5 of Nala's Most Cutting Vocal Features
Jun 15, 2023
5 min read
Over the last couple of years, Nala has become an unstoppable force in the world of electronic music. She’s played major festivals all over the US, like EDC Las Vegas and Lightning In A Bottle, while hitting first-rate nightlife establishments, including Space Miami and Spybar in Chicago.
But her reach extends far beyond her physical presence in the club through the power of her vocal features—both on her own productions and collaborations with other producers like Walker & Royce, Ardalan, and Claude VonStroke.
Whether she’s the one standing behind the decks or not, people on dancefloors around the world are hearing her brutally honest lyrics and pointed yet seductive tone.
Nala’s voice isn’t just one that’s enjoyable to hear over a four-on-the-floor beat, either. She has something to say, and a lot of times, it’s not what people want to hear. Hers are harsh truths. Reminders that everyone needs from time to time.
Yeah, things can get pretty fucked up. Life is hard. We all make mistakes. But Nala gets you. She’s right there with you. Not to coddle you to sleep. But to motivate you to do something about it. To be real with you
Check out these five tracks where Nala is nothing less than real.
1. Nala, Nikki Nair - The World Is Always Ending
"The world is always ending, and I don’t know what to do."
Have truer words ever been spoken? Definitely not.
Nala’s lead line from her swirling electro collaboration with Nikki Nair taps into what everyone has been feeling since the pandemic. Even after we’re no longer locked inside, we’re seeing the world collapse around us, but don’t worry, we can at least dance with Nala until that happens. Plus, the fact that she opts to sing this lugubrious message provides an extra dose of sweetness to the harsh reality (and demonstrates her talent even further).
2. Ardalan, Nala - Habits Die Hard
Opening with a bellowing synth that growls and grumbles beneath the surface, this track encapsulates inner turmoil. Like all the stuff everyone has going inside their heads they’ll likely never share, the music digs deep. The frequencies are low, and the beat advances with a clear intention that Nala dictates with precision:
“You say you’re not perfect? Well welcome to the party.”
This track is definitely a party, and no one here is perfect.
3. Nala - Big Bad Ego
Nala’s sophomore single on her label, Mi Domina, is a seething, angsty, acid house tune, and like all good acid house tunes, there is a nebulous feeling of dissonance throughout. 303 lines aren’t meant to be uplifting melodies that provide feel-good moments. They’re meant to grab hold in a way no other sound can and stick around even after the last beat drops.
Nala captures this inescapable gruel on “Big Bad Ego” with her lyrics:
“Keep an open mind when things go uncertain. Don’t let pride cloud your judgment. Do you feel behind when time keeps on moving? Beware of what you’re after.”
Perhaps what you’re after isn’t the best thing for you? Perhaps it’s time to make a shift?
4. Walker & Royce, Nala - Not About You
In 2023, everyone has an opinion on everything. From your boss at work to your extended family. From jaded commenters on the internet who hide behind profile pictures of dogs to government officials who think they know what’s best for everyone when history unambiguously says that they don’t.
Well, the dancefloor is one of the few places where those opinions don’t matter one bit. A place where anyone can come shake off the restrictions of the outside world and move their body as they feel. Where anyone can turn to the dissenters and say, as Nala says on her bouncing collaboration with Walker & Royce for Black Book Records: “It’s not about you.”
“When they tell me what to do I don’t listen. When they tell me what to do I just do what I want and give them nothing. Everybody’s got something to say.”
5. Nala - Psychic Attack
Nala’s debut single on Dirtybird put her on the map. “Psychic Attack” not only demonstrated her undeniable talent for house music grooves with the kind of buoyant bassline that Claude VonStroke has been championing since he started Dirtybird in 2005. But it also came with a message that is equally honest and ominous, setting the tone for what to expect from her vocal work moving forward:
“We’re under a psychic attack. What is real and what is whack. Can’t shake the feeling that I’m being attacked and what for? We’re under a psychic attack. The news is telling us to watch our backs. I can’t keep track of what is fake or fact anymore.”
One thing that is fact is Nala is going to be providing the real for many years to come.