When Nija Charles was a junior at Union Township High School in New Jersey, she wrote her first track, about getting dumped by a boy.
Five years later, in 2019, she was working late on her manner to the Grammys in Los Angeles when a deluge of “congrats” textual content messages poured in to her cellphone. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Everything Is Love,” for which she wrote songs, had simply received Best Urban Contemporary Album.
“At that time I could have never imagined that anything I wrote would win a Grammy,” Nija, now 23 and recognized by her first title, informed The Post. “I was just over the moon about it.”
Once she arrived on the ceremony, Nija acquired a second probability to watch her personal historical past within the making when Cardi B’s debut smash, “Invasion of Privacy,” took Best Rap album. Nija co-wrote its songs “I Do” and “Ring” — the latter of which took her solely 10 minutes to pen the lyrics.
“I was like, ‘Two in one night? I can’t believe it,’ ” stated Nija. “I seriously partied afterwards.”
Since then, she has helped mastermind tracks for Drake, Maroon 5, Megan Thee Stallion, Chris Brown, Zayn, Teyana Taylor and Beyoncé’s soundtrack album “The Lion King: The Gift.”
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to breathe the first time I went into a writer’s meeting and laid eyes on Beyoncé,” Nija recalled, including that Queen Bey flew her to Paris so they might work collectively.
“When I met her I went right into professional mode and avoided having a fan-girl moment,” she stated. “But when I got back to my hotel room, I was like, ‘Oh my God, did that just happen? Did I just meet Beyoncé?’ ”
Now the go-to songwriter is doing it for herself. In August, Nija’s sultry debut monitor, “Ease My Mind (Come Over),” introduced her arrival as a singer. Earlier this month, she dropped her sassy single “Finesse,” about breaking up with her boyfriend of three years.
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“When I work with other artists, I’m writing about their story and what they’re going through,” she defined. “But when I’m writing for myself, I get to express my emotions and speak directly from my heart. It’s a breath of fresh air.”
Music is in her blood. Nija’s dad, Marcellus, a DJ, would spin traditional information by The Jackson 5 and New Edition at household barbecues and events.
“I remember being fascinated by those old jams when I was as young as 4 years old,” Nija stated. “It really influenced how I write songs for artists and for myself today.”
Her mom, Tracey, is a Verizon engineer who has fiercely supported Nija’s artistry because the woman first fell in love with making catchy beats at 13.
“When I was a kid, my aunt and uncle would make beats on a keyboard in my grandmother’s basement all the time,” Nija stated. “And I knew I wanted to do that, too. I started out as a music producer.”
With Nija incomes straight As in center faculty, Tracey gifted her with a MIDI keyboard with which she started honing her craft.
“Once I got my keyboard, I spent all my time making beats,” Nija stated, noting that she was happy with herself for not being into garments and make-up like the opposite women her age.
“[My friends] wanted to be at the mall. I wanted to be on YouTube teaching myself new tricks and techniques,” she remembered. “I was always trying to make timeless sounds like the old-school music my dad would play.”
She started posting her creations on SoundCloud and getting consideration. Her mother informed NBC New York how Nija had producers sending her songs to work on — however that “a lot of them didn’t realize she was 16 or 17 years old. That was funny.”
Once they did, it didn’t precisely assist at first. Nija admits that music bigwigs had been reluctant to give her an opportunity due to her race, gender and age.
“When people [in the industry] saw me, a young black female songwriter, they didn’t automatically want me on their [writing] team,” she recalled.
She acquired her break in 2017 when a consultant for Christian rapper Lecrae got here throughout Nija’s music on social media. She was employed to write the hook for Lecrae’s “Lucked Up” when she was 19 and enrolled at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, the place she majored in recorded music for 2 years.
“But even after earning that writing credit, being accepted by the music world was really hard for me,” she added. “I had to fight [for inclusion], especially in the pop and rap genres” — particularly after she was pigeonholed as an R&B persona.
“In the pop space they saw me and thought all I’d be able to write is R&B. And most male rappers only wanted other men to write their hooks,” Nija recalled. “But I just kept pushing, even after I’d been told ‘No’ a thousand times. Consistency is something my mom really instilled in me and my little sister, Zoe, growing up.”
Her first main pop co-write, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s 2020 smash “Rain on Me,” received a Grammy within the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance class. She’s additionally labored with Grande on the songs “Obvious,” “Positions” and “Motive.”
“One of my favorite memories is meeting Ariana for the first time. She’s so hilarious,” Nija stated. “We were writing ‘Positions’ at a birthday party. And we kept running outside to write a lyric, then running back inside to turn up. It was so much fun.”
Nija, who lives in LA, was signed to Capitol as a performer and is engaged on her personal album now.
“I’m grateful that I get to do what I love every day,” stated Nija. “I’m excited to continue growing and showing the world more of who I am.”
Photos: Tamara Beckwith/NYPost; Stylist: Elise Sandvik/See Mgmt; Hair: T. Cooper/crowdMGMT utilizing Eva NYC; Makeup: Markphong Tram/ABTP utilizing Charlotte Tilbury/Alison Brod PR; Stylist Assistant: Ryan Castelli; Location: The Edge, Hudson Yards.