Naïka Champaïgne is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and lyricist. Her upbringing in Montreal, Canada, shaped her sound and pushed her to become the artist she is today. Inspired by Prince, Sade, and D’Angelo, her sound is a mixture of lo-fi, progressive metal, and math rock. Guitar Girl Magazine spoke with Nakia about her music, songwriting process, inspirations, and passions outside of music.
How has living in a city like Montreal influenced your creative sound and style as an artist?
I grew up in Tio’tia:ke, best known to many as Montreal, Canada. It has influenced me to find new ways to compose and play with words. I am bilingual, fluently speaking French and English. The underground scene of art here (especially in the R&B and hip-hop communities) can be a collaborative approach to building shows and performances.
What artists and genres are you most influenced by?
I rotate between a few artists, such as Prince, D’Angelo, Hiatus Kaiyote, Sade, Queen, and Jazmine Sullivan. Regarding genres, I am drawn toward lo-fi music, progressive metal, and math rock. I try to listen to as many genres as possible to polish my craft.
As a spoken word artist, it is clear that you are gifted with lyrics. What is your songwriting process behind the Painting Imageries EP?
First of all, thank you for the comment and compliment! My debut album, Painted Imageries, had an exciting process. My vision was to paint pictures of the aspects of my life that encompass my identity, how others see me, how I see myself and wish to see myself, and create a vision that embodies love, care, wonder, and nostalgia.
The long-standing “Black Theatre Workshop” has always had an esteemed reputation; how did you get involved in the events hosted by this organization, and what other acting ventures have you been a part of since then?
“Black Theatre Workshop” has been around for a long time putting at the forefront the importance of sharing Black people’s lives (realities, aspirations, and many more) in a world that constantly shuts it down. I got involved with the “Black Theatre Workshop” as I worked with many Black Montreal artist community members who delved into multi-disciplinary art. As I mentioned, there is a great sense of collaboration and mutual aid here. I want to continue acting more as I have starred in a Black written play about Queer Black love. I want to explore my artistry and play with the many ways one can express and share a story.
All great duos are rooted in good chemistry. When did you realize you found the perfect duo partner? Do you have any songs that you love to perform together? Why?
Mags (my bandmate in Strange Froots and practically sister in life) and I have a lot in common, from music to anime, to shared tv shows, etc. We both love to get involved in projects and explore our creativity; I think that is why we make a great duo! I realized I had found my duo partner when we wrote a song together with our previous third member in only five minutes. I love the hype songs that we composed with Strange Froots. I love feeding off her energy on stage from those songs and playing around — it’s an awesome time!
How have your experiences as a duo helped you grow as an independent artist?
My experiences as a duo helped us grow as independent artists in many ways. First, we are the ones who make all the beats, instrumental riffs/licks/melodies, write our lyrics, produce as well as draw album covers (that is respectively just Mags, I can’t draw at all). We started as a group with many different fields of interest and skills, which, in my opinion, helped in forging independent artists who are not afraid to try new things and are down to learn new things.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself in a bigger apartment, with a room just for my studio, jamming, traveling, and making more music; being in my happy place.