I'm Nia Wyn. I'm from Llandudno. I live in London now, but I still feel very connected to the Welsh music scene.
I'm a solo artist; mostly soul and neo-soul. When I was a teenager, I dreamt of being either a footballer or a musician; my passion for music took over.
Being an artist – and being a Welsh artist – is important because it's always going to be a part of me. I've written about my experiences growing up and feeling quite disconnected from my Welsh identity. I associated being Welsh and being from Llandudno with the difficulties I had with my mental health, not being able to fit in, homophobia and the stigma. I was just young and struggling.
As time went on and I started to heal, I realised that it wasn't anything to do with being in Wales. That could have happened to me anywhere. I’ve looked at that in some of my writing; celebrating my Welsh identity and wanting to represent being Welsh. I've reconciled that now and I feel proud of my heritage. It’s been important for me as an artist.
The first gig where I thought ‘this is something’ was when I came back to Wales and supported Paloma Faith in the Zip World Stadium, Eirias Parc. That felt big. Not only because of the gig but because I was coming back to Wales. Getting my song Who Asked You on the FIFA 21 soundtrack was also amazing because I'm a massive football fan. I've also been lucky to support Paul Weller on tour, which is huge.
Even if people aren't listening to my songs, I'm proud of myself for being open – especially on my record, Take A Seat. I wouldn't have written those things a few years ago, but once it was out it brought healing and peace and allowed me to have conversations with people in my life. I want to be able to get to a point where I'm full-time doing what I love and being able to provide for my family. I also want to write for others to diversify.
A lot is going on in the Welsh music scene now. Growing up, it was centred on South Wales and a particular genre. A lot has changed since then. I'm excited about the increased focus on music of Black origin: rap, hip hop and R&B. That area of music is getting its funding and platforms, and the artists are making headway. Some of them are in London flying the Welsh flag. I don't see any Welsh artists in London that aren’t proud of being Welsh. I think it's maybe elements of being homesick or wanting to keep that aspect of yourself visible.
The 6 Music Festival being in Wales helped to raise the profile of Welsh artists. And there are a lot of Welsh-language artists out there, too. I’ve written a song that has a bridge in Welsh that I hope to record and release. My mate L E M F R E C K, has done a lot of stuff in Welsh – some in his music, but also interviews and works of art. That’s been inspiring to see.
Creative Wales has been really supportive with things like putting my songs on the Spotify playlist. But the biggest thing that has been so meaningful is the support offered in applying for the PPL Momentum Fund. If I hadn’t gotten that funding, I don't think I would have been able to go on tour. It was very validating because the people that get that continue on that trajectory.
My EP, called Magical Thinking, came out in June and I played a London headline show on 14 July at the Courtyard Theatre. A few days before that I also opened for Paul Weller. It’s going to be a busy summer.