger

GRUNGECAKE’s Pick of the Week #6