By: Todd Davis
When one thinks of, former, West Coast powerhouse imprint Ruthless Records, more than likely hardcore Hip-Hop will immediately come to mind. It was once home to, arguably, the most controversial rap group ever, N.W.A. [Niggaz with Attitude], giving birth to veterans like founder Eazy-E [R.I.P.], Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and Arabian Prince, in addition to extended musical family members; The D.O.C., Above The Law, and, their biggest success story to date, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
With the exception of baby-talk singer Michel’le [“No More Lies,” “Nicety”] in the late eighties, R&B was really never Ruthless’ forte’. However, that may all soon change. With a newly revamped roster and just re-launched label, Ruthless Records would like to introduce to the masses its latest sensation; singer-songwriter Na’Shay…
When did you first become interested in music? And, how did it all begin for Na’shay?
I have always been interested in music at a very young age. At only 2 years old, I could sing a song from beginning to end, and hit every note! And, the first song I ever sung was [Hi-Five’s “I Like The Way (The] Kissing Game)”. My career begin at the age of 12 years old. I entered into a talent show at South West College and, surprisingly, won, and I met a man named Don Johnson who then introduced me to David Esterson and he signed me to his production company, Monopoly Music. And from there, that’s how my career all started.
Besides Hi-Five, what other artists influenced both your sound and style?
Some of the people I was most influenced by growing up were; Aaliyah, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, and Beyonce’. All these women have such great presence when they sing and perform, and that’s what’s captivated me the most.
With that being said, describe for me your musical vibe?
I would describe my music as being very laid back, (and) something you can groove to on any day, at any time. Music that anyone and everyone could be able to relate to, no matter the age.
So, you really knew from early on that music was your actual calling?
At the age of 12, I decided that this was something I wanted to do as a career. And, still to this day, it is still my dream and I’m working my hardest to make it happen.
Initially, how did you even come to the attention of the late, great Eric “Eazy-E” Wright’s widow, Tomica Woods-Wright, and eventually sign with Ruthless Records?
When I signed with my production company, Monopoly Music, they were working to shop my project around hoping someone would pick it up. Doc Clarke, who is my manager now but wasn’t at the time, took my CD to Ruthless Records, and set up a meeting to meet with me and my production company. It was said that they stumbled upon my website; nashay.com <http://nashay.com>, that was up at the time, and just loved my voice and thought I had a good look. (They) seen that I had potential, and they wanted to talk business. From there, not even a couple of weeks later, a contract was signed. I felt it was a good move to make, and I am glad I made the right decision.
R U Ready, which is pretty self-explanatory, is the name of your just released Ruthless Records’ debut…
The name of my album R U Ready was chosen because I have been working so long and so hard, and now its time for everyone to see me and hear what I have to say and see what I have to give as an artist to this music industry. My friends, family, and fans have been looking for me to drop an album for so long, and now its time! So, R U Ready?
Who all did you enlist in regards to the album’s production?
I have worked with so many talented people. To name just a few; Greg Pugani, Co-Stars, Life and Detail, Sauce and Ro, Angie Irons, Howie Hersh, Track Stars, and Underdawgs. All these people have worked with so many big named artists in this industry today, but when it comes to my music I am always involved with the creative process from the beginning till the end. When working with such producers my input is always welcomed.
Are there any special cameos to look out for?
No, on this album it’s just me! But, in the future or on any re-mixes, I would love to have an appearance. A couple of my favorite songs on the album would have to be “Lovin’ You,” “R U Ready,” “Where You At,” “Why Can’t We Be In Love,” and “Not Tonight.” But, I have to say, I love my whole entire album. I am really proud of it, and how it came together.
What has been the key to your success thus far?
What I feel will be the (key) to my success is staying grounded and my hard work, not only to please myself but my fans as well. The thing that would keep me going in this grueling industry is all the love and support I get from the people who believe in me 100%, and, also, because this is my dream and no matter how hard it may get I have to stick through it and stay positive, and not let anything get to me or get in my way.
Aside from this music, is there anything else that you’d like to get involved in or with?
I do have other aspirations. One day, I would love to appear on a television show or even have my own TV show. Or maybe, even be in a movie. I would also like to be a model, or be a spokesperson for clothing lines and make-up companies.
How do you view the current climate of today’s R&B artists — Are you content with it?
I would have to say, “No, I am not happy with the current status of R&B music in this industry today!” I feel as if its lost its place within the music world, and doesn’t even have its name anymore. All I was raised on were true R&B songs and artists who sung them. I hope I can make (a) difference with my music and bring it back, along with other artists who are trying to do so as well.
Everyone either knows your music already, or will become familiar with it soon, but who exactly is Na’shay?
I would want people to know that I am as real as anyone could get. No matter who I am, or how big my name may get, I will always stay grounded and humble, and stay sweet ‘ol Na’shay.
And, what do you like to do in your spare time completely away from this music?
What people may find me doing on my spare time, aside from music, is chillin’ with my friends and family, watching a lil TV, or taking a walk on the beach. Or, going out to some party’s — Hey, I gotta have fun, too!
Ultimately, what is your 5 to 10 year plan in entertainment?
5 to 10 years from now, I see myself touring the world, having hit song after hit song topping the charts, and having a career in modeling, TV, and movies.
As for now though, the album, R U Ready, is in stores — Any plans to tour behind it?
I am hoping that we are going to be taking a road trip real soon. But, as of right (now), the label and my manager, Doc Clarke, are looking into some tours, but there is no info just yet on what we will we be doing. But, I promise it shall be coming very soon.
What’s that “live” show element like?
For someone who hasn’t seen me perform yet, I would have to tell them that the experience would be worthwhile. I come with a lot of presence and a big voice, and expect to get a lot of interaction with me and my fans because I believe that is the most important thing. You have to make your fans feel like they’re right there performing with you.
Any parting words?
I just want to say thank you to everyone who supports me and my project, and thank all my fans for their love.