ABOVE: NYLO. PHOTOS BY NIKKO LA MERE
Nylo’s big break arrived in the form of a near car accident. The LA newcomer’s mixtape captured had the attention of none other than Nasir Jones (aka Nas), who, impressed with what he had heard, fired off a tweet to his million-plus followers: 11 words, 68 characters. The message: “Everyone follow my new favorite artist Nylo. Love this record!” Nylo was driving down the crowded LA freeway when her phone lit up.
“I almost crashed my car,” she says. “I should stop tweeting while I’m driving, but when you’re stuck in traffic, it’s just so easy to go, ‘What’s going on in the world?’ Lesson learned. In case any other crazy things happen, I’ll make sure that I’m parked before I start going through Twitter. It’s been an eventful Twitter year.”
With flourishes that reference The Weeknd by way of Aaliyah, Nylo crafts gorgeous soundscapes that ring like water drops in an ice castle. “It sounds like a Chicago winter to me,” she says. “It’s cold, it’s dark. It gets dirty. It’s completely perfect and imperfect.” In the months since Nas’ creative team has reached out to her, Nylo has been hard at work in the studio. “The people that I look up to are listening, so I want to make sure I don’t do anything that’s less than the absolute best I can.”
We’re pleased to premiere Nylo’s latest track, “Fool Me Once,” below.
HOMETOWN: Home is where your friends and your family are.
WHAT’S IN A NAME: The word Nylo means “to love the most.” It means the possibility of complete, perfect love—towards life, towards self, towards the people that you interact with. Nylo is my best version of me.
FIRST SHOW: My very first show was at the Old Town School of Folk Music in downtown Chicago. I put on my dress, my friend grabbed his acoustic guitar, and we drove downtown—my mom took us—and the crowd was heavy metal crazy spikes, leather, studs. I was like, “I’m going to get tomatoed.” So we walked on stage, brought out the stool and the acoustic guitar, and I looked around. “Okay. If they’re going to kill us, it’s going to happen right now.” We start playing, and after the first three seconds, there were kids getting up and slow dancing to songs I was singing. I literally wanted to cry. I was really, really happy. I made a bunch of friends that night. They were like, “I could understand your lyrics, it was awesome.”
THE NYLO ARCHIVES: I remember going into kindergarten with full songs that I had already written. I still have all of them in Tupperware boxes, because, what if I end up using one of those songs later? As a kid, you don’t complicate anything. Love is love. Hate is hate. I remember thinking when I would go back through them, even in first, second, and third grade, like, “Dang, I’m getting so much better.” By the time I could spell, I was unstoppable.
GROWING PAINS: We moved around a lot, and I was really shy because people were always coming in and out. I pretty much stayed in my cubby. You know how they give you cubbies to put your things in? I stayed inside of mine and drew pictures. Once I got into third grade, my brother and I were in the same school—and my brother’s a badass. I wanted to be just like him, and then I was the kid who was just kind of ridiculous all the time. A happy kid.
NYLO, TEXAS STRANGER: Then I moved from Chicago to Texas, and I didn’t talk to anybody. I didn’t come out of my room. I would stay up until four or five in the morning every day and was late for school. When I was living in Texas, I felt the opposite of free. I lived in seven different places in two and a half years. Grapevine. Carrollton. Plano. Fort Worth. Dallas. Addison. Irving. We lived in apartments and townhouses, but we were always going to school with wealthy kids. Like, me and my Chicago friends used to blow glass and run around, and make clothes and paint, and do creative things, and build forts in the woods. Then I went to Texas, and it was like, “Whoa, who made your purse?” And I was like, “Uh, me.”
RECORDING “MEMORIES SPEAK”: I needed to get some shit off my chest. I didn’t see the future, I just saw the moment. And I needed that moment. Making the album was a process of me growing as a human being. Learning to accept, and love, and forgive. When you’re holding a grudge, the only person you’re hurting is yourself.
BEACH BUMMED: I go to the beach at night and feel like a different human. I walk up to the water, and put my feet in as far as I can take it. It feels good to be cold, and it feels good to have something wash over you like that. Once I get tired of that I’ll sit in the sand. You can feel the stars, and there’s no buildings, no people, no anything. The sound of the ocean is the loudest thing you can hear. There’s something so powerful about being next to something so big.
BUCKET LIST: Skydiving. Winning a Grammy. Owning a Cheetah. Going to space. I have to make at least $240,000 at some point in my life, because that’s how much it costs to go to space, and I will go. Also, I would like to get DirecTV.
THE FUTURE: I’m going to keep living. I try to keep it really simple, because I feel like when you tell yourself exactly what you’re going to do, sometimes you eliminate the possibilities of things that you didn’t know you wanted.
FOR MORE ON NYLO, PLEASE VISIT THE ARTIST’S FACEBOOK PAGE.