The Noise Gate Interview – Inaya Day
When you’re talking about dancefloor divas they don’t get much bigger than Inaya Day. The hugely talented singer and songwriter from New York is the voice of some of house music’s best-loved cuts including ‘Horny’ with Mousse T, ‘Hold Your Head Up High’ with Boris D’lugosch and her own ‘Nasty Girl’.
Hello Inaya and thanks for taking the time out to speak to The Noise Gate…
Thank YOU! The pleasure is all mine.
“Nasty Girl” is back again! UK Producer Henry Hacking has made a new version and you deliver a great vocal performance. What is it about this track? Why do you think people keep coming back to it?
A classic never really gets old and people never really get tired of hearing it. Vanity 6’s original version is amazing and I’m just happy that my versions have made people as excited about the song as their version makes me.
People may not know you were trained at the prestigious High School of Music and The Performing Arts and were a session singer for the likes of Michael Jackson, Puff Daddy, Al Green, Queen Latifah and Big Daddy Kane. Did you ever get starstruck working with these superstars and which one made the biggest impression on you?
I would have been starstruck with Michael Jackson but, unfortunately, we did the recording in two different parts of the world. I was in Germany and he was in California. Queen Latifah and I were already buddies when I sang the duet with her and I was a featured vocalist on Big Daddy Kane’s record. I’d already known Puff Daddy / Diddy, as well. I’ve been rendering background vocals and singing with celebrated artists since I was about 13, so I’m not so easily starry-eyed. I think the artists who made the biggest impressions on me are Ashford and Simpson, Stephanie Mills and Bootsy Collins. They intentionally and unintentionally taught me so much about the business and probably don’t even realise how much they’ve influenced me.
What is a typical day like for Inaya Day?
A typical day for me is to wake up, say thank you to God, segue into prayer and meditation, personal maintenance, go into my home studi-O-ffice, do contracts, prepare & schedule songs for release, write, record, submit songs, drive to the bigger studio, produce vocals for other artists, try to find time to eat, drive home, pack for weekend travel, do shows and / or band gigs, back home to start the cycle again.
Are you still as passionate as ever about house music, or are your tastes changing as you get older?
I’m still as passionate as ever about house music, for sure. Though I record for quite a few genres, house music will always be my main-stay…. It’s embedded in my soul.
You were recognised by Billboard for your contribution to dance music, and added to their list of ‘Greatest Of All Time Top Dance/Club Artists’. What else would you like to achieve in dance music?
I’d like write multi-platinum dance hits and hear the entire world sing them back to me. Yesss!
You’ve written songs for many other artists including Bootsy Collins, Randy Crawford and more recently, Dua Lipa. Do you have a set process for songwriting or is it different every time?
No set process at all. Sometimes, if it’s a case when I’m given a track to write for, I’ll mumble a melody then write words to whatever the mumbles sound like. 🙂 Other times, I just write songs from melodies in my head and emotions in my heart. When a track comes along that fits it, we can rock.
You’re a Brooklyn girl originally. Is that where you like to hang out most, or do you prefer to be travelling? If so, where’s your favourite place to visit?
Yeah, I’m a “Brooklyn-born-and-bread-head”. Though I DO love to hang out in Brooklyn, traveling is my second love. Right now, Australia and Europe are my favorite places to visit. I’m in those places all the time. I’ve just returned from Iceland where I jumped on the mic at the house music club and at the reggae club. Then I hit the UK, where I performed in a Ministry Of Sound concert with the London Concert Orchestra. When I was in 3rd grade, the teacher asked what I wanted to do when I grow up. My answer…. TRAVEL.
“Nasty Girl” is blowing up again, but what else can we expect from Inaya Day in 2019?
I’ve teamed up with Mr Timothy and will be releasing a single with him. I’ll be releasing much more music and a variety from my label Ny-O-Dae Music. I’m producing vocals / writing for more artists and will be touring Australia in March 2019. Gonna be a big and busy year!
Henry Hacking and Inaya Day ‘Nasty Girl’ is out on 8th February on Vicious Recordings on all major download / streaming platforms. Stream here.