NiRé AllDai has been writing songs since before she knew how to write sheet music or do just about anything else. Her song “Shut Up and Party” was a viral hit—but was inaccurately credited to artists like Britney, Ke$ha, and even Mylie.
She has already worked with artists like Timberland, Dr. Dre, and Starshell (the protégé of Mary J. Blige). Just as addicting as her hard-hitting dance R&B sound is her look, which can easily be described as bold and fierce. Her eyes flash with brilliant colors, her nails are striped with a collage of patterns, her clothes are tight and boldly printed, and her hair is, er, architectural.
But the moment you get comfortable thinking she’s just another post-Gaga popstar, she smacks you with her intellectual side.
Out: Where did you grow up?
Niré Alldai: I grew up in West L.A., and then I lived in South Bay, then the Valley, San Francisco. All over.
What was the little NiRé like?
I would say she was not too far from NiRé now: super bubbly, colorful. I’ve always liked to dress myself since I was 4. I was always playing with random colors and stuff together. My mom would be like, “Are you sure you wanna wear that?” and I’d be like, “Yes.” My mom said taht, before I was talking, I was a comedian. I would try to do anything to make somebody laugh. So, I’ve always been an entertainer, even before I realized I wanted to do it as a career.
Did you cherry pick pieces from the cultures around you or did you always do your own thing?
I’ve always been who I am, but unknowingly. I was just my own little weirdo and did my own thing. Moving around and going to different schools really taught me a lot. I stayed myself the whole time but it definitely helped build my character.
Did you use changing schools as an opportunity to reinvent yourself?
I don’t know that I really tried something new each time, but I did enjoy always being the new girl.
It’s clear that your mother was a mentor, but who else has helped shaped you into the artist you are today?
Benjamin Franklin is my idol. He contributed so much to society: the postal system, the first library, the first fire department. The fact he was able to give so much, I would love to be looked at in that kind of way hundreds of years later.
How did your music career really take off?
The first big person I started writing for was Timberland. After him, I got to write with Dr. Dre, Starshell, Swiss Beats. After a while, people started to come around and look at me like I was an artist.
When did you decide to break out as a solo-artist instead of just a songwriter?
I think from years of writing things and throwing them into the wind I figured out that the indie style wasn’t my thing. After seeing that wasn’t working, I realized I needed to find a better way of doing this. I’ve never been about being famous, it’s just a talent that I have, and I’m wasting it if I don’t share this thing. It’s so difficult to come out as an artist and just say, “Sign me.” If you come with your hands out and nothing to offer people, they look at you and wonder why they should give you a shot.
You’ve made a deliberate effort to study other people’s success and failure, haven’t you?
I spent so many hours watching biographies on people and paying attention to, “OK, this person failed because of this. This and this person won because of this.” It’s crazy how the same few things will be someone’s demise: thinking that you’re too good for the people that brought you in, drugs, or toxic relationships. Those are the main things that make people fall off. I’m staying clear of all that. [Music] isn’t about me, it’s about the gift. Just do what Jesus said. Treat people good. Treat them the way you want to be treated. I want people to treat me cool, I don’t want people to be an asshole to me so, you know.
How do you feel when people use Jesus as a way of attacking gay people?
I don’t think Jesus ever said a thing about gay people. In fact, I think he said love your neighbor. I preach, treat people the way you want to be treated. It’s never any of our place to judge one another on sexuality or religion. I feel like we all should be enjoying ourselves, enjoying our lives. Not giving a fuck about whoever says, “I don’t enjoy your lifestyle.” Fuck you! It’s my life. Get the fuck out of here. People only get upset at other people’s lives because they’re trying to take the focus off of their own lives. I’m not a religious person what-so-ever. I just personally think Jesus was dope.
How did you cope with being the weird girl?
It’s not easy. I definitely got teased. I definitely had those moments where I wished I was someone else. I wished I was cooler. It was really painful but pain makes you stronger. You gotta be weird and be in your own life. My mom always used to say, “Be glad you’re not confused. Everybody else is trying to be like these other people but you gotta be happy with who you are.”
What do you think of your gay fans?
I fucking love them! They are so cute. I was in Chicago at Spin and these guys were complimenting me so much more than straight guys do. Straight guys are pussies when it comes to compliments. I love that. Straight guys want girls to do all the work. Especially in L.A.
What advice would you give to the little weird girl you used to be?
That weird pays off. Don’t worry about. Normal is overrated.
EXCLUSIVE: Listen to "Hella Bad" (Moti Remix)