Saturday, November 16, 2013

Nicole 'Netay' Simmons

The first thing you notice is those eyes. They are mesmerizing; piercing, with the ability to see right through a person. If you can get past the eyes, then you notice the tattoos. After that, you see the long slender body that has probably been the wet dream of many a man that has crossed her path.

But if all you see is the beauty and the physical of Nicole ‘Netay’Simmons, you have seriously missed the point.

She is NETAY, OK?

The 2006 Kimberly High School grad (and Chicago Bears fan) has been rocking mics
and stages since 2008. From tearing up the stage with groups like Pluto and him&her, to her time with camps like On Da Right Trak (ODRT), Simmons is a veteran in the game, and it shows in her music. She is a throwback artist at a young age, an old school soul. She refuses to use profanity in her music. Her influences include some of the titans of old school hip hop.

Her ups and downs in the industry go from getting extensive airtime for her songs on 95.9 KISS FM to being booed out of a venue while on tour. From a split with ODRT to being on the ground floor of the explosion of Heavyweight Entertainment.

A single mother of a five year old son, Netay (pronounced ‘KNEE-tay’) will be ‘Married to the Music’ literally, in December. That is when her first ever mixtape drops, and according to her, the accompanying party is going to “huge”.

Like I said, she is NETAY, OK?

What is going on in the life of Nicole?

A LOT of big things. “Married to the Music” will be my mixtape coming out in December. It is my first ever mixtape, so I am really, really excited about it. We have lots of big shows coming up. I am now with Heavyweight Entertainment, so we have lots of big things. We have Trina coming in on the 7th, so we will be doing a show with her. We have the Up and Coming Tour with DJ Unk. Lots of things in the works right now.

When did you first fall in love with music?

I have been writing all my life, but I started music in 2008. I don’t know if you ever heard of them, but there was this group out called Pluto. There were in a living room and everyone was kind of microphone freestyling and thought ‘I can do this’. So I rapped something that I wrote and they thought it was good. Ever since then, I couldn’t leave it alone.

Who are some of your musical influences?

Lauryn Hill, Definitely. Remy Ma. Really, any old school female artist. Biggie, Ludacris. Tupac. Not so much as an influence, but because of the old school aspect.

Describe YOUR music.

 I would have to say alternative hip hop. Old School hip hop. The one thing I think is different from other female mc’s is I do kind of gear my music towards a younger crowd. I don’t like to swear in my music. I like it radio-ready. So I can perform places where there are kids and families and it is appropriate. That is what makes me different from everyone else.

Name an artist, alive or dead, that you would want to do a song with?

Hands down. Biggie Smalls. He is amazing. He is old school. He switches things up. He takes beats and makes songs that no one would think are cool and make them cool. He is an amazing lyricist. I love him.

One song that describes your life?

That is a tough question. I will be honest with you and have to say “Whatcha Doin”. The things that I talk about in that song, perhaps I have tried that and really hasn’t worked. Now I am telling everyone else why are you doing it that way? What are YOU doing with your life? Haven’t you seen the things that I have seen? IT does describe my life, I am just turning it around and portraying it for other to see and kinda look at themselves.

As a fan, what was your first concert?

Please don’t judge me (laughing) but Hanson. I was REALLY young and I was a big fan. Don’t bash me for that one. I was a young girl and everyone loved Hanson back then.

You are making a mix tape of your all-time favorite songs. What is the first song on it and why?

Married to the Music’. It is basically the anthem to my mix tape and it is just an amazing song. It breaks down the fact that we are in love with the music and this is what we are all about. It comes at the end of December.

What are some of the good things, in your mind, about the music scene in this area?

There is definitely lots of buzz going on. Lots of very talented artists. There are a lot of big artists coming into the area. I think there is a lot of….inspiration. When you see a big artist perform, it inspires everybody else. It’s ‘why don’t WE do that.’ I have seen a lot of good things in the last couple months and the scene in this area is growing. It inspires me to get my stuff out there and want to be those openings acts and get my music out there.

What are some of the things that need to be improved about the music scene?

I think it’s too repetitive. A lot of the times it's just ‘ok, it’s another show at another club with all the same people. UGH. I think there needs to be new ideas and different groups collabing with groups that NO ONE would think they would collab with. Something different; step out of the box. That is what this area is lacking.

Best performance you ever gave?

I would have to say Chicken fest. We were with the Undiscovered Tour. My family was there and a bunch of kids and you just don’t get that very often. We rocked the stage, and when we came off, they were asking for autographs. It was one of the best things I ever experienced.

Worst show you ever did?

It was also on the Undiscovered Tour, I don’t remember where we were but we will call it Unwanted, WI. They played the wrong track for me, and I just went with it. The bar, which was basically a biker bar, said they did not LIKE hip hop, and literally shut me off mid song and booed me out of the place.

Tell me about him&her.

Oh boy (laughs.) That was a different stage in my life. Definitely had a lot of new experiences with that. Ummmm, listening to my music, I have definitely matured over the years. It was a good experience and it gave me a little taste of what the musical world was really about. That was my big step of really getting into music. But I kind of drew away from that because I was getting pushed into a way I didn’t want to go in music. I just had to step back and re-evaluate myself as an artist.

The things that you learned through that experience, how does that help you now?

I think I have more of a grasp of the basics of music. Of the industry and how things work. Things like going about booking shows and promoting myself. I took a lot of that out of it, and it was a good experience. Again, with the maturing factor in my music and how I come across in my music.
Tell me about Swaggatrotious?
I can’t even talk about that song. That is in my past. It was a cool song when it came out. We kinda took bits and pieces of other songs and made it cool.

Swaggatrotious got some serious airtime on 95.9. What was that like the first time you heard yourself on the radio?

I kinda laughed. It was cool that I was on the radio. I was PUMPED. One of my other songs when I was with Pluto, Kitty Cat, was also on the radio and won the battle one week when it went up against another song. It was cool that I was on the radio. Hopeful for some more airtime soon.

You have rocked with ODRT and Heavyweight Entertainment. What have you learned about yourself from those camps?

I have learned where my priorities lie. I don’t want to say anything negative, because I give props to every one of those people; there is no hard feelings (with the ODRT camp). It’s just I needed things as an artist and I wasn’t able to develop the proper way. And I learned that I need to take a step in a different direction. The experience made me a little bit of a more out of the box type of thinker. I appreciate everything they have done for me.

When it comes to women in hip-hop, what do you thing is missing?

A positive role model. That positive influence in music to bring it back to hip hop and what music is really all about and NOT trying to project those images. We all have kids. Would you want your kids listening to f-this and f-that and I do drugs. I feel like that positive influence or image for young ladies is missing.

When all this is said and done, what do you want people to say about you?

I want people to say that I was the one person that made a difference in music. I don’t just want to be another musician or another artist. I want to make a difference. I want you to be able to listen to my music and say ‘wow, she really made an impact in my life’. I want to make people think about things and make a positive change in people’s lives.

1 comment:

  1. Dope Interview!! I never heard her music, Im going to definitely check her out. Only... I really dislike unloyal artists. Being a CEO myself.. I hate to see artists jump ship after ship (labels). Sometimes its hard to find a good fit... But thats why artists should research a group before they just commit to representing that camp.