An Extraordinary Q&A with Nya Simone (Creator of Make US Known)

The courageous and charming Nya Simone' is a 13-year-old Detroit bassist, saxophonist, entrepreneur and amateur photographer. She has performed on stage with and been mentored by bassists Nik West and Divinity Roxx as well as the legendary poet/activist Jessica Care Moore.  A self-proclaimed goofball, Nya loves to laugh and has a strong affinity for Marvel movies. While she is impatiently waiting for the premier of Black Panther & The Infinity Wars she enjoys listening to Kendrick Lamar, Kehlani, rock goddess Steffanie Christi'an, AC/DC & J. Balvin.  She'll even listen to some Kathleen Battle.  Nya is hoping to attend boarding school in Southern California for high school and dreams of becoming a label owner/music producer. 

The courageous and charming Nya Simone' is a 13-year-old Detroit bassist, saxophonist, entrepreneur and amateur photographer. She has performed on stage with and been mentored by bassists Nik West and Divinity Roxx as well as the legendary poet/activist Jessica Care Moore.  A self-proclaimed goofball, Nya loves to laugh and has a strong affinity for Marvel movies. While she is impatiently waiting for the premier of Black Panther & The Infinity Wars she enjoys listening to Kendrick Lamar, Kehlani, rock goddess Steffanie Christi'an, AC/DC & J. Balvin.  She'll even listen to some Kathleen Battle.  Nya is hoping to attend boarding school in Southern California for high school and dreams of becoming a label owner/music producer. 

1.    What was your biggest inspiration behind creating Make US Known?  

My participation in Motown EDU's Music camp last summer was my first inspiration. I spent a lot of time around other talented children, writing and producing our own songs & I thought we need more of this. I see so many negative statements made about other children from Detroit because we're black and from this city. I wanted to give us something more to express our talents.  Plus, my Mom keeps me around a lot of arts, music, and poetry. I KNOW there are other great children out here just like me. We need something like this but don't have it, so I am creating it for us.

2. It's already extraordinary that you 're doing this at the age of 13 but let us know what else makes your efforts remarkable.  

It is something I don’t see other people doing and I’m doing it to put the spotlight on other children, not myself. I talked to my Mom about my other Make US Know goals recently and she made me realize that most adults don’t even put this much energy, focus, or thought into each other’s talents (unless they’re famous or can make money from it). There are talented adult performers who don’t get the attention they should, but mediocre musicians and talents sell tons of their product and have mainstream media support. Those going without, like Steffanie Christi’an, Jackie Venson, and even my aunt, Arsena Schroeder, have a hard time drumming up community support. So, I know the children need this outlet and platform, as well as, the love and support from the adults and community around us.

The outside world sees Detroit and other inner cities as useless. They see us as going nowhere, in prison, or working dead end jobs. We’re labeled as the most powerless ones in our communities, but I see us children as being the next generation of powerful creatives, like Jessica Care Moore, Tamar Kali, and Ava DuVernay, but we need practice. We need a stage and deserve one. I choose to use my power and voice now, not waiting until I’m grown and someone telling me what I can do to make an impact. We need to flex our muscles and learn how to be in business doing what we love to do. This is where I come in and I’m doing it on my own terms because I want to, and I can. My mom likes to say that she birthed brilliance when she birthed my siblings and me. She also says she’s not the only one out here birthing black brilliance. I used to think it was weird for her to say this, but I see this brilliance, or magic, in other children when others don’t or just ignore it. All of this makes what I’m doing extraordinary.

3. What has been the hardest part of building this concert and showcase?  

Paying for the venue. Getting talent to sign up. People weren't really responding until a local news story was done. Now, it's collecting the rest of the money for the venue payment. 

4. Where do you see yourself and Make US Known in 5 years

Traveling and doing shows in other big cities around the country for other children like me.  I am also turning it into a 501c3 focused on other children in the arts and helping them leverage their artistic skill into careers that they own and control. I want us to start building our own legacies for ourselves.

5. How can people support what you're doing and keep in touch with you?  

People can buy tickets to support Make US Known at https://makeusknown.bpt.me and come to the concert. The showcase will be on March 18, 2018, 6pm at The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.  

Money can be donated to gofundme.com/makeusknown to help pay the venue fees in the next couple of weeks as well as help us give participants a red carpet experience. We want to cater the event, hire photographers and a videographer as well as, pay the children performing/showing their work.  You can keep in touch with me on Instagram and through my management company, Rose Bloom Management Group, as well as, on Facebook
 

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