‘All Fruits Ripe’ for Brick & Lace
Nyanda talks music, ‘Love is Wicked’ global release as album celebrates 15 years
Recording artiste and songwriter Nyanda Thorbourne has her hands full. She has been balancing being a mother, running a household, family life, a recording career, and a business, which evolved out of being part of the popular group Brick & Lace. Catching up with The Sunday Gleaner recently, she shared that a lot is cooking for herself and her sisters.
“Here I am, pursuing my own solo recording career because that love of music and passion for the art of creating music and performing what is created continue to burn from deep within, and ‘boom’, something big happens with our debut album on Geffen Records, and the title single Love Is Wicked,” Nyanda shared.
Brick & Lace was a sizeable force for a small girl group, giving dancehall several hit singles, including Get That Clear, Never, Never and Bad To Di Bone, and scored a genuine chart-topper with Love Is Wicked, recorded on the Diwali Riddim in 2006.The group initially consisted of sisters Tasha; Nailah, also know as Nyla and Nyanda but later became a duo. Nailah and Nyanda ended up carrying the torch, recording and touring worldwide, while Tasha contributed from backstage.
Recently, the Love Is Wicked single which was certified gold in France and Portugal, garnered a newfound spotlight on social media, specifically TikTok, with numerous influencers conceptualising likeable scripts making light of toxic relationships and behaviours, and choreography on the platform producing over 100 million views. With that, Nyanda explained that the 2007 album has just been released globally, just as it celebrates 15 years.
She said, “It was only released in certain territories in Europe, and now since the title track has experienced a viral explosion on TikTok and other social media platforms, persons have regained interest in the album. Part of me found it hard to believe because the song had been charting and doing well in Europe from the beginning – we even tried to tell the labels it was blowing up there and in Africa – it was a shelved album.”
Last year, the group successfully launched their Love Is Wicked merchandise. There’s also a distinct possibility that if Brick & Lace is about to announce something new, it could be connected to their individual growth and journey.
“Nyla has said that she feels this moment has kind of forced our hands in more than one way. I’ve always wanted us to produce another Brick & Lace album, I mean outside of our fans like St Vincentian Kyle Warrell, who we can say has been keeping us in the loop, as well as Cynesse and Dance Republic Africa, popular TikTok influencers, I am our group’s biggest fan,” she said. “This is something I have to process. As I’ve learnt throughout the pandemic, it will require a bit of pivoting because I was really focused on my solo career and the completion of the EP I was working on because this is actually something I always wanted to do.”
She shared that with the popularity of social media and digital streaming platforms, the music industry has changed dramatically, and the challenges of the past are not the challenges of the present.
The heights of the pandemic was a present and very real challenge. “Like for everybody, the shows stopped in the last two years,” and marketing had to rely on social media, said Nyanda. “But I am not a huge social media person generally, so I think my career probably suffered a little more than others. If you’re naturally a social media person, you would thrive, and it took me a while, a whole process of getting adjusted.”
She’s adjusting in more ways than one. Several years ago, Nyanda was featured on Burna Boy’s On A Spaceship album on a single titled Mine Tonight. In August, Nyanda and Stonebwoy got the official music video for their collaboration titled All Fruits Ripe out to the public. She also created the ‘dancing with a fruit basket on your head’ challenge. As a creative rebel, as she may be described, there are no rules in how she writes and records music and having been exposed to Afrobeats while touring, Nyanda thought it a simple thing to connect with the Ghanaian star.
“Having always been [open] to exploring different genres, I found producers would not know what to give to me at first. They always wanted direction, but I never went into a studio knowing that I want dancehall today or R&B tomorrow. There are too many rules put on us as artistes, and I’m not trying to be about that. Yes, I love dancehall, as they tend to light me up, but there was so much we were exposed to… that hearing Afrobeats gaining popularity had me and Nyla saying, duh… it’s way overdue.”
Speaking about working with Stonebwoy, she added: “He and I have such interesting conversations. He is very clever and talented. We didn’t work on the song together, in the sense that we weren’t in the same space, but I loved what he did on the song, and I believe he took it to another level musically.”
A trailblazer, Nyanda says that she is proud to see fellow female dancehall artistes surpassing expectations on the international stages and making their own rules.
“I think it’s amazing what they are doing; people have always loved dancehall, and though they talk about how dancehall is male-dominated, the females are coming out strong and powerful. They have a lot to say. We see that everybody does not need to sound the same, and I continue to enjoy the uniqueness and diversity of sound the females are bringing,” Nyanda said.