Fresh with a crossover edge… it’s that kinda sound and soul makes us wanna be with you too!
The buzz surrounding the UK’s hottest rising singing starlet has been building very quickly. Kick-starting her career as a backing vocalist for the likes of Plan B, DJ Ironik and The Streets, Nyomi Gray, best known as Ny, began singing at a very young age. The refreshingly down-to-earth up-and-comer has been tipped for the top left, right and centre. Having already performed to hundreds while touring with Professor Green, now she is preparing to release her new single ‘Be With You’ featuring Giggs. We’ve long been proud supporters of British talent and ahead of her new release, Ny talks to Flavour about her close relationship with N-Dubz, what it was like dating grime star Wiley and her most embarrassing moment…
Your musical journey has been somewhat out of the ordinary. You had quite a strict upbringing, where your mum didn’t allow you to watch TV, and you also bunked off school to record your mixtapes. You’ve obviously been fascinated by music since a young age?
Yeah, for most kids growing up you tend not to really like going to school. I was taught at home until I was about eight years old, so I’ve always had a different outlook compared to being in a classroom with loads of other kids. My friend, who was an engineer at a college, would literally get me in there for two hours every day to record my mixtape. I also remember people like Plan B, Professor Green, Sway and Wiley all coming down to this tiny studio to help me record Split Endz Vol 1.
Did you always know you wanted to get into the music industry?
Well, I’ve always loved music and animals – so I was either going to be a vet or a singer [laughs]. However, I didn’t like the thought of having to operate on them [animals] when they’re hurt, so I chose to sing.
How would your describe the vibe and the sound of your new single ‘Be With You’?
It’s fresh, exciting, edgy and current. It definitely also has a bit of that ‘street’ element, which is important to me, especially as I began singing on grime; but vocally it’s still Ny sounding sweet and soulful.
What was it like working with Giggs, who is also featured on the new track?
He’s actually got a very funny sense of humour. But apart from that he was really cool.
Is ‘Be With You’ a fine reflection of what your album will sound like?
Yeah! I’m always involved with creating different sorts of sounds so there will certainly be a fusion of different vibes on the album as a whole.
Already you’ve worked with a host of UK talents, including Sway, Tinchy Stryder and DJ Ironik, but is there anyone else that you would also like to work with?
I would love to do something with Jessie J as I think she’s killing it for the girls, along with Plan B who I also love. I wouldn’t mind doing a bit of writing for Adele, I think she’s great.
We read that you once dated grime star Wiley, what was that like?
Yeah, I suppose it was just like any other relationship. He is very crazy, spontaneous, but also a kind of a musical genius. I presume part of his hard-working graft has rubbed off on me – but not the crazy side hopefully [laughs]. We even still keep each other up to date with our music, so we’re good friends.
You’ve collaborated with N-Dubz on their new album and supported them on their nationwide tour. How are you feeling about all that?
I am absolutely bubbling! It’s their biggest tour ever and going to the 02 Arena was huge for me.
We sometimes see a bit of a negative side to N-Dubz in the press, but what are they really like behind the cameras?
They are very, very hardworking and focused. Of course we all like to have a little bit of fun, and especially the boys can get carried away… [laughs]. But as I tend to chill with them I get to see firsthand what goes on behind the scenes, and they are just fun, exciting and are taking everything in their stride.
You’re very good friends with Tulisa from the band and you hang out regularly. Has she shared any good tips with you about the showbiz lifestyle?
To be honest, when we get together we kind of escape from everything, including music – but we’re really obsessed with playing Scrabble and Boggle or walking our dogs.
Michael Jackson had his legendary and much copied moonwalk, Madonna has immense popularity with her ever-changing imagery, and Elvis had his gyrating, shaking snake hips – so what is it that makes you different?
I’m an honest writer and I also come from a place where most kids can relate to. I also think I’ve got that crossover edge, which people who don’t come from an underground background could still relate to… and I’ve got a nice swagger [laughs]. As a newcomer on the scene there’s a lot to find out still. We would love to find out more about you, so tell us the important stuff:
Who was the last person you called or text?
I called my sister who I’m with right now, shopping for clothes for my video shoot.
If you were an alcoholic drink what would you be?
A cocktail with a Malibu and Caribbean flavour with crushed ice.
And what has been your most embarrassing moment?
I remember walking out of school and this boy coming up to me and giving me a massive Valentine’s Day card along with a teddy and some chocolate [laughs]. It was so embarrassing because he did it in front of the whole school.
‘Be With You’ is out now Follow Ny on Twitter @Nyofficial or visit www.nyofficial.com