Artist Interview: Nizzie

Rapping since nine-years-old, Chavon Vanias became a product of his environment. “My dad worked for Motown and Def jam records. Rapping was something I was around all the time.”

After listening to Video Star and I’m the One, the soft spoken voice that came through the phone was unexpected.

Better known as Nizzie, or Young N.Y.N.E., “I have a label with Matchbox Entertainment, an independent company. I work for them as director of A&R. I listen for unsigned artists with a lot of talent. We have a lot of affiliates trying to find new acts right now.”

Young N.Y.N.E. stands for “New York Never Ends.” Although born in Columbia, South Carolina, Nizzie spent his childhood in Brooklyn and the Bronx. “Nine is also the month of my birthday, September, so there is other significance to that.”

Nizzie said, “Sometimes when I would say Young N.Y.N.E. people would think I was talking about a gun which is why I changed it to Nizzie, even though it stands for other things.”

Thinking about his influence on a younger generation is something refreshing most entertainers do not think about or ignore.

Nizzie said, “When I rap I feel like it’s an autobiography of my life. I have a story to tell. I met my real dad when I was 14. I grew up thinking one guy was my dad but he wasn’t. I grew up in the hood. I have a two-year-old son right now. Everyday something changes in life so why not rap about it? I’m also a political civil rights activist with THUG, which stands for, True Healing Under God. I have my hand in a lot of different organizations and fraternities, and a lot of times people I talk to are people out here doing things that need uplifting.”

Nizzie’s plate is seemingly full, but currently living in Charlotte, North Carolina for the last four years; Nizzie performs at least once a week. “I work with venues around Charlotte. I’m doing something with America’s Got Talent. A guy named Crazy Al Cane has his own TV show out of New York, and I’m performing for him.”

Sharing about how he chooses what to rap about, Nizzie said, “I talk to my sisters and my mom who went through things, or my friends. Nobody else would know it’s a personal story and they’re not the first person to go through it. Life is given and life is taken away. Relate to fans and that’s who’s going to listen to your music. I’m still catering to the club scene [with my music] but I rap about what I see with my own eyes.”

On top of his solo act, Nizzie is in school to learn how to design videos at the Art Institute of Charlotte. “It started as a passion,” Nizzie said. “I wasn’t trying to make money, and rapping is just a stepping stone for what I want to do. I want to be a poet, or a movie or music producer. My music is going to be my autobiography of my life, and videos are movie portion of that.”

Coming through the phone with goal after goal and describing numerous projects he is involved in, Nizzie sounded completely relaxed and in control of his activities.

He also has a group he is branding called Cloud Nyne. Talking about where his beats come from, Nizzie said, “We try to keep it in house as much as we can. Most beats come from Young Val, my roommate,” who is also part of Cloud Nyne.

“Cloud Nyne can be the lifestyle you live, pursuing dreams and being happy. I’m working with a bunch of other people in Charlotte like Cubano Productions and people in New York,” Nizzie said.

Talking about rapping as he grew up, Nizzie said, “People would say, ‘what are you rapping about?’ I loved listening to punch line after punch line. Four years ago, I thought instead of rapping punch lines I should be rapping about life and the punch lines would come. I have to be true to nature and what I do. It helps when I record because then you can hear it because it is true. There is more emphasis. I’m able to touch those who are listening.”

With making a difference through music as the main goal, Nizzie came off very light-hearted and chilled-out about his career. He has the talent and the means to promote it, but is still humble and down to earth, which is the difference between him and many other rappers. Nizzie has a purpose in his music that caters to kids young and old.

Describing his most memorable show, Nizzie said, “I was on tour with Nappy Roots. The crowd was awesome. I keep getting callbacks from people who saw me there. There was an encore. They chanted Nizzie! Nizzie! Nizzie! This is just beginning, but the beginning of something great.”

“I don’t look at rap as a job or hobby,” Nizzie said. “It’s really part of my life. When I rap I’m writing in my journal. A lot of people start with poetry then rap, but I rapped then did poetry. People need a voice. I want to get the music out there because you never know who you can affect.”

- Anna

Find Nizzie on Muzimé!