What’s In A Name?
When people asked me what I did for a living I would always feel a rush of anxiety. I would start pouring out my list of talents, endeavors, goals and then one day it hit me! I am not one thing, I’m all the things!! However, I was still unsure how to define myself.
Fast forward to a conversation with my former business partner who played a pivotal role in me finding my identity. We were chatting one day about how I could define myself so that I don’t have to spout this long list all the time. Suddenly, without even thinking, she shouts “Nia The Artist!” and folks, it was just that simple….Nia The Artist was born. I have always loved all the aspects of the arts and entertainment world! Whether performing on stage, directing, working production, box office, teaching or just simply supporting friends; the arts are truly my passion & purpose. My name means purpose, so I've always had a strong pull towards finding my own. I have learned through my many different experiences that I am a multi-faceted, "God-gifted" artist.
The Early Years
I trained at BSD-A Dancer’s Studio in my hometown of Pine Bluff, Arkansas from the ages of 2-18. (I was actually the only student in the school’s history to receive a 16 year trophy!) When I was 9 I started traveling with my studio’s competition dance team. At 14 my teacher assumed that I could teach hip hop so, she gave me the class and that’s when I caught the teaching bug. We danced to Outkast’s “Speakerbox Intro” and wore airbrush t-shirts with our nicknames on the back. It was tragic, but it was also an experience that put me on the path to my purpose. After being on the school’s competition team for almost 10 years I learned something else about myself; I’m a traveler! I love to see and experience different places. Therefore, when I graduated from high school I auditioned for and was hired as an instructor with the National Dance Alliance where I got the opportunity to travel across the country and teach hundreds, if not thousands, of dancers. I eventually became a proud head instructor for NDA. Not only was dance my focus, I also participated in acrobatics, softball, track, cheer, and grew up singing with my classically trained mother all over the state of Arkansas. I was even a highly awarded clarinet player thanks to my uncle who was another one of the first and most amazing artist I’ve ever known!
Somewhere In The Middle
I spent 2 years at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff studying broadcast journalism and my
sophomore year I earned the position of head captain of the “Golden Girls” which is the marching band dance line. My junior year I decided to transfer to Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. There I served 2 years as the president of Spelman Dance Theatre and graduated with a BA in Theatre and Dance. One month after moving to Atlanta I got my first big gig!!! I was in the opening number of the 1st ever BET Hip Hop Awards! From there, I was very lucky to receive opportunities on and off campus which propelled my career prior to my graduation.
After receiving my degree, my only goal was to SAY YES to as much work as possible! I have been a member of 5 dance companies, tours nationally & internationally, danced in an Opera, featured in 2 films, started 2 business and working on my 3rd. I have also worked with the likes of Will.I.Am, Queen Latifah, Jasmine Guy, Lynn Whitfield, Bubba Carr, Juel Lane, Kia, Coca-Cola, Nike, and more!
The journey to your true artistry never ends. So, after becoming the fiancé (now wife) of an amazing
actor and moving to New York (now LA) I revamped my career and decided to SAY YES to a few different things. In New York I have produced short films, choreographed many musicals, and have became a full time teaching artist & arts administrator while embarking on my latest endeavors. My time in LA has been devoted to writing a series around my most current passion, Mental Illness Awareness for Artists.