Where is Nivea? Her string of popular singles and her highly publicized romance with Cash Moneys Lil Wayne made her the artist to watch in 2002. After hitting the charts and earning a Grammy nomination for her hot single Dont Mess with My Man from her self-titled debut album, the then 21-year-old songstress disappeared from the spotlight.
While fans wondered where she went, Nivea was in the studio working, reflecting on the journey she made with her first album. The young Atlanta native had managed to turn her dream into a reality; so what went wrong? Well, nothing actually. Artists need a chance to grow, and it seems Nivea had realized some mistakes on her first album situation that she didnt want to repeat on her second.
Entering into the promotional phase for her new album, Complicated, the rumor mill was set ablaze with more questions as people began seeing the young star performing with a special glow about her: Is she pregnant? Is it Lil Waynes baby? And just like that she was back in the spotlight.
Baby or not, Nivea has no plans of slowing down. In fact, after three years of soul-searching, her career seems to be in full swing once again. Its a beautiful evolution, and Allhiphop.com Alternatives has the exclusive first-hand as she sets the record straight on the past, present and her exciting future.
Allhiphop Alternatives: Lets straighten out the rumors once and for all. Are you pregnant?
Nivea: Yes I am. Im having a little girl, and Im seven months pregnant. Its my first one and Im really excited.
AHHA: Is that going to affect all the promotional commitments for your album?
Nivea: Probably not. Not in a negative way for me anyway. Its been going great so far. Ive been performing all the way up till now. Everyone has been so supportive, so its great.
AHHA: Are you planning on taking the little one on the road?
Nivea: Oh lord yes! Shell be with me. Me, my hubby and my little one.
AHHA: Introduce us to your husband. Did you have a wedding?
Nivea: His name is Dream. Hes a songwriter/producer that actually worked on most of the album with me. He has been my everything, helping me out at this crazy but beautiful time. We are newlyweds. The wedding was small but nice. We had it outside. It was beautiful.
AHHA: Since the last album youve been off the scene for a while. What have you been doing with yourself?
Nivea: I was trying to get a lot of my business straight. I had two managers, and I was taking a little break, but I was still doing a lot of recording though.
AHHA: Tell us about the time you were starting out, and how you got signed to Jive.
Nivea: It was interesting. I was in high school recording basically every day or every weekend that I could. After I graduated in 2000, we went to New York to shop the demo. And that summer I was signed to Jive. Quite a few of my demo tracks were on the first album. In fact, the first single Dont Mess With The Radio was from the demo.
AHHA: How did life change for you after the first album came out? Were there any surprises to your newly found fame?
Nivea: It didnt change me as a person, but you do get treated differently. People stop and stare! I did a lot of traveling and a lot of performances. Its what you expect when you become an artist. I went to Germany, Japan, Australia and I will probably go to those places again later this year when I start touring. I think I handled [the fame] pretty well. However, I didnt acknowledge the fact that people knew me. Id be out by myself, thinking no one would be mess with me because no one knows me, which is crazy because everywhere I went people would recognize me. Im still getting used to that.
AHHA: Are you ready do it all again?
Nivea: Its basically the same routine. You go through the promotion. You get used to it, now that I know what Im doing! I wont say its easier but its definitely a familiar place. Im not walking into it blind, and this time I have my husband to help me with my baby.
AHHA: What made you decide to come out now? Why not earlier?
Nivea: You know what, I dont know! I dont think it was a planned thing. I just look at it as a blessing. Im finally happy. I found someone I could fall in love with and call the love of my life. Its not only that, I finally have a best friend and someone who is teaching me something about life and about music. There was a lot of stuff that I knew nothing about. Im fortunate enough to be able to continue my career with Jive supporting me. I think it was God saying, Now is time, rather than me saying Ok time to get back into it.
AHHA: Did you feel lost before this? How has this changed you professionally?
Nivea: At the time I didnt realize how lost I was. I just realized!! Its so insane that I just had no clue [on production, publishing, vocals, etc]. I never asked anybody, and nobody ever told me anything. Oh my goodness, it changes a lot of things. Now Im realizing where money is or different ways that money can be made. I have made so many mistakes, just simple things that could eventually turn into something big. It might not seem a lot now but down the line it adds up.
AHHA: What role does your husband, Dream, play in career?
Nivea: Im at a great place right now because Im learning so much from Dream. I dont even want to go anywhere! Im learning about vocals, writing, producing. Basically the entire creative process and what it means to create music. Im learning a lot of technical things. I cant wait to start the next album!
AHHA: Tell us about the new album, Complicated? What can people expect?
Nivea: Its a laid back album. There are a lot of different issues that I know women talk about or feel a certain way about, amongst themselves, which they dont necessarily say or admit. Its very realistic and the topics are complicated because women are complicated.
AHHA: Besides Lil Jon and Youngbloodz, who else is on the album?
Nivea: R.Kelly is on the album too. On a club song called Gangsta Girl. Dream has done a remix to Okay and its real hot. Were going to send it out to radio soon. We have a lot of great material on this album and Im very proud of it.
AHHA: Has your sound changed?
Nivea: Yeah, oh wow what a question. Yes, as a vocalist your voice constantly changes and always gets better. I would definitely say my sound has changed. Ive been singing in different registers that I would never even mess around with.
AHHA: Are there any personal moments on the album?
Nivea: Dream and I did a song called Complicated which is obviously the title track. Its very personal and it talks about how love doesnt have to be a complicated thing. People ask me how it happened and its quite simple. We met, got married and now were having a baby. Its not necessarily a complicated thing.