Bad Intentions: Meet 19-Year-Old YouTube Sensation Niykee Heaton
"Who is Niykee Heaton?" I ask.
I wanted to get to the bottom of who this new songstress was that I'd been hearing so much about from my friends and coworkers.
"I mean... to be completely honest, if you go through my Instagram and you read my tweets, that's who I am," Heaton explains. She continues, "I never try to push or portray this image that people see.
"You can really find out who I am very, very easily, whether it's having a 10-minute conversation while sharing a bag of Cheetos or by reading my tweets. It's the same thing."
Heading to Heaton's Instagram, it's easy to see what she means.
She and her manager Lauren (on the right) have crafted a musical personality that's as talented as Heaton is attractive.
Niykee has pipes and her latest EP, Bad Intentions, is proof of that:
"I think the reason I'm here is because I never tried to be where I am; we didn't construct this image or plan of attack. [My manager and I] have always said, let's just be honest. Let's just show people who we are and make the kind of music that we like. That's why I think my fans recognize what's real," Heaton told Elite Daily.
Heaton gained recognition from a cover of Chief Keef's "Love Sosa," a rap song where she sang and played the guitar.
A few more covers later and Heaton has come a long way. She's determined to let the world know that she's competent as a composer and as a singer. That said, she's still humble; the 19 year old readily admits that she never expected any of this to happen.
Influenced heavily by Bob Dylan and rappers like Kanye, 2 Chainz, Jay Z and Drake, Heaton has shaped the way she presents her music just by listening to the standouts that have come before her.
"If I was pretending to be Ariana Grande or Iggy Azalea, people would call me out. People believe in who I am, that's why they f*ck with me because I'm not trying to be somebody I'm not," she explains.
The coolest thing you can be is you. Own that shit. — Niykee (@NiykeeHeaton) October 17, 2014
#tb crayyyy. I knew my good angles even at 5. pic.twitter.com/EzaPMHfcg3 — Niykee (@NiykeeHeaton) October 18, 2014
In high school, Heaton was a loner. She had an even tougher childhood after dealing with the death of a sibling at a very young age. This struggle forced her to grow up fast. Her loss turned her into an outcast, but also taught her a valuable lesson. "I had to raise myself from age 5, that's always made me very isolated but also very independent."
If I had had this happy wonderful life, I wouldn't have anything to write about and I wouldn't be where I am now.
Today, Heaton's hard exterior has strengthened her to be confident in the music she releases, but also strong enough to shake off the haters.
"Do you know what a thirst trap is?" I ask Heaton, as our conversation continues. "Yes, I've been called that many, many times," she reveals. But when asked if she agrees with that people may be calling her, Heaton responds, "No."
"I post pictures about what I'm doing and what my life is about. So, if I'm wearing a bikini, it's because I've been wearing the same suit for a whole week. It's an exact representation of my life. I'm not going to put on a turtleneck just to make people less thirsty," she says.
And it isn't all about looks, either. Niykee adds that Instagram has become a valuable tool:
Instagram is my favorite social network because people react visually. So maybe I'll post a pic of me looking really hot, but next I'll share a picture of me sitting on my bed playing a Bob Dylan song. People come for the thirst traps and stay for the artistry.
Since releasing her first full EP, Bad Intentions, Heaton says the response has been absolutely overwhelming.
We didn't expect it to get as big as it did. We had no promotion dollars behind it. It was just me and my manager, Lauren, pushing it. The fact that it debuted on iTunes and got to number six on the charts blew my mind.
Up next, Heaton is hoping to embark on a tour around the country so she can better connect with her fans.
We're going to be playing close attention to Heaton and what she has up next -- there's no doubt that her brains and beauty will take her far.
In the meantime, check out Heaton's new lyric video for her new single, "Champagne."
Photo Courtesy: Niykee Heaton