Though you probably haven’t heard of NAY NAY yet, this 20-year-old rapper from Virginia Beach is on the verge of breaking out of the underground and into the eyes and ears of the mainstream local community. After paying his dues in the local music scene, NAY NAY and fellow Virginia Beach musician BRYAN MAHON have been selected to play Z104’s annual music festival Shaggfest, which is hosted by the namesake of the festival, Shaggy — one of the radio station’s main DJs. NAY NAY recently released his debut album Lost In Space, which chronicles his life as an independent artist, as well as the struggles he has had to overcome to get where he is today.

Congratulations on being selected to play Shaggfest this summer at Farm Bureau Live in Virginia Beach. What do you feel like has contributed to your success in getting to this point in your career as a musician?

The support of my friends and family has been really beneficial to getting me this far. Without them, I don’t think I would have stuck with making music to reach this point.

What are you looking forward to most about performing at Shaggfest 2015?

Mainly, getting my name out the community. It’s going to be the biggest local show that I have ever done, and it will definitely be something that I am always going to remember. I’ve been going to the [Virginia Beach] amphitheatre ever since I was a little kid watching performers and dreaming of being up there one day. I never thought it would happen this soon. The whole experience that I have the opportunity to go through by doing this is what I’m most looking forward to.

In February 2015, you released your debut album Lost In Space. What is the significance of this album to you, and why did you choose that title?



It is my first project with all original content. Before this point, I have only released mixtapes consisting of production of other artists, and none of my other recordings were really professional. I started recording only with the laptop mic. Then as I [progressed], I ended up [building] a home studio. So this is my first professionally done album; it’s mixed and mastered. I had never really done any of that before, and it’s definitely really important to me being as I’m taking this seriously. It’s definitely a gamechanger to have a legitimate project to [release] to the masses.

As for the significance of the title, I’ve always been really interested in astronomy and the unknown. Subconsciously, when I was writing the songs, they were having lines that would relate to [outer] space before I had even come up with the album title. Then I found that the album title fit really well (laughs).

On this album, you worked with a variety of producers, including LasiK, Creation, LexiBanks, Seany OWE, and 6ix. Why did you choose to work with each of these people on Lost In Space?

LasiK is a artist that I had found on a hip-hop forum, along with Creation, and I really enjoyed their styles of production. The way that they produce and the sounds they have are very unique. Seany OWE I found on a separate music forum, and he is a very young artist. I believe he is 16; his way of producing is very advanced for his age. They were very helpful in the creation of this process. I had ideas that I wanted certain songs to sound like, and I would give them ideas for beats. Then they would take that and put their own twist on it creating something that was bigger than I was expecting.

6ix is a producer of one of the artists I listen to quite often, LOGIC. I got in contact with him through Twitter quite a long time ago, and he sent me some beats. The title track is the one that he produced, and it’s really cool to me that I am able to work with a producer of somebody that I have looked up to. I found LexiBanks on a website, and I really liked the sound of their beats too.

Is there any track in particular that stands out to you as a personal favorite?

“Daps and Pounds” is my personal favorite track just because of it’s such a fun song to do live. The crowd really responds well to that song, and I had such a fun time recording that one. It all just came together so naturally.

I saw on your Facebook page that you frequently collaborate with the singer-songwriter BRYAN MAHON, who is also from Virginia Beach. Can you tell me about how that relationship came to be?

BRYAN MAHON is actually one of my best friends. We began working together at the local Regal Cinemas movie theater, and on the first day that I started working, he had already been working there for quite some time. He asked me [about] my hobbies, and I told him that I rap. He was really interested in that because he is a singer-songwriter. He plays guitar, ukulele, many instruments, and as time went on we became close friends.

About a year ago, we did our first song together. It was a remix of the song “Power Trip,” and the chemistry on that song really worked together for us. From that point on, we started a duo, which is a side-project for both of us. We both are still doing out own thing, but we frequently do shows around the area together. Instead of doing my full beats, it’s an acoustic rap that we do, kind of similar to SHWAYZE. He is actually going to be performing with me at Shaggfest.

NAY NAY 3Do you have any recordings of your collaboration project?

On YouTube, you can hear the recording of “Power Trip.” It’s also on Soundcloud. On Lost In Space, he is featured on the songs “Hustle On” and “Shoot for the Moon.” We have a lot of songs that we have performed that we have not recorded. He has an EP coming out soon, and there is a song that he wrote called “Living in the Image” using the ukulele, and I am on the remix of that, which we should be recording very soon.

You have a wide selection of music videos that you have created. Is that an important aspect of your career as a musician?

That is a side benefit for me. With my music I pretty much do everything on my own as an independent artist. I write my own lyrics; I record it all myself; I create all the artwork; I do the videos; and [I do] all the promotion. It’s all me at this point just because I don’t have the resources, but I enjoy doing them all. The videos are fun because I get to put a visual to the words that I create. It’s definitely something that I want to continue and learn and grow with, but at this point in time, it’s not a main focus for me. It’s more of something to support my music.

When are you releasing your next music video for your song “Hustle On?”

The video is mostly shot. It’s probably about 80 percent done. The concept of the video is to persevere through struggles that we are facing, and it’s got me and Bryan in the video, [as well as] a local artist Alex Venezia. He is working on a painting but is struggling with it at first, and then at the end he gets it completed. The other part that we have not been able to film yet is a friend of mine is going to be surfing and not doing very well at the beginning and finishing by riding an amazing wave. Once it is shot, it shouldn’t take long to edit and then release.

For more updates on NAY NAY, be sure to visit his website, “like” his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter, subscribe to his YouTube channel, and check out Lost In Space on Bandcamp.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Falls Church, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with friends.

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