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Check Out Niyah Nelson’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Niyah Nelson.

Hi Niyah, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I began my journey with music endeavors in about 2013-14 in college radio at ODU in Virginia. I was the A&R for a local music segment to our podcast show “Industry Illustrated,” and that allowed me to connect with the musicians and tastemakers in the area at the time. I met a lot of resourceful people who were making moves while on that show and one of those people was Quinelle Holder, a now well-known Publicist from the DMV – he gave me my first writing position at Hip-Hop Since 1987. That same year, I met the 757 rep for Def Jam marketing and got an internship in street marketing. This is 2014 at this point. I took those two opportunities and ran with them. I aimed to be one of the illest and known writers from that site throughout VA and I began developing a media personality that was growing exponentially just because of my writing works and affiliations. From there, I started building a vast network within Hip-Hop journalism and media and realized I could make my relationships literally work for me.

From about 2015-2018, I worked with numerous artists from mostly VA, Atlanta, and I started gaining traction in the LA/Bay Area as a PR, getting artists exposure to online publications and media outlets. The work put in during those years as a blogger, Def Jam intern, and a PR led me to come across the radar of Larry Live, who was Timbaland’s Studio Manager in VA, as well as his A&R Manager. Larry Live gave me an opportunity to become a digital content manager for Timbaland’s website, MosleyMusicGroup.com, and act as an A&R assistant to him in the studio located in VA Beach (Thomas Crown Studios.) Larry Live had a platform called Everyday Dope Life (EDL) that he didn’t really know how to manage, being that his background was in being a music executive. He allowed me to take over the brand in 2016, and I relaunched it in 2017 as my Events & media company. Since acquiring EDL, we have established ourselves in the 757 and parts of the east coast (ATL, DMV, NYC). We now host an annual festival in Norfolk, VA, called EDL FEST: A Hip-Hop Carnival. My journey throughout music has evolved into event production and content curation.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
It definitely has NOT been a smooth road. Like Nipsey Hussle once said, “I went through every emotion with tryna pursue what I’m doing.” After our second festival and seeing what a crowd of 600+ people looked like in front of me based on my work, I suffered deeply with imposter syndrome. I didn’t feel like I was ready for the things I literally work every day towards. After having to cancel our third festival because, for lack of better words, we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into, I wanted to quit and be done with it all for good. It drained the LIFE out of me. I’ve wanted to quit. I’ve gone through phases of my dreams changing and not knowing how to necessarily navigate through those changes. Even now, during this quarantine and COVID pandemic, I feel like we’re going through another hard reset as to what EDL really means to the culture and our community and how we can also navigate through these times while remaining true to our vision. It’s TOUGH but it’s meant to be tough because it’s a journey worth learning & growing with. All of our ideas started off as mere thoughts jotted down on pen + paper. We figured out to bring them to life and contribute to our culture with our vision. THAT is worth keeping on for. And so that’s what we do.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I started my career not necessarily knowing what I wanted to do or what I was good at, I just knew that whatever I ended up doing, it HAD TO involve music. I knew that in college, I would be surrounded with resources that would help me fine-tune my quest in figuring that, and so I’ve taken full advantage. I’m apart of that group of creative entrepreneurs that could never really own just one title or could never truly describe what it is I do. Now, I produce events & online content catered to Hip-Hop culture.

I’m most known for owning Everyday Dope Life (EDL) and producing our annual festival, EDL FEST: A Hip-Hop Carnival. In the past, I’ve done A&R work for Thomas Crown Studios/Timbaland Productions, blogging/journalism for numerous sites including HipHopSince1987, HypeFresh Magazine, KAZI Magazine, & many others, and PR work for a plethora of artists. I’m proud of the integrity and influence I have with my creative community. People look to me as a legend where I’m from and I’ve worked hard for that. What sets me aside from most is the fact that I jumped out of media into event production with zero experience and now, I host one of the biggest music events in the 757.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Stay true to your vision as the plan never truly changes, often times there is only a change in direction. Keep going! Follow us on Instagram at @everydaydopelife.

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Shamon Jones (@nsightz) Tidewater Waves

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