Dove Cameron and JoJo Siwa’s Secret Weapon Songwriter Nikki Era Talks With TMI About Her New Single “Fantasy Boy”

Photo Credit: Sky Rizzo & Jarae Holieway

Hey Nikki! So excited to be chatting with you! You are gearing up for the release of your newest single “Fantasy Boy” and it’s awesome! I love it!! What does it feel like to be releasing your own original music?

OMG! Thank you! It feels like the most amazing feeling in the world honestly. Writing for and with other artists is so fun and you get to do so many different genres and cover so many ideas, but as a writer when you finally sit down to work on your own project it is so exciting! For me it comes from a different head space altogether! 

 Can you tell us the backstory of this song? Is it based on a real experience?

It’s about that perfect person that you envision in your head as being the one for you. They don’t even have to be a real person that you know! For me he’s totally made up. When I wrote the idea of meeting up with this guy at night in my dreams I put a little part of every guy I’ve ever met, kissed, vibed with, loved, and turned those parts into the ultimate fantasy boy. I love the idea of reality vs. fantasy and I think that if we are all honest, we all have a lot of fantasies we keep to ourselves 🙂

You also have more music coming out in 2019! Can you spill any details on what your supporters can look forward to this year?

I really want to try and focus in my project a bit this year. I’m so all over the place! One day I feel one way the next day I feel another. It’s really just because I love a lot of stuff and I’m super passionate about things, so I live life in a very extreme way. I want to try and stay in this lane for a minute because I’m really inspired by 80s/90s fashion, music, and culture. I grew up in the 90s and I loved so much about it. Era’s tend to come and go in cycles so I definitely want to be a part of keeping those aspects present artistically. I also want to keep collaborating with other NYC artists and DJ’s, because it’s the best part of living in this amazing city. I have a record coming out with Zak Downtown who is one of my favorite rappers on the East Coast and I recently released a record called Beating Hearts with Paige that is about to hit 500k streams on Spotify so I’m pretty pumped! 

What’s been your favorite song to write and why?

My favorite song I’ve ever written is a record called Wild. Being in a studio writing with amazing producers I kind of get spoiled by production and beats while I’m writing, so it makes the whole process very collaborative and you get to hear the record coming to life in real time. When I wrote Wild I was going through a really difficult time and I just sat down at the piano and started singing it. It’s the most raw thing I’ve ever written for sure. 

Is there anyone you want to thank that’s helped you get to where you are today?

So many people have helped and supported my career and my choices, but the two people who have always been there for me are my mom and dad. I’m an only child and we are really close. When I was 13 I sang at the Apollo Theater in Harlem as their “Star of Tomorrow”. It was an amazing experience. Erykah Badu was there that night obvi being the most badass human. When I got up to sing, there’s a clip of my parents clapping at the end that just totally encompasses their passion and love for me. They’ve been in every audience ever since. 

What are three words you would use to describe your fans?

Fabulous. Unique. Artistic. My fans are pretty amazing for not making me conform and understanding artistic expression and how it can evolve and change. I’m thankful for them and their open minds. 

What do you want your message to be towards your fans? What do you want your fans to take away from your music and shows?

Shows are my favorite thing because it’s what makes all the hard work worth it. There’s nothing that can rival that feeling of being on stage and having people care about you and what you have to say. There’s something super holy about the whole experience. It’s mind blowing to have that connection with others. I want them to know that life is really scary and also really beautiful and you need both. I want them to know that it’s ok to be confused and that it’s ok to not make sense. I want them to know that being honest and real is the only way to find true happiness and that taking care of yourself is the most badass thing you can do. The world is going to try and change you in a million ways, so make sure before you walk into any room or any situation, you’ve reminded yourself of who you are and go in there and own it. 

Do you have any pre-show rituals that help you get pumped up to meet your supporters?

Well, I would say that I meditate before a show. Not in the typical way of sitting with my eyes closed and breathing but it’s more of a mantra meditation. I get quieter than I ever am! I just kind of tell myself over and over that I’m about to “share” my art with the people in the room. It takes the pressure off a bit. Having to be perfect or make sure everything goes right or whatever is exhausting and can make anyone nervous. So I try to just put myself into a head space of… this is what you do- they are here to experience it- just send them some love energy and then throw it back and forth. 

Are you planning any shows to promote your new music?

Yes! That’s basically my focus for the year. Shows and live performances. We are kicking off the premiere of “Fantasy Boy” at the iHeart Radio Lounge on 2/14 and we’ll be live streaming it on my Instagram, so definitely check that out! 

What is it like performing in front of your fans?

It makes me feel like I’m home and feel worthy. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. Because when I’m not doing it, I feel like I’m missing something. I think that’s the beauty of it though. You can’t appreciate something unless you know what it’s like not to have it. I love those moments and the faces I see in the crowd more than anything.  

What do you want your supporters to know that you think is important?

Self-acceptance. I grew up in the middle of the new tech wave. I’m a young millennial and can’t imagine having to be a young person in this age of photoshop and “reality tv” and blah blah blah. I genuinely think it’s toxic to human expression and individualism. Everyone is Different! That’s what gave us the greatest artists of all time. Young people are just being shown image after image of these crazy ideals and standards of “beauty” and it’s like we are humans! We are not pixels. My fans better know that when you’re with me, you can be and feel and do whatever you want. I feel like that’s a cliché and people say it, but they don’t live it. I try to live it. Hopefully I have and it can cause others to shut off their phones sometimes and stop looking for validation outside. It’s all a big game anyway. You need to be able to leave the game and sit with yourself and say, You are enough, Girl!

What’s something your fans don’t know about you?

There’s not much people don’t know about me haha! I like it that way. What you see is what you get. I don’t eat meat? Maybe that’s something they don’t know. I donated all my old furs this year to Coats for Cubs at Buffalo Exchange. When I was younger I didn’t understand the ramifications of wearing fur. As I got older and more socially conscious I realized there’s no need for it. I have two rescue dogs and they made me realize how individual each animal can be. When I’m older I want to own a farm sanctuary where people can come and play music and meet animals and hang out. Like a little hippie paradise. 

What’s one word you would use to describe what your fans have allowed you to accomplish?

Evolution. They’re sticking by me through trying to find my sound and my identity as my own artist is a gift I can’t thank them enough for. Hopefully if you live a full life you will meet a few different versions of yourself. I was pretty wild in my teen years and I always knew what my purpose was but I wasn’t always ready for it. I’m glad it’s taken me a minute to achieve success because I have a lot more positive stuff to share now. 

Is there anyone in the music business you are dying to meet?

Mark Ronson. I think everything he touches turns to gold. Also, Clive Davis. I’ve dreamt of meeting him since I was a little girl. I think I may be getting close… 

Why do you think social media is so important for artists like yourself?

It’s important because it connects and allows a platform for creativity. It’s also a vortex. It’s important to separate it from reality and use it as a tool and not let it use you. 

What would you say is your biggest dream/goal right now?

Going on tour! I would love to open for Robyn. Her new album is everything. 

Any last things you want to tell your supporters?

It’s time <3 

Where can we find you on social media?

@TheNikkiEra 

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