Singer-songwriter Neriah shows no signs of slowing down. The born-and-raised L.A. artist made her EP debut with This Is How the World Made Me in June and has already followed up with her sophomore EP How Do I Get Clean?, which was released on Oct. 14. In that time, Neriah has landed as the cover of Spotify’s Fresh Finds Pop playlist; had a world premiere on Zane Lowe’s World Record show for her single “Missing Somebody” and cultivated hundreds of thousands of social media followers. As Neriah continues to work on her debut album, she took the time to open up to LA Confidential about How Do I Get Clean? and finding inspiration in heartbreak and Los Angeles
What experience do you want listeners to have while listening to How Do I Get Clean?
I hope people can relate when listening to this project. I want people to know that it’s OK to be lost and confused and to know there’s beauty in the madness and that you will get through it.
This whole EP is about the ups and downs— the literal emotional rollercoaster of being young and in love, the heartache, the hard lessons and the strength and self-love you gain in the process.
Your single is called “F*** You Matthew,” but that is not the name of your ex. What exactly is the Matthew archetype?
We all have a Matthew: that one ex that feels impossible to get over no matter how much time goes by. You know all along that you deserve better, but somehow they still find a way to pull you in. The highs are high and the lows are low. It’s ironic that the ones we fall the hardest for are often the ones that hurt us the most.
Matthew is that one person you wasted way too much time being sad over… but nothing is more satisfying than FINALLY being over them; being able to say F*** YOU.
You had just four months between the releases of This is How the World Made Me and How Do I Get Clean?, the latter of which you’ve said helped with finding closure from a relationship. Did the urgency of healing facilitate the quick turnaround?
Yes and no. I write 8 to 12 songs a week. My songs are a representation of my feelings and emotions in real time. I always want to be real and raw with my audience; that’s what allows us to connect! If I’m feeling it, I’m creating art from it. I want my music to be a timeline of my life, and all my listeners are a part of that journey. There will never be a month where there isn’t new music from me!
Why does songwriting offer relief from heartbreak for you?
Songwriting offers a relief for everything for me. I wrote my first song when I was five years old about my parents’ divorce and ever since then, I have always used it as a way to express myself. When it comes to heartbreak, writing about it feels so empowering because I am able to sit back and really look at that point in my life from a new point of view where I am able to realize what went wrong and how I really felt.
When you write songs inspired by hard breakups, do you take breaks between writing lyrics and finishing the production or do you like to stay in that headspace to inspire the song’s sound? I can imagine wanting to give your emotions and mental space a break.
I start and finish my songs in one session. I get all my emotions down on paper, in that space and in that moment. When I finish a song, I leave all those feelings on the table and I try not to look back on that point in time again with that much vulnerability. Of course, it’s not like I can block those thoughts from my mind completely, but when it comes to songs inspired by hard breakups, the songwriting process is such great closure for me.
You’re a native Angeleno who has cut your chops at venues like the Troubadour and the Peppermint Club. What is special about the Los Angeles music scene?
Los Angeles is the city that made me who I am today and where a lot of inspiration for my music comes from. This city is full of so many creative and talented individuals that it continues to push me and my music in a way I don’t think any other city could. It’s home.
You’ve already had a pretty big year, but is there anything on the horizon you’re particularly excited about?
I am currently finishing up my debut album. Let's just say there may be 24 tracks I am very excited about.
Is there anything else important to know about your EP?
I want to thank my amazing team and all of the amazing people who have supported me on this journey. It is just the beginning and I cannot wait for everyone to get to know me even more.
Photography by: Maxine Bowen