Pop Life 20: Niia Can’t Get Enough Pasta Carbonara

After releasing an album in 2020, Los Angeles-based multi-instrumentalist producer Niia is back with a brand new EP. Across its seven tracks, If I Should Die is a spooky, smoky affair filled with groovy arrangements and intoxicating vocals.

To celebrate the new EP, Niia sat down to talk Drake, Monterey Jazz Festival, and the best tattoo she’s ever seen in the latest Pop Life 20 Q&A.

What’s the first pop song you remember hearing?

Diana Ross- “Upside Down”

What do you think pop music will be like in the future?

Woah, this is tough…pop stars from different planets. Singing plants? Realistically, probably a Lil Miquela vibe where there are holograms of popstars able to perform anywhere at any time.

If you could perform in any country in the world, where would it be and why?

Ravello, Italy. It’s probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever been and I’m Italian, so performing there is a dream of mine.

What is your favorite food?

Pasta. Specifically Carbonara.

What is your favorite ‘90s or early ‘00s pop hit?

The Boy Is Mine” – Brandy & Monica.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Peter Gabriel & Sting at the Hollywood Bowl. There are no words to describe that experience…Ugh, also- Jennifer Holiday in a small church in Provincetown MA when I was 25. Jennifer Holiday was famous for her role in dream girls I was obsessed with as a girl. I quit singing for the summer because I knew I would never be able to sing like Jennifer. She still is one of the best there is.

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

A classic black dress with a twist. I love a classic look with a modern pinch. Feels romantic and nostalgic but also fresh! I like to dress up to perform. It makes me feel more polished so I can be chic while crying (if I need to).

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?

Rachel Sennott on Twitter. @the_pastaqueen on IG!

Name the best pop song to makeout to.

Drake – “Teenage Fever

What’s your most frequently played song for a dance party?

Roisin Murphy – “Something More

What’s the last thing you Googled?

John Mulaney wife…

What album makes for the perfect gift?

Chet Baker – Chet on vinyl.

Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?

Downtown Brooklyn. We were staying in a workout-themed hotel… my band and I didn’t work out once. My manager Chelsi used the medicine ball as a chair a few times.

What’s the worst tattoo you’ve ever seen?

I don’t know about the worst… but Brooke Candy has the best. She has so many incredible ones.

Who do you think is the most exciting new voice in pop this year?

I stan Olivia Rodrigo.

What pop song do you most associate with heartbreak?

For me, it’s “Heartbreak” – Mariah Carey.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

Practice piano more, and he is not the one.

What’s the last show you went to?

I honestly can’t remember… I think Show Me The Body or Dana Dentana.

Which music festival is your favorite and why?

Monterey Jazz Festival. I’ve always wanted to play there. If you play it, you’re respected in the jazz community. I also have a special place in my heart for Monterey… almost got married there.

What would you say to Beyonce if you got the chance to meet her?

“Thank you Beyonce”

If I Should Die is out now. Listen above or here.

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