Photo Credit: Sacha Sales
Being the former secretary of my middle school Fat Kids Club, you know I’m a lover and appreciator of all things food. Today, as a home baker looking to go pro one day, I was delighted to be able to intertwine my kitchen adoration with my musical side when talking to the one and only Nefertitti Avani. She’s an R&B songstress whose latest single, “Raw,” is certifiably fresh and ready for mass consumption. We talked about the steamy single, the video, and more in this back and forth exchange – and for more, check out her EP, ‘Oh, Ok,’ out July 7th!
Kendra: As a lover of all things pop culture, I couldn’t help but notice the little homage to Janet when it came to the cover art of “Pri Va C.” Was she someone who initially got you interested in pursuing music?
Nefertitti Avani: Yesssss! Janet is an icon and one of the strongest performers I’ve ever witnessed. I’ll always love Janet.
Kendra: You’ve been dropping songs online for a decade now. What are some major lessons you’ve learned then that have helped you continue as an artist today?
Nefertitti Avani: Wow…so I remember releasing my very first song “Oxygen” and waking up the next day to other people selling it all over the internet. I couldn’t believe it. That sent me on a journey of how to protect my intellectual property and maximize my income. I learned about soundexchange, Harry fox, mlc, isrc’s, etc on that journey. And that lesson definitely contributes to my independence as an artist today.
Kendra: If you were to listen back to your 2014 mixtape, how would you say you’ve grown as an artist when comparing it to your current releases?
Nefertitti Avani: I’ve grown in so many ways that contribute to my artistry. I’ve learned love in a more in-depth way, which heavily influences my content as a writer and the frequency I accomplish in my vocals. And then, time and experience just make us stronger performers in general. I’m a stronger singer, stronger writer, etc just from time and experience.
Kendra: So listening to “Raw,” it’s very sultry, very reminiscent of the R&B that dominated the mainstream back in the ‘90s thanks to artists like Boyz II Men, En Vogue, and Ginuwine – and there is a lot of talk about how that style of R&B got a bit toned down over the years. Are you here to bring bedroom R&B back to the forefront?
Nefertitti Avani: I love this question, thank you. Please grant me your patience as this answer will be detailed, but nutritious. R&B is short for rhythm and blues. Blues is a language that communicates the spaces we experience inside of love, passion, pain, endurance, and the transformative alchemy that should take place in the bedroom. And rhythm is the pulse; the carrier; the delivery service. And that pulse keeps the messages of blues circulating through the listener; the receiver; the lovers. So yes, I am definitely bringing bedroom R&B back to the forefront because love-making won’t be a lost art in my book. Not while I’m on this planet.
Kendra: “Raw” also features a lot of food references throughout. With that, if you had to compare your current singles “Raw,” “Buss It,” and “Serious” to a three-course meal what would each be? Think appetizer, main course, and dessert (or cocktail).
Nefertitti Avani: Ooh funnnn. Ok, so “Raw” would definitely be an orange, mango, and frozen banana breakfast smoothie with a wheatgrass shot. “Buss it” is definitely tacos with pico, guac, lettuce, the whole nine. Then “Serious” is a funnel cake with whip cream and fruit and just delicious toppings. I know you’d never guess that I love food!
Kendra: And when it comes to the video, it cooks up a whole lot of steamy situations. I was like, okay – I can’t hate the male casting here! His great looks aside, what I like about this video is at the end it serves as an inspiration to shoot your shot with someone. Are you someone who when they see someone they’re interested in, they just go for it?
Nefertitti Avani: Oh yes my co-star Jamaal Watkins; beautiful being inside and out. And to answer your great question: Yes, I go for it every time. I can’t imagine laying in bed at the end of the day regretting I didn’t act on something I wanted. I always, always go for it!
Kendra: Lastly, it’s still kind of hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
Nefertitti Avani: Love it. Well, I’m anticipating some really cool collaborations. I’m excited to connect with different producers across the globe to create more unique canvases to paint lyrics over. I’m looking forward to writing music in a way I’ve yet to. I’ve been watching myself grow more popular and talked about which gives me complete jitters. You know I’m not an artist for fame. I truly love writing and creating music. I desire to be an example to the world of what following your heart leads to…that for me just happens to come with a side of popularity. But I want people to be inspired more than I don’t want to be famous so, yeah. I’m willing and still very gracious to have my gift.