In 4 years, Denisia “Blu June” Andrews and Brittany “Chi” Coney went from co-writing a tune Beyoncé was featured on to engaged on greater than half of her newest album.
Higher generally known as the inventive duo Nova Wav, Blu June and Chi first obtained a co-writing credit score on “Prime Off,” the 2018 DJ Khaled observe that options Future, Jay-Z and Queen Bey. Extra periods rolled in, and Nova Wav wound up penning 4 songs on Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s collaborative album, Every little thing Is Love, in addition to Bey’s The Lion King: The Reward, together with the Juneteenth anthem “Black Parade.”
On Renaissance, the famous person’s daring exploration of dance and home music, Blu June and Chi not solely co-wrote eight of the 16 songs, they co-produced 5 tracks; Chi additionally engineered a number of the songs, and Blu June sings background on “Alien Famous person” and “Pure/Honey.” Now the duo is nominated for 3 Grammy Awards, together with album of the yr for Renaissance and finest R&B tune for the viral hit “Cuff It.”
“I might undoubtedly credit score Bey because the artist who has allowed us to evolve as creators,” Blu June tells THR. “The extent of belief is impeccable. We aren’t who we have been 10 years in the past after we have been sending Beyoncé data, however she may nonetheless see and listen to the potential. We have been at all times given probabilities, and we stepped as much as the plate. Every little thing is timing, and it’s our time.”
Provides Chi: “A whole lot of our blessings come from us understanding what it means to be affected person — we play chess and never checkers.”
The songwriter-producers met in 2009 by a mutual buddy — Blu June was residing in her hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, and Chi was based mostly in Atlanta — and labored just about to create music. Blu June finally joined Chi by shifting to the A, and the duo earned their first placement with Rihanna’s “Loveeeeeee Music” from her Grammy-winning 2012 album Unapologetic. However Chi’s identify didn’t seem within the songwriting credit. “[Chi] was completely part of that document. We really created that document collectively. It was just a few business BS, however we ain’t even going to provide that no power,” Blu June explains.
The tune was an album favourite and reached platinum standing though it wasn’t a single, making it clear that Nova Wav had the juice. Extra platinum hits — like Kehlani’s “CRZY,” Nicki Minaj’s “Megatron,” Teyana Taylor’s “Gonna Love Me,” Jazmine Sullivan’s “Choose Up Your Emotions” and DJ Khaled’s “Simply Us” and “You Keep” — poured out of them. Additionally they crafted songs for Britney Spears, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, H.E.R., Zayn, Meek Mill, Saweetie, Jason Derulo, Pop Smoke, Kelly Rowland, Lukas Graham, Ludacris, Keyshia Cole and Monica, whose Nova Wav-produced single, “Dedication,” topped Billboard’s Grownup R&B Songs chart.
The duo — additionally nominated for his or her work on Mary J. Blige’s Good Morning Attractive, up for album of the yr — says they really feel honored to assist inform tales, notably narratives about points that resonate personally. Says Chi: “We’re speaking about Black ladies moguls. We have been on high of that shit. There’s a degree of belief and degree of respect we’ve got with them, and it feels actually good. Now you may have Black ladies rising as producers … I believe it was time for a perspective change.”
Girls held solely 3.9 % of all producing positions throughout the songs on the 2021 Billboard Sizzling 100 Yr-Finish Charts, in accordance with a examine by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, and navigating that world hasn’t at all times been simple for Nova Wav, who have been snubbed within the nonclassical producer of the yr class at this yr’s Grammys (5 males are nominated, and a lady has by no means gained the award). “I believe we’ve been marginalized for a really very long time,” says Blu June. “We simply need the development of all ladies in music, and to be sincere with you, we type of need to have the ability to drop the truth that we’re ‘ladies’ producers.” “And,” Chi chimes in, “simply be one of many high producers.”
Along with combating for extra variety in manufacturing, the pair can be working towards truthful rights for songwriters. Sometimes, producers (who work on the beat) will earn an advance when engaged on a tune, whereas writers (lyrics and melody) receives a commission by royalties if the tune performs effectively or is promoted as a single. Nova Wav says too many instances songwriters produce however don’t get the total credit score. “For probably the most half, the phrases are 50 % and the music is 50 %, and that needs to be allotted in another way,” says Chi. “Songwriters needs to be revered far more than what’s happening.”
To make the enjoying subject even, Nova Wav — when engaged on a tune as writers not producers — will request a songwriting charge. (“Individuals haven’t been enthusiastic about it, however I imply, that’s the best way it needs to be,” Chi provides.)
Navigating the music business has been a curler coaster, however Chi and Blu June say they really feel deeply shut to one another, a connection they liken to psychic talents. “It’s been very magical,” Blu June says. “It’s the chemistry, the intuitiveness, the togetherness.”
Provides Chi: “Individuals discuss loyalty quite a bit, and it’s a phrase that they throw round however don’t perceive. And we actually needed to stand on that. We have been examined quite a bit. Persons are going to attempt to are available between and divide you and get you to go somehow, however you’ve obtained to remain agency on what you imagine in.”
Their bond is stronger than ever, and it’s the third consecutive yr that Nova Wav have been nominated for a number of Grammys. Their first nominations got here in 2021, once they have been up for tune of the yr and finest R&B tune for “Black Parade” and finest modern Christian music efficiency/tune for co-writing Lecrae and Kirk Franklin’s “Sunday Morning.” Final yr they competed for album of the yr because of their work on Again on My Thoughts by H.E.R. and finest R&B tune for Jazmine Sullivan’s “Choose Up Your Emotions” — the tune that gained Sullivan her first Grammy in one other class.
“I keep in mind sitting at my job once I was in Tallahassee, and Jazmine had a tune with the lyrics, ‘I gotta dream large/ ‘Trigger when it occurs, it’s gone occur actual fast.’ I actually recognized with that tune, and 10 years later to have a tune together with her, it’s like, ‘Wow. Full circle second,’” Blu June remembers.
Now, Nova Wav desires to win their first Gramophone, they usually have a powerful likelihood since “Cuff It,” which just lately cracked the highest 10 on the Billboard Sizzling 100 chart and has had an explosive run on TikTok, is the frontrunner in the perfect R&B tune class.
“To assist create a document like that throughout the pandemic when no person was outdoors and to make a feel-good document like that mainly out of skinny air — it’s simply God and us placing in quite a lot of work. These are the moments we labored laborious for,” Blu June says. “It truthfully feels the perfect as a result of it’s with Bey, the one that actually gave us an actual likelihood.”
Nova Wav has labored with everybody — however they nonetheless aspire for extra. The 2 have a starry want checklist of potential collaborators, together with Adele, Drake, Doja Cat, The Weeknd, Metropolis Ladies — and that famous person singer and upcoming halftime present performer whose subsequent album has been closely anticipated because the 2016 launch of Anti.
“Rihanna, we’re ready on you, lady,” Chi says. “We’re ready so that you can name.”
“We’re going to manifest this Rihanna single,” Blu June says, earlier than Chi jumps in with: “Album! This Rihanna album!”
A model of this story first appeared within the Jan. 27 situation of Latest Hollywood News journal. Click on right here to subscribe.