Toronto’s R&B Queen: Nezsa on the Power of “Soul Searching,” Creative Process and Musical Influences


Toronto’s alternative R&B songstress Nezsa is no stranger to the spotlight. Fresh off her selection as Apple Music’s “Up Next” artist, Nezsa has unveiled her highly anticipated sophomore EP, “SOUL SEARCHING.” This six-track masterpiece promises a catchy journey of self-discovery, delving into themes of love, loss, and personal growth.

We sat down with Nezsa to explore the inspiration behind the EP and her creative process.

Pinch Of Sol: You mentioned writing and composing the entire EP. Can you walk us through your creative process for “SOUL SEARCHING”? 

Nezsa: Overall, the creative process for “SOUL SEARCHING” was a deeply personal journey of self-expression and exploration. Each step was guided by a desire to create something authentic and meaningful that mirrored my reality. I wrote and recorded all the tracks in my makeshift studio in my room. I didn’t initially start with picking out a concept, I would work back and forth virtually with some of the producers and my manager/A&R that I have been fortunate enough to connect with and they would send me ideas so I would just pick up the mic when I had something to say and a chosen melody to go with it and after making 6-7 songs I noticed a pattern that guided the remainder of the EP creation process.

Pinch Of Sol: Toronto’s music scene is known for its diversity. How has living in Toronto influenced your music and career?

Nezsa: The diversity of the culture in the city has impacted the kind of music I make, from reggae to R&B influences and the Afrobeats community. It keeps you on your toes cause a lot of fusion happens here and it motivates me to keep pushing and to stand out. Toronto also has a thriving ecosystem of music venues, festivals, and events providing several opportunities for exposure and performances. From attending intimate music gigs like Waveland to large-scale festivals, and Artist developmental programs by Factor Canada, the city’s music scene offers a platform for emerging artists like myself to showcase my talent and connect with audiences.

Pinch Of Sol: Being featured by Apple Music (“Up Next”) and Spotify (“Fresh Finds”) is a huge accomplishment. How did these placements impact your career and fanbase?

Nezsa: Being featured on prominent playlists like “Up Next” and “Fresh Finds” was a welcomed achievement. It exposed my music to a wide audience of listeners who may not have discovered me otherwise and I’m very grateful for that.

Pinch Of Sol: What’s the most unexpected place you’ve drawn inspiration for a song?

Nezsa: I wrote a song after watching a video of a homeless guy preaching on the streets and I had so many existential questions running through my head that I immediately recorded a song about it. 

Pinch Of Sol: Who is your dream collaboration and why?

Nezsa: I would love to work with a lot of artists but the first one that comes to mind right now is Bloody Civilian because I have a song that I think she would be perfect on. Heavily manifesting a collaboration right now (laughs).

Pinch Of Sol: If you could have a superpower related to music, what would it be and how would you use it to create your art?

Nezsa: If I could have a musical superpower, it would be the ability to immediately absorb and comprehend any musical style or approach upon hearing it. Sometimes I hear a song in a different language or style and I’m like “damn I wish I wrote that”  if I had this power, I would be able to easily incorporate elements from other genres, cultures, and periods into my music, resulting in a distinctive and diversified sound.

Pinch Of Sol: Ten years from now, how do you want your music to make people feel?

Nezsa: I want them to remember a certain time in their life when they were dealing with something, and if or how the music made them feel at that moment. I also want my music to be timeless. Something that would be played even 20 years from now and it would still sound like it could have been made that day.

Pinch Of Sol: Share a story of a time when a specific song or musical experience completely changed your perspective on music.

Nezsa: An experience that changed my perspective on music was when I first moved to Canada. Growing up in Nigeria I always saw music as an escape and in an alternate universe I would imagine myself being an artist and chasing my dreams but I had no clue how to make that a reality, at least not until I moved to Canada and I ran into some artists who invited me to hop on a song they were making just based on me freestyling to what they had playing. That moment completely altered my perspective on music and encouraged me to take it seriously.