Nina Sky: Q & A
Natalie Floral top: H&M; High waist shorts: Cass; Earing: Dr. Romanelli & Disney; Bangles: Alexis Bitar
Nicole Top: Cheap Monday; Floral Leggins: Cheap Monday; Necklaces: Dr Romanelli & Disney; Cuff & bracelet: Vintage; Sneakers: Converse
Twins Nicole and Natalie have come a long way since releasing the 2004 summer hit “Move Ya Body.” Now eight years after the release of their debut album Nina Sky is still making us move our bodies. The duo is currently preparing to release their second album, entitled Nicole and Natalie, on July 31 of this year. The native New Yorkers took time out to give us the scoop on their new independent album release.
Inked: How has your music changed since you first started?
Nicole: We always call ourselves an R&B based group, that’s our foundation, but we love all genres of music. If you listen to our first album it was a very R&B based album but after that we began to experiment with a lot of other sounds. We did “Move Ya Body,” which is a reggae-influenced song and the same year we did a song with Alchemist and a song with N.O.R.E, which is a reggaeton song. More recently we collaborated with Creep, which I don’t even know how to describe their music, but it was completely opposite from our music, a little darker than the sounds that we are use to but it still has the foundation, the R&B foundation. We have just collaborated with lots of different types of artist since the beginning so we are still an R&B based group but if you asked how our music has changed, we have just collaborated with lots of artist from different genres.
Inked: So, tell me about your new project?
Natalie: Our new project is called Nicole and Natalie. We’re really excited about it; Nicole is showcasing her producing skills for the first time. She actually produced our next single “Heartbeat.” We [also] worked with Bo Vallis, Slim Willy, we have a song with Salaam Remi. We have worked with a bunch of other dope producers and we are just excited to drop it.
Nicole: The album is an R&B based album like we said before but this time it’s a lot more personal. The content that we are talking about on this album is based on our own personal experiences [throughout] the last 8 years. When we wrote our first album it was all based on what we saw going on around us. We were 18-years-old, fresh out of high school, beginning college; we didn’t have that much life experience. Now it’s based on our travels, we have been in love and it’s a very personal album, that’s why we named it Nicole and Natalie. The first single, “Daydreaming,” is more like a trippy R&B feeling song, and the next single “Heartbeat,” is more upbeat. So musically it really represents all of our emotions and that’s what’s cool about it.
Inked: What are some of the themes for the next album?
Nicole: The themes for the next album, I said before it’s based on our own personal experiences, like we have a song called “on empty,” which is a total depressing song.
Natalie: It’s just about when your relationship is on empty, you know, “I can’t take this,” it’s just venting. Then we have daydreaming, which is about being with someone but fantasizing about someone else, like your cheating but only in your mind. The next song “heartbeat,” is just about being in a situation, any kind of relationship where you are just down and out and your trying and you have given your all, and you’ve given you heart and it’s not until you let go of this that you realize that it’s not worth trying anymore and then you can feel your heartbeat again.
Nicole: I think it’s cool because you hear the album and you just go through every emotion with us. I think that anyone could appreciate when you can actually feel the emotion of the personal that wrote it.
Natalie Top: Bebe; Bottoms: Urban Outfitters; Jewelry: Dr. Romanelli & Disney collaboration; Shoes: Hernan Lander
Inked: What made you decide to go independent?
Natalie: We were signed to Polo Grounds and it just wasn’t working. Our visions were different; we weren’t vibing off of each other anymore, so we just decided to cut cords. We have been pretty good doing stuff ourselves, we’re fortunate to have a dope management team behind us and we put our all into everything we do so it just worked out. When we were there, we did hustle as independent artist as well, we shot two videos one for “On Some Bullshit,” and one for “Beautiful People” and hired people to do the work that the label was suppose to do.
Nicole: We realized the only thing that the label has that we don’t have is access to a lot of money and in this time, with the internet and having direct access to your fans via Twitter, Facebook, Instragram, YouTube all of that, if we are on it enough, we can continue our own movement. Yeah we don’t have the hundreds of dollars that they have to put into a project but we have passion and all of our money is going right back into it. At the end of the day if everything pops off then it’s even more fulfilling, it’s much more rewarding because we did it on our own.
Inked: You recently collaborated with Action Bronson, tell me a little bit about that.
Nicole: The way that the Action Bronson collaboration came together was [through] Statik Selektah, who produced the record. He sent it to us and we were like this sounds cool and we wrote the hook, recorded to hook and sent back the reference. The way that we work is that we just get involved in stuff that we actually like and we think is cool, it’s not about who you are as an artist, if we like the way it sounds and we like what you are doing we get involved in it. We only met him after we had already recorded the song, the song had been mastered, but he is actually really really cool.
Inked: What do you enjoy about working with other artists?
Nicole: It’s cool to work with different artists because they bring out different sides of you, when we worked with Creep is was a darker record than we had ever done before but they brought out a different side of us. If you watch that video you don’t really see the Nina Sky that everyone knows from our own music so it’s cool. We work with Salaam Remi often and he brings out a very candid side of us he says “just say whatever you want to say on the record, don’t think about it too much,” so he gets our minds thinking in a way and gets us writing in a way.”
Natalie: We are use to working with each other so we only really know how each other works so it’s cool to see how other artist work. How they write to their music, like do they prefer to write before and they make the beat after or do they write to the beat first.
Nicole Top: Bebe; Bottoms: Urban Outfitters; Jewelry: Dr. Romanelli & Disney collaboration; Watch: Flud; Ring: Blackscale; Shoes: Hernan Lander
Inked: Now we are going to talk about tattoos! Do you have any tattoos related to your careers?
Natalie: We have tattoos that we have gotten on the road, like we got this smiley face while we were touring in the Philippines.
Nicole: We got this one when we were in the studio recording with Bruno mars, in their studio.
Inked: What does it say?
Natalie: “My sister knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.” We were recording with The Smeezingtons or whatever they call themselves, Bruno and Phil.
Nicole: “They were like you guys like tattoos?” I think we are going to call in a tattoo artist. So they called in a tattoo artist. I got three tattoos, Natalie got 2 tattoos, and Bruno got a tattoo. We did a song called on some bullshit, and it goes “I’m on some bullshit, fuck what you heard.” and then I got “fuck what you heard,” tattooed across my chest. That’s it! Just like I was saying, we have a lot of tattoos that we just got on the road, or different situations, recording and stuff.
Inked: What’s your most meaningful tattoo?
Natalie: Everything means something to me. I have Nicole’s name tattooed right here
Nicole: And I have Natalie’s name.
Natalie: We both have matching tattoo’s so that’s cool.
Nicole: Yeah we both have the smiley faces, we have the quote here, we have “New Yorker,” so we have lots of matching tattoos but I guess the most meaningful is our names.
Inked: any plans for new tattoo’s anytime soon?
Nicole: We are always in the market for new tattoos; I have a tat in my head that I want right now.
Natalie: It doesn’t stop, once you get one, you get another one and another one.
Nicole: There are lots more to come
Natalie: We are art lovers so we have to put it on our bodies.