Up Close/ Niela

Creating her own sound

Pop Music

September 09, 2005|By Rashod D. Ollison

YOU HAVE TO LISTEN closely to Niela.

Her feathery whisper of a voice floats over a hard-edged synthesis of chunky rock, '70s-inspired funk and sleek club beats. A sweet-faced artist with jump-rope dreadlocks, Niela (last name: Magwood) is an independent singer-songwriter-musician determined to make it in Baltimore. In the last three years, she has released two CDs on her own: Jilted and Rift of the Lotus. She and her band will perform at Baltimore's 13th Floor at the Belvedere on Nov. 10.

"I think I've done a good job of creating my own sound," she says. "But I'll listen to everything."

By day, the Charm City native works as a payroll coordinator for a nursing facility. By night and on the weekends, she and her five-piece band play wherever they can be heard.

Earthy and gregarious when she's not purring lovesick lyrics over shifting musical textures, the artist hopes to one day focus on her music entirely. But until then, she has another goal.

"I'm trying to finish my degree in finance at Morgan [University]," she says.

For more information, visit www.nielamusic.com. See her at the 13th Floor at the Belvedere, 1 E. Chase Street, on Nov. 10. For more information, call 410-347-0888.

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