Michigan-born singer Queen Naija made her mark on 2020 with an impressive debut album, with Missunderstood peaking at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 chart. Even before that, she released her self-titled 2018 EP, which spawned three singles that went on to be certified Platinum: “Medicine,” “Karma,” and “Butterflies.” Naija’s story isn’t one of instant prosperity, though, as she reveals in a new Backstage video.
She summarizes how things went for her early on in the video’s intro, saying, “I started really young making beats on my windowsill and I used to be making up little songs about boys. I got pregnant at 18. After I had my child, we were on Section 8. It just was like, ‘This can not be the life I’m giving my son.”
Naija’s professional journey also wasn’t without roadblocks. She auditioned for American Idol as a teenager and didn’t get far. She later tried again and made it onto the show’s thirteenth season, but was not named one of the top 30 contestants. When music didn’t pan out early on, Naija actually found success (and financial stability, which at that point in her life was a rarity) on YouTube. After her marriage dissolved, though, she found her way back to music. Today, the results speak for themselves.
Naija’s tale is a fascinating one, so check out the Backstage video above to hear her speak about her journey as both a mother and an artist.