Shariffa Nyan on Neo-Gospel Music, Her Upcoming Music & Being a Conduit for God

Shariffa Nyan

2019 has proven to be a promising year for rising star Shariffa Nyan with 9 Prayze Factor and 2 VOGMA Award Nominations to date.  Following the success of last year's United by Dice Gamble, Heaven (Remastered) and This Christmas,  Shariffa Nyan is scheduled to release a brand new single entitled Do it for Love ft. Stellar's Best Winner Dauntee VellVett.  

As early as June 7, 2019 fans can download this highly anticipated  track exclusively at her website 1 month prior to the official release on all media platforms through Symphonic Distribution (July 5, 2019 ).  Look forward to a hot new video too!  Nyan will host a live, online watch party to premiere the visuals for the single, so stay tuned for updates!

Q: Shariffa, thank you for doing this interview with us.  How did you first feel called to serve the Lord through music?  

A:  Thank You for the opportunity!  So, I was raised in the church as a young girl and the music ministry was always a huge part of my church experience.  My mom recognized my talent early, so she made sure she cultivated it as best she could.  From elementary through high school, I sang in choirs and local musicals, played in band (flute), and participated in as many talent shows as I could!  It's funny because I would get so nervous right before a performance that my entire body would shake!  The anxiety was definitely a huge hurdle to overcome, but as I continued to sing into my adult years, I learned to manage it well. 

There was always something special about singing to God.  Even as a child, I remember feeling the least amount of anxiety when I sang in church.  I would close my eyes and just make it super personal; and that's when the anointing would fall fresh.  It was because of the music ministry that I sought a meaningful and genuine relationship with God.  Through that relationship, I  realized who I really was, despite the flaws and mistakes.  I realized how loved I am by the One who holds my future and how that love healed some of my deepest hurts.  My service to God through music is my heart's manifestation of gratefulness.  My ultimate hope is that through the music, listeners will also seek a deeper relationship with Him.  

Q:  How would you describe your own style of music?  And who are some of the artists who have influenced you in your journey?

A:  Because I have so many different musical influences, it's difficult to place myself in a box.  I began branding my style of music as "Neo-Gospel" a few years ago because of that reason.  Neo-Gospel is a fusion of traditional gospel, pop, reggae, hip-hop and r&b elements, but with content that always puts the Kingdom first. 

This "new gospel" sound really allows me to be more expansive in my creative process through paying homage to all the othergenres that have impacted me the most.  There are so many wonderful artists out there, but some of my favs are CeCe Winans, Mahalia Jackson, Clark Sisters, Mary J. Blidge, Michael Jackson, Beatles, Bob Marley and Queen Latifah.  Classical artists like Chopin and Beethoven have also impacted my musical journey in a beautiful way.

Q: Over the years, you have worked with many artists.  Are there any interesting stories or lessons you have learnt in singing with some of these artists? 

A: Yes, of course!  I have worked with musicians across many different genres, not just exclusively Christian/Gospel.  Working with different artists has helped me become so much more well-rounded.  Each artist offers there own perspective and brings their own truth to table.  Oftentimes, it's not just a collaboration, but an opportunity to fellowship!  Beautiful friendships have spawned from teaming up on a track!  Each collaboration has taught me to respect the creative process; not to rush or force things, but to allow God to have His way.  When we do that, it always turns out right.  

Q: You have a new single out and it's called "Do It for Love."  Tell us about this song and how this song came out. 

A:  "Do It For Love" was written about 18 months ago, after I received the beat from the producer, Baron Sorrell.   As soon as I heard it I knew it was going to be a powerful song!  Both Dauntee VellVett and myself wanted to make sure that we addressed the ugly within our society by providing a remedy...Love!  VellVett's feature on the track gave the song that hip-hop flare that our youth love and appreciate.  I wanted a song that could be embraced everywhere since true love is Universal.  1 John 4:8, "God is Love" became the driving force behind the concept. 

"Do It For Love" is about being genuine and true to your cause and purpose.  It is a song about reflection, authenticity and introspection.  Lyrically, it is a call to action; a cry to listeners to look at the world, then look at themselves.  To evaluate their hearts and motivating factors for pursuing their goals; A call to the masses to make "Love"  their main motivation behind every pursuit.  

Q:  Are you working on your new album now? if so, who are working with in terms of producers, singers and songwriters?

A: Yes I am!  I am very excited about my upcoming EP.  I am currently recording and plan to release it late Summer '19.  So far, producers Illoquint, Baron Sorrell and Enl1te have tracks on the album.  I am featuring some dynamic artists as well, so fans will be pleasantly surprised!  

Q:  Is there a theme yet for the new album?  What can we expect from the record?

A: Yes, the title of this album is "Foreign".  I am exploring the journey through those times in my walk when God was preparing me for "the next level".  From the initial call, to the arrival, "Foreign" takes the listener through my maturation process.  The title encompasses the feeling of uncertainty and unfamiliarity that we often feel when God is equipping and qualifying His called.  I am definitely transparent on this album and pray that it will resonate in a way that activates an out-pour of the Holy Spirit.

Q:  You have also received a few nominations recently, including the Prayze Factor and 2 VOGMA Award Nominations.  How does that make you feel?

A: I am beyond elated!  This will be the first time in my musical career that I have been considered for such an honor.  It truly humbles my heart to know that what I am trying to do for the Kingdom is being acknowledged and appreciated.  These nominations are a just proof of what a strong, loving, and supportive village can do!  I am so grateful for the entities that are here to celebrate artists and ministries who selflessly promote the Kingdom with relentless vigor.  

Q:  How do you wish your songs would help the lives of your listeners and impact the kingdom of God?

A:  I've said it before, so much so that it has become my personal mantra.  But I am just a conduit, a means by which a word from God can reach the people.  My desire is that through my gift, through my ministry, a heart is healed and a life is changed.  Not because of me, but because of the God that is working through me.  I want people to see and hear God when they hear my music.  Once the introduction is made, God will do the rest! 

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