At the time of our interview multimedia artist Princess Nokia, formerly known as Wavy Spice, was embarking on a new journey of leaving behind her public persona and revealing her true self. She was about to unveil a fully realized body of work that she had full creative control over.
To really give people perspective on who you are, lets talk about Wavy Spice," and how that moniker came to be. It's how I became familiar with you, and I was hooked from my first click on YouTube.
I don’t know, there’s so many stories about it. It really just came from my friend calling me Wavy Spice one day on Facebook, my friend Steven and I was like, “OMG, that’s the best name anyone’s ever called me.” Because what we were previously talking about was my style and he was like you dress like a Spice girl from Harlem so it’s like Wavy Spice.
And you are a a singer?
No, my craft is multimedia. I have a background in journalism and writing, I have a background in sexual help activism, and a little film background and I also photograph, I was interning in the fashion world for a little and then I started to pursue music professionally.
Really? I can't tell, I got put onto "Bitch I'm Posh," which is one of the first YouTube videos that comes up when you search your name. It's so '90s, it's great feel good music.
It's very that, it's very Crystal Waters. But I think the biggest misconception about Wavy Spice was that Wavy Spice was a musician in the first place. When I made “Bitch I’m Posh,” I did it in one take in the penthouse of someone I didn’t even know and just recorded it with a friend and we put it out that night. The next day, it got attention from radio play and that was something that happened very rapidly. Not to say that it was a bad thing but if it had gone my way, I would have put out a better body of music and then introduced myself as a musician.
When I put out “Bitch I’m Posh” I was introduced to the world as Wavy Spice. That wasn’t my goal. My goal wasn’t to be a rap/pop-star and Wavy Spice wasn’t it at all. We just needed a name to put on the title like who made the song and Wavy Spice was a Facebook name so I just used that. It just came altogether.
So when you present yourself to the world fully with your body of work and all of your talents, you’re not going to go under Wavy Spice?
No. Wavy Spice represents the rap persona that I have. And it's very true that I’m very embedded in rap music and my life as a rapper. I take a lot of pride in what I do in that sense but I think I’m very multi-faceted. I have many monikers and conceptions of music and when I do my banshee girl raps, I’ll go under Wavy Spice.
But at the moment I’m currently transitioning from Wavy Spice into an artist named Nokia. Wavy Spice is more of a persona and Nokia is more of a sound and I’m focusing on the sound now and I really want to make amazing music. So I’m releasing it under the moniker, Nokia, becase Wavy Spice is very limiting—it’s very trend associated and I’m anti-trend. I may look like I give looks for the guys and I do. I’m very much into that and I could be open and humorous with my involvement with the gay community and the fashion world and I am a post-adolescent girl and I love shoes and bags and talking shit but I’m also very intellectual and I do make very conceptual music.
And you’re kind of growing too as a young adult, and as an artist. Truly creative people like yourself, this indistry can be tough.
Oh, completely. I had a very, very eventful year of almost getting thrown in the so-called music industry and not getting thrown in, all this back and forth. I’m very well aware of the evils in the world so I have this little shell around me because I don’t want to be tainted by a lot of things.
And all of last year, I’ve just been observing and learning and realizing to myself, “Oh wait, there’s no pressure, you didn’t want to be a fucking musician in the first place.” So it kind of just happened like everything else. And I’m very spiritual, I was once told that I would be a successful musician and I knew that two years ago so I always left it in the hand of the Divine to let it come about. But as a young woman, I also have to learn things by myself. I don’t regret anything, everything is a learning experience so I’m just learning as I grow as a woman.
That growth is documented and and accessible to the public because you are sharing all of this on social media. You are very active on Facebook. You seem to have a natural and very genuine dialogue with people who reach out to you, and then the visual component of your artistry. Does social media hinder...
OMG, no, not at all. Social media is very emotionally personal to me. Dating back to preadolescence, pre-MySpace days, like the Live Journal days, I was in foster care. To escape what I was going through I loved going on the Internet and blogging and I was a big blogger, very into blogging. Blogger.com, before Tumblr, and I was really into that subculture. It was always my safe haven—writing, looking at cool pictures, expressing myself.
I'm one of those emo girls from MySpace so it was very, very that. And then over the years, when I was 13, me and my friends would do photoshoots and one of the first people I started working with when I was fucking little, they were very much involved in fashion and so was I. We were like two little kids from the hood that had this predisposed knowledge of fashion and art and just everything so we started doing little stuff in the park and posting online so that kind of just grew with it.
And me myself, I think that people have always been attracted to me on the Internet. I mean, it’s like this: I’m a regular little Spanish girl from Harlem and Spanish girls love the Internet. Spanish girls love to post pictures but when I was in high school, I wasn’t the girl with the cute camera angles. I was posting pictures of me smoking weed and half naked and wilding out because that was my self expression, my uniqueness, my identity. I’m a wild child, I’m a citizen of the world so it was kind of always like that. Years passed by, I turned 17 and I became a model and I just think that I posted a lot of intellectually stimulating, consciously stimulating, spiritual stimulating things at the same time. It made me seem like a real person because I am a real person and I’m very observant of Internet culture and people and and music culture and people and things like that.
Wait, so how old are you now?
I am 21-years-old.
Your sense of community, awareness, and devotion to spreading a message an positivity is apparent through you sharing your experiences in your music. Sharing without a filter, where do those cojones come from?
There’s this thing that I really incorporate in my music and my movement and it’s talking to the youth which is connecting through digitalism. I could connect to a whole spectrum of women and put out some advice about domestic violence, self-worth, and that gets across to them and that raises their vibration. I don’t mean I have a song about it yet but it’s there, it’s providing a space for them to feel like, "Oh she’s pretty, she’s a model, she’s not stuck up, she’s like me. She talks about being weird and locked up and doing all this random shit." I think that’s why I’m very big on the Internet because I provide a space where people can connect. I think it’s life experiences, I think i'm connected to the world and I think I’m one of God’s special children, I think I was brought here for many reasons.
You are an inspriration to many, from the ones you talk to on Facebook and Instagram, and the ones who don't have the courage to reach out. That's real power, and a gift, but that makes me wonder what inspired you?
I’m very inspired by very strong women. I really, really love Joanna Newsom. I love Gwen Stefani. I really love Kelis and she is my main inspiration because I’m sort of doing what Kelis did. The reason why Kelis is so underrated, the goddess that she is, it’s because people didn’t understand the breach of alternative from an urban voice. People did not understand it, her concept, and point of view.
She talked about aliens, she talked ghetto children, about domestic violence, she talked about real banji shit like “I hate you so much like I sucked your dick, how could you do this to me?” and I’m all about that. So that’s the direction I want to go, I want to do alternative pop, I want to do hood fairy music. I have this song called Nokia that talks about all these conceptualisms and being in the projects. I think the girls from my hood and the inner city girls are gorgeous—those with nameplates, those with babies, nothing but their pajama pants and their chancletas and they doobie scarfs and still looking over. I live for that and I connect with it very much.
The beautiful conceptualism of the women from the inner city, which I think is very important to embrace now because media has put the whole ratchet thing, and the whole “turnt” thing as the definition of the inner city community and the black community. I’m Latin, I’m Afro-Latina but I identify as a very strong black woman and I do not want to be associated with what the fucking media assumes I am.
Oh, so that means no twerking a la Miley for you?
NO! That’s bullshit. That’s not even what we call it, we been dancing like that since fucking forever from middle school!