Earlier this week, Niecy Blues dropped CRY, a three-track EP that sounds much different than anything she has released in the past. It’s the first release from Niecy Blues since the “Ways” video was released back in 2018, other than the song she did with Benny Starr on A Water Album. In the past she’s released psychedelic R&B, and for a while she was performing with Columbia’s ET Anderson, but CRY represents Niecy processing raw emotion through an experimental, improvisational lens.
“I have been dealing with a lot of past traumas and I was struggling to really cry for a long time,” Niecy says, “and when I finally did cry, it almost felt shameful. I’ve been tracing back to when these struggles appeared and it was in childhood.”
Niecy explains that through conversation she’s found that many black children struggle with these same feelings, for reasons having to do with the oppression of their ancestors. She connects it to the idea double consciousness spoken of by W.E.B. Du Bois: looking at oneself through the eyes of a racist and suppressive society.
“The feeling that we need to be proper, put together, strong. Our ancestors had to be strong. But there is strength in vulnerability and tears,” Niecy continues. “I wanted to speak directly to black womxn. I wanted to tell my inner black girl that it’s okay to cry, to feel. But I want to note that black womxn are not a monolith. Black people are not a monolith and I am not the spokesperson for all black people. I’m just speaking from my personal experience.”
The second song, “Painted Seats (For Domo)”, is dedicated to a close friend of Niecy’s who was murdered in 2016. Niecy says that she cried while singing on this track, while exploring and unpacking the feelings associated with losing a close friend.
“I have this fear of forgetting her,” Niecy explains. “As if forgetting her means I’ll have truly lost her. And many people deal with these feelings and thoughts when they lose someone close to them. But it’s something that I’m still dealing with.”
The songs themselves were recorded at home, with the first two, “CRY!” and “Painted Seats (For Domo)” being recorded in one sitting. Niecy says that the inspiration hit and she couldn’t leave the studio room. She also says that these songs serve to document where she’s at as a budding guitarist, and letting herself explore the instrument without overthinking it. The last song, “Keep Goin’, Black Girl Ur Not Far” is more recent, and was recorded during some sessions she did with Khari Lucas of Contour, who added some additional production to this track and also played piano on “CRY!”.
“I find that when I don’t go into something with a particular sound in mind, I can surprise myself and things tend to flow without compromise for me,” Niecy closes. “The project was complete.”
CRY is a short, meditative beat that shows Niecy Blues at her most expressive. The songs are ruminations on life and trauma, and they’re found, rather than deliberately created. They invite you to sit back and let your mind wander, and to let Niecy draw out the emotions within you as she does within herself, while the songs discover themselves in real time.
Listen to the CRY EP from Niecy Blues below.