By Eva D. Coleman
Lifestyle & Culture Editor
In June, we celebrate Black Music Month. With Black music being the basis for music of all forms, it penetrates our ears year-round. There’s unmistakably no denying the influence. Oh, no. Not at all!
When Revolt Summit 2021 “Be Heard” Talent Competition winner Nia Simone entered the room during a recent listening party in Dallas for her debut single, “Oh No, Not Me,” her petite frame did not match the vocal prowess later displayed. Her sultry and mature sound is grand, and had friends and supporters swaying and singing along.
“Oh No, Not Me” is an anthem of empowerment available on all music platforms. Nia Simone shared that she and her mentor Ms. Keiara collaborated on the title, which is from the song’s hook.
“It was just right to say, ‘Oh no, not me, this isn’t me,’” Nia Simone said. “I know who I am. I know my worth.”
Nia’s father, Donald Thompkins known around Dallas-Fort Worth as DJ Don Juan, proudly served as the music maestro for the listening party event, beaming with so much pride to play his daughter’s song. It was truly a family affair as Nia’s mother floated throughout the crowd, encouraging supporters to buy t-shirts emblazoned with “Oh No, Not Me” across the front. She watched as her daughter captivated the entire lounge area of Aloft Dallas Downtown.
“Nia’s been on stage all of her life and we just really affirmed her at a very young age, we realized, ‘This girl has something special, this is different,’” LaTara Thompkins said.
She spoke about recognizing Nia’s gift, supporting her vision and creativity, all while helping her remain grounded.
“One of the things that we’ve shared with Nia all of her life, ‘You don’t have to be on the red carpet to be walking in your gift. There’s room for your gift. Your gift will make room for you,’” Ms. Thompkins said. “Just letting them realize everything isn’t about glitz and glam and teaching them how to be humble, grateful and thankful while supporting their direction and where they’re going.”
Nia Simone was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Before capturing the attention of Diddy and many other industry greats, she found her stride at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts of which she is a proud graduate.
“Going to Booker T., collaborating with other artists, and even vocal teachers and private teachers; I knew this was what I wanted to do when I worked with other ensembles and different artists, and collaborating with them just made me realize, I want to do this forever,” Nia Simone said.
In speaking about challenges new artists face, The Clark Atlanta college sophomore advises those entering the industry to avoid seeking perfectionism.
“Everything is not going to be perfect. You’re going to have to work on it, and, as much as they say practice makes perfect, it doesn’t, it just gets you better and better and better,” Nia Simone said. “Just try not to be such a perfectionist as an artist because you will eventually go through milestones and obstacles throughout your journey.”
While “Oh No, Not Me” is smooth and will have you proclaiming your value, Nia Simone hopes the song inspires others to keep moving forward in remembrance of who they are.
“I hope they walk away feeling empowered, strong, knowing that they know their worth, they know who they are and just know they are worth everything,” she said.
Follow Nia Simone on instagram at real_niasimone, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter at realniasimone.