SOTBMusic: An Interview with Nighlawn

Over two years ago, I came in contact with Virginia’s Nighlawn and her Purple Elixir project. It was, to put it mildly, one of my favorite projects of 2016. Over the next few years, I heard rumblings about the follow-up and other moves she had coming down the pipeline. As with anything, you can’t rush perfection, and 2017 and 2018 came and went without a project. I was a bit disappointed, even opting to revisit Purple Elixir for what seemed like the 35th time. 

However, she, as bluntly as she could, said that there wasn’t a new project because she needed flame emojis on the boards and some other things (more on that in a bit). That’s admirable and, truth be told, a big thing to say, as artists will often try to make mediocre production and songs in general ride just for the sake of getting something out there to the masses. 

Since my first encounter with Nighlawn, we’ve been cool, and I’ve always marveled at her personality and have tried to get her on the site to speak her peace, either about her music or her path as an indie artist, since the first time we talked. 2019 marks the first time Nighlawn has been on to tell her story outside of just her music. From her mouth to your eyes, this is her story and her journey.

Speed: So, are you ready to talk to the world about your creative process and the wave you’re on yet or nah? I mean, we’ve been talking about doing this interview for a minute.

Nighlawn: I am ready.

Speed: Oh, Thank God! Otherwise, I thought I’d have to creep your IG and comment on all your pics “so about that interview?” Kidding, of course, but still. Let’s just jump into it. Where have you been since Purple Elixir?

Nighlawn: I’ve been establishing a team of people I trust.

Speed: That’s always a good thing. Are they just artists or is it a mix of artists and–no Kanye–free thinkers?

Nighlawn: Nah, no artists.

Speed: Well, that’s probably for the best. Don’t need a million folks telling you “oh Nighlawn you need to do THIS sound (because it sounds like something I’d do and you’d never touch because it’s kinda at its core wack).” How has the evolution been, though, into an artist with a trustworthy support system from where you were when you started 2018?

Nighlawn: Well what I can say is that I’m more confident than ever, and my team–especially my manager–made me realize that my sound is most definitely one of a kind, in the DMV and everywhere else for that matter. I always make music, you know? Not just songs. Everything I wrote has a story, even if you can’t hear it that way. I’m excited, I literally have my own lane.

Speed: That’s something I’ve seen in you and your music since the first time I came across your music. It’s unique as hell and your whole energy is always on point. How do you balance that vibe with one upping the last track?

Nighlawn: Thank you. Unfortunately, I didn’t really notice how bomb I was until summer of 2018. Yeah, I know. Wild. Honestly though, it’s easy to balance the vibe because writing comes so natural to me as soon as I hear a beat I really love. Each and every song is beyond different from the last, I’m actually writing all these hits by accident.

I write them and I’m like “Wow, this is trashhhhh.” And then, I play it to my team to show them how weak it is and everybody is like “WTF? This is a hit.” Before, I usually had more people agreeing with me. Don’t get me wrong. I still wrote trash songs but it isn’t as frequent as I thought.

Speed: It takes a while for people to catch up to their own greatness when they’re in the middle of it all. Not gassing you up, of course, because that’s corny. But wait? You really ain’t think Purple Elixir was bomb?

Nighlawn: Yeah my growth is wild wild. Nobody is even hip, for real. And nah, Purple Elixir was tight, but nah. I wouldn’t say “bomb.” Issa bop, though.

Speed: That it is. So if that was dope and the growth that we’re yet to see is amazing…I’m scared for the game.

Nighlawn: Shit, I’m scared myself. The growth isn’t even something I imagined would be this way.

Speed: What do you mean? Just that it kinda came out of nowhere or…?

Nighlawn: Yeah, cause I had actually quit music without really announcing it. However, my manager was like “Nah, you have a gift I refuse to let you waste this talent as long as I can help.” He told me to trust him and I agreed to let him help me. Once I had the backing, a team that believed in me, it was over. I have ALL the necessary tools to win, and it’s gonna come out of nowhere this year–not to me, but to people who thought I’d never make it, you know? It’s gonna be dope, for sure.

Speed: I didn’t know you quit music though. Damn,why all my friends and musical family have that moment of self-doubt? Artists–and people in general–take notes. It’s hella real and can kill you if you’re not careful. I’m definitely happy to see you going hard on it after coming back into the fold. Your manager is good people. Can I ask why you quit or is that something you’d rather keep to yourself?

Nighlawn: I just didn’t have a team and being a female artist, by myself, for years wasn’t working. It’s stressful as fuck.

Speed: True enough. I’ve heard that from a few other women artists. Either they want you to be Rapsody and have bars for days or be Cardi and be aggressive but still sexy—not a slight to either artist because they’re both amazing—and if you don’t fit neatly into a box, they, listeners and executives, don’t know what to do with you.

How has it been for you as a female artist? You’re one of the first women artists I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing. I know you’ve probably got to deal with folks thinking they can run over or through you but what are some things you’ve had to deal with just because you’re a woman in the rap game?

Nighlawn: It’s been really exhausting but worth it, because now I have a clear vision. I’ve had to deal with people who were around me because of how I look and what they think I could offer them when in reality I don’t be giving nobody the time of day. I know the immediate difference between people who genuinely support me and people who are trying to ride waves. It wasn’t clear before because I was still new and not as confident. But now, it’s only up from here man. Literally, 2019 is definitely ’bout to be a vibe. I’m ready.

Speed: So outside of the music, where do your interests lie? I mean, I know work and being a good person and turning up when need be, but what else?

Nighlawn: I meditate a lot, I engage in outer body experiences, I read frequently and I am very family oriented.

Speed: Family is key. You only get one, whether you’re born into it or you’re adopted into it–in one way or another. What are you reading at the moment?

Nighlawn: It’s called Maintaining Peace. I get all my books from the Nifty Thrifty.

Speed: I need some more peace in my life so when you’re done pass that my way lol.

Nighlawn: Like shit.

Speed: As an aside, I agree with you. We’ve gotta leave “periodt” in 2018.

Nighlawn: Yeah, I never used to say that stupid shit.

Speed: Everyone wants to be “funny” instead of being themselves online. Mob mentality-ass shit. Sad when you think about it.

Nighlawn: This is true.

Speed: Do you have a title for the new project yet?

Nighlawn: I have a name, but you can’t have all the juice.

Speed: Fair enough. I’ll wait like a commoner for the name, then. It’s coming, though, y’all. Be patient.

One last question. Since I try to end every interview I do on a positive note, if you had to impart wisdom onto the next generation of artists who’ll follow you, what advice would you give them?

Nighlawn: Always follow your instincts and believe in yourself first before you trust what anyone else has to say. And always surround yourself with people you can trust outside of your craft.

Stay tuned to Nighlawn’s IG for updates on her upcoming project and her moves.

Speed on the Beat

Whatever you need to know about me, you can find out on Dad of two, cat dad (of two), mental health advocate, Team Support Dope Music in All Its Forms.

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