From writing music for a musical, collaborating with an 8-year-old on a song and chatting with Matthew McConaughey, to working with his organization Austin Texas Musicians and brainstorming with politicians on change for the music community, Nakia truly is a very busy guy.
His year, to sum up, has been an absolute whirlwind, but his newest song “It’s Never Too Late” is like a breath of fresh air. A moment to pause and reflect while reminding us of the precious and limitless gift which we’re all entitled to: the gift of starting over.
The inspiration for the song came about in the middle of a late night social media scroll in which he stumbled upon a post from his friend Savannah Welch. In the post, Welch quotes some wise words her 8-year-old son, Charlie, had said: “It’s never too late for things to get better for anyone. It’s never too late to start over and try again.”
The words struck a chord with Nakia, so he started writing. Then, a few weeks later, he reached out to Charlie, the source of his inspiration, for some help with the bridge of the song.
“I said to Charlie, ‘how would you feel about helping me finish this?’ He started talking as an 8-year-old, in very simplistic terms, and I just started trying to jot everything down as quickly as I could. And that’s what became the bridge,” Nakia tells American Songwriter.
He attributes what he took from Charlie as the reason why his song has a “matter of fact 8-year-old, anything’s possible, we don’t have to judge each other and hate each other mentality.” A mentality and unique quality which inherently makes the song special.
Despite the simplistic thematic message, Nakia skillfully crafts a compelling work which feels poignantly fitting for the state of the world, which desperately needs the opportunity for a complete reset.
Aside from music, Nakia has also worked hard this year on the reset the music community yearns for. Nakia is on the front lines of advocating for better pay for musicians, while also finding ways to educate musicians on the options available to them during a time where work is scarcely possible.
His work with his own organization, Austin Texas Musicians, and others around Austin have helped create sizable change for the community, change which has not gone unnoticed.
Nakia was rewarded a few months ago with the title of “Local Legend” and surprised with a call from Matthew McConaughey to talk about what he’s been able to achieve for the music community this year.
Even so, with everything on Nakia’s plate, the good and the bad, he’s always able to dial back in to one very important thing: the music and its message.
“I’ve always known that you can start over every time but for whatever reason, this year, it just really took a real hold on me to really keep that at the forefront of everything that I’m thinking about lately,” Nakia adds.
With that mentality and boldness intact, Nakia was able to deliver a song which became more relevant than he ever could have imagined, and coupled with the simplistic yet powerful message of his co-writer, Charlie, the song boasts a substantial amount of veracity, an essential element lacking in today’s world.
Above all, Nakia hopes this song will remind people of the simple humanity which is instilled in all of us and our responsibility to yield it well.
“I hope people hear ‘It’s Never Too Late’ and really have this renewed sense of responsibility to care for themselves and for others,” Nakia says. “At the end of the day, we’re all the same, we’re all the same energy, we’re just a bunch of atoms, cells and star gas, literally, walking around in the universe. We’re such a tiny little blip in the rest of the world. I just can’t stress enough that what’s going to set us apart as a society, moving forward, is whether or not we embrace empathy or we turn away from it.”
And of course, empathy begets empathy, so Nakia was quick to mention the initial empathy which catalyzed the creation of his song—a beautiful relationship between mother and son.
“I really think that people need to know that that’s why this song exists, because a mother cares so much for her child that she takes the time to truly listen to him and encourages him to express his feelings openly and honestly. And that’s what we need more of in the world right now.”
Check out “It’s Never Too Late” below
Photo Credit: Todd V. Wolfson