On her sophomore project, Nissi (born Jehovah-Nissi Ogulu) leans into the many facets of her life to produce a work rooted in her identity. “UNBOXED is really an opener to understanding how my mind works and embracing who you truly are in all its forms,” Nissi tells Apple Music. “I am very much a polymath, so there are a lot of things I do, and I try to do them to the best of my abilities. I honestly try to defy the odds every day and deliver my best, whether it’s with art, with music, with my startups, with product design, whatever the case may be.” Sidestepping the blend of dreamy pop and Afrobeat of 2020’s IGNITE, UNBOXED is a probing body of work that opens a portal to Nissi’s thoughts on self and the world around her. “For me, embracing one’s self in its truest form is the highest thing that any human being can do for themselves,” she says. “I think that’s why I call this project UNBOXED because it’s about showing all these sides of myself.” Across seven songs, Nissi provides a bridge to her past and brings Nigerian stars Fireboy DML and Teni along as guests. “This project has a lot of songs that touch on real experiences and the real life of a young adult in the world today,” Nissi explains. “It’s very much a reflection of life, maximizing your own potential, and inspiring people to do that.” Read on as Nissi runs us through UNBOXED, track by track. “Heavy” “‘Heavy’ is a feel-good song that still has a very strong emotional connection. It talks about friendship, going through life with the people who have your back and always being there for each other. When I say friendship, I mean it in a broader sense—your family can be your friends, too. It’s just appreciating the beauty that comes with that kind of bond. It’s really an ode and appreciation to all the people who have moved with me through the journey of making the project. That’s why I wanted it to be track one and the intro, because for me it was very important. I had a lot of my people around me and that made a difference.” “Higher” “I wanted to remind people of how badass they are. That’s the truth. It’s really a song to show you: ‘Look, even as little as [your wins] may seem sometimes, big up your chest for [them].’ We have this habit as human beings of always fixating on the things we’ve done wrong or the things we have fallen short of and not enough on stuff like, ‘OK, I’ve actually been able to execute something. I’ve actually been able to achieve something.’ No matter how little they might seem, it helps you boost yourself.” “Overthinking” “We all overthink stuff too much. Way too much. So ‘Overthinking’ was written from a very organic space, just to talk about that fact. ‘Overthinking’ was one of the quickest songs I made on the project. I fully finished [it] in a three-hour session, so it just flew right through me. No overthinking to ‘Overthinking.’” “Nobody” (feat. Fireboy DML) “I think the beauty of this song is how natural it was for us to connect in our first collaboration together. Fire is one of those people I feel is genuine in a way I can resonate with. We have a beautiful understanding and it was a great experience being in that session. We ended up creating ‘Nobody,’ which touches on loyalty and riding for your person. I think we both have a similar mentality in that [we] want to live life to the fullest [and] enjoy the spoils of it as much as possible. Loyalty is something that’s beginning to be lacking in our generation. I wanted to make a song that went against that grain, because sometimes I think about it and I’m like, ‘It’s a shame that we’re so cynical’—we are going to miss out on a lot of the potentially joyous experiences of life because we don’t look at it from the right perspective.” “Unwind” “‘Unwind’ is really, truly a depiction of me, the way I am. I'm a workaholic, naturally. I probably sleep three hours a day on average. I work a lot. That’s the way I’ve been since I was 16 years old. I’ve been doing this since I started becoming a businesswoman. ‘Unwind’ was a realization for me to try as much as possible to take moments out to relax and unwind. When you hear the song, the lyrics are very direct. I am literally saying exactly the way I am and exactly the things I was planning to do in order to make space for balance in my life.” “Thunder” (with Teni) “Teni is probably one of only a few people who is genuinely my friend. Every time we’re together it’s a vibe. That is my homie. Making ‘Thunder,’ we wanted to represent that. ‘Thunder’ talks about having fun and being free as well. It’s a very danceable record. I absolutely loved making the song with a Nigerian act who’s a woman. I want more of it. Sometimes, the [logistics] of our profession prevent it more than it should, but everybody is so dope in their own way. I really wish we would take a chance to explore that more because I don’t think I’ve met anybody who’s against it.” “Gloves” “‘Gloves’ is a glorious record. It’s like experiencing an explosion of beauty in your ears. In my experience, it elevates you on a very soulful level. I’m not the type of person you find all over social media talking about this, that, or the other. So I do understand that it’s harder for people to get to know me, because I’m very much a ‘put my head down, get things done, really focus on being, on my craft’ person. My character is not to try and make noise about things or try to be talkative. ‘Gloves’ is just to show that, despite the fact that I don’t say a lot, this is who I am and this is still how I feel about you. My love is just as high, if not higher. It’s to give people a slightly better understanding of who I am. People can interpret the song in any way they want. I’ve had people listen to it and say how they want it to be their wedding song.”

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