Major: Women and Gender Studies
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
MG: Tell us about your music.
NB: I’ve been writing songs and recording them since I was 13. I released a couple EPs with my friends but my last EP was produced by Chris Mullings who worked with The Neighbourhood and some other artists. So now I’m writing a lot and I’m actually recording again. This time it’s a little different because I’m working with a producer on a project that I hope will go somewhere with my friend Steven, who’s also a student here, and his friend Ryan, who he used to be in a band with called Pacific Air. But now we’re working on some music and I hope that releases soon.
More than anything though, I’ve been learning. Learning, evolving, and growing since I’ve been at college, which has been very influential for my music and what I write about. It’s made my music more informed and political which is what I want to do. I read some great texts and Jessica Valenti wrote an amazing chapter that changed my life about how life shouldn’t be so focused on you finding your mate of the opposite gender, whatever that means, and in high school, going to an all girls school, I just didn’t have the context to understand that and I just kept getting hurt in stupid ways. I think it was important for me to go through that and I’ve definitely grown from it as well. The break up song before was, ‘I heard your footsteps leaving before you walked away’, and now its like, ‘Thank you for your cooperation but I think that I’m the one. I think that I’m the one for me. Just being independent.’
MG: Who are some of your inspirations?
NB: I love Joni Mitchell. Joni Mitchell is a beautiful songwriter and she took a lot of creative control over her career in a time where women weren’t given creative control, but she went after it for herself and she took her career by the reigns. I just have endless admiration for that, she writes the most beautiful lyrics in the world. Politically, I love Bell Hooks. Everyone should read, ‘Feminism Is for Everybody’ and ‘All About Love’. They changed my life. She’s a beautiful intersectional feminist.
MG: What’s your favorite class this semester?
NB: Film, Gender, and Sexuality. But honestly I’m taking so many good classes. I designed my major so I enjoy every class I take, haha. But Film, Gender and Sexuality is rocking my world because it’s basically combining everything I love. It’s criticizing film in a way that I haven’t done before and you kind of just unearth how much film has affected you as a person growing up. Now I’m analyzing and actively searching for themes especially related to sexuality and gender expression, it’s the best thing in the world. I’m loving it. We just watched “Paris is Burning”. An amazing film about the drag scene in New York. It’s incredible!
Check out Niki’s music at: https://soundcloud.com/nikiblack/