In the eve of their awaited second Album, these twin singers spill the beans in a cab ride.
By Suyeon Kim
May 24, 2012
Nina Sky broke out in 2004 with the hit of the summer, “Move Your Body,” when they were still teenagers. But after their debut album, which they produced and released in just a month, the twin sisters from Astoria, Queens took their time. They grew up, traveled, cut their hair (well, Nicole did), but singing and songwriting all the while.
Eight years later, the still-stunning girls have traded their stilettos and short-shorts for creepers and motorcycle jackets while musically, they’ve kept their R&B roots but added some reverb and goth splashes. Describing their first single, “Day Dreaming,” Natalie says, “It sounds like trippy R&B, kind of.”
Nina Sky are releasing their second album, Nicole & Natalie, this July, as independent artists. On a recent rainy NY afternoon, squeezed into a cab with a make-up artist and hair stylist, the twins finished their sentences for each other on our way to their favorite Cuban restaurant on Steinway St., Latin Cabana. We were there to hear these identical twins drop knowledge about their career path, what they’ve been up to these last eight years, and their hopes for their new album.
Did one of you want to be an artist first?
Natalie: No. Music was always a shared passion of ours. You know, we were twins, we grew up very close.
Nicole: We were both equally passionate about music. I can’t remember a time when Nat wanted to be a musician or artist more than I did. It was always like, let’s write songs together! The first song we wrote was Sisters. That’s the first song that I remember, and we always wanted to do this together.
Your first big song was back in 2004, Move your body. That was when you were 17, 18?
Natalie: It came out when we were 18-19.
What was that like back then?
Natalie: It was amazing. When we first recorded it, we didn’t know it was going to hit on the radio. It was a song we recorded exclusively for Cipha Sounds. And it was a song that he was going to give to his DJ friends, to create a buzz, to see what people were thinking about us. And it just got so big. We didn’t expect that kind of success from our first song. So it was amazing.
Nicole: Everything happened really quickly with “Move Your Body,” because we were an unsigned group. And then the song got so much play on the radio that we got signed and they put out an album. But it was exciting.
So you put out the song and then you got signed. What was the time frame?
You know, our album was done in a month or two months. We ended using songs that we’d written from 17 to 19, so a lot of the music that ended up on the album were older songs.
How does that contrast with your album now?
Nicole: We took a lot more time making this album. Our last album was put out in 2004. We’ve traveled a lot, and had a lot more experience writing this album, personal experience that inspired the album. That’s how it’s different because our first album was what was happening around us, and this album was inspired by what we’ve gone through with our own personal experiences.
Natalie: And we’ve also had time to work on the album.
Nicole: And we’re doing this album independently, it’s completely different because when you’re signed to a label, everyone has their own opinions of who you are supposed to be, and how they want to sell you, and how they think that you should sound and who you should work with. And a lot of that is forced upon you. And for us, it was just a whole natural process with this album. We’re taking our time making the music that we love to make.
What were you guys doing during these eight years? Big question.
Natalie: We still performed all over the world. Nicole DJs, I host sometimes when she DJs. Writing music, and that’s pretty much been it. We’ve never stopped making music, performing music.
Nicole: And just living life and staying inspired. As long as we stay inspired we’ll always you know be able to make music and write music and be creative. It’s been fun.
I read that you were originally on Universal, and then you switched to a label called Polo Grounds. Is it true that you were trying to get out of that?
Nicole: What happened was we were signed to Polo Grounds and you know when were signed there, the whole agreement was that we were going to work on an album, put out singles, and just get a really fair shot with the album and work really hard to make great music. And we did. We worked really hard. made great songs, and to us, they didn’t keep their end of the deal. Because they never put out the singles, we never had a release date for the album. We were playing them the songs and they loved the songs, but…
Natalie: We also shot two videos while we were signed there. So we put our own money into what we were doing to show them that we believe in this project, we’ll put our money behind it, and that wasn’t enough for them either.
Nicole: So we asked to be released, and we were released. So now we are completely independent artists.
It sounds like you had music, you were ready to put it out a record, but there were just a lot of hurdles.
Natalie: We’ve always been ready to put out music, and we’ve always consistently put out music, but we haven’t put out a full project…
Nicole: …since 2004.
Natalie: Since 2004. Because we’ve done collaborations, we put out “Beautiful People,” and “On Some Bullshit,” and then now we put out “Daydreaming,” and we’re putting out our new single soon.
What are you trying to say with your new album?
Nicole: We never got a fair shot at putting out a solid album, so…
Natalie: I think we’re just trying to say the first album wasn’t it. It’s not done, we’re still here, we’re still making music.
Tags: Day DreamingMove Your BodyNew York CityNicole & NatalieNina SkyNorth AmericaUnited States
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