Kapa‘a resident Nialani Green had to come home from college in California because of the pandemic. But that didn’t stop the R&B artist known as Nialanii from making moves to strengthen her future.
When she got home, she started a new swimsuit line and, with the proceeds she made, she will release her new music single, “Turn to Me,” Friday, on all music platforms.
“They’re all forms of self-care for me,” Green said. “And since I do have the music equipment in our basement, as well as the sewing equipment in our basement, it’s not like a hassle to have to go to an office and work.”
At first, Green was disappointed at having to come home, as she just found a music studio in California that matched her vision.
“I felt so sad,” Green said. “I felt like I went back down to square one. I was honestly in a funk for the longest time. And then eventually I said, ‘OK, I can make the most out of being out here by finding a producer out here with a soundproof studio out here,’ because all of the chickens and roosters are constantly picked up in my vocals when I record at home.”
As Green watched her mom Barbara Green, a Kaua‘i seamstress, sew dresses at home, she got the idea to create new swim designs after creating them at first for herself.
She quickly launched her new swimwear line, “Niaswim,” last year on her Instagram account, taking orders during the pandemic, and will launch a website this summer.
“And I have a couple of stores that have recently asked to carry my products in California,” Green said. “And I plan on making custom orders, continuing to do that from California, and also carrying them in the stores here.”
Green is striving to not be a starving artist. Instead, she plans to invest all of her proceeds from her swimwear line into her music career when she heads back to school in fall. Her mom said she couldn’t be more proud.
“Defying the stereotype of ‘starving artist,’ Nialanii has created a beautiful line of swimwear, which she is able to manufacture and ship to the wonderful women of Kaua‘i and way beyond,” Barbara Green said. “Being able of marketing her designs online, Nialani has a business to sustain her while she pursues her true passion — music.”
Nialani Green has a younger brother, Austin Green, 13, who lives on Kaua‘i. Her older sister Andrea Green, 27, lives in California. Both support her endeavors, she said.
“So launching the website, launching the single and some of the swimsuit business, all of the sales I make,” Green said. “I’m saving the money to invest in my music and record a debut album out in California when I go back there.”
Green got her singing start at St. Catherine School, and has been singing for 10 years, recording her music at home with her dad Roderick Green as her producer.
“That’s actually when I figured out that I can actually sing, singing in the choir there,” Nialani Green said of her grade-school experiences. “When I transferred to public school, I initially got bullied. That’s another thing like being half-Black and half-Filipino. I feel like I kind of was just lost with my identity because I didn’t really feel like I completely belonged with either side.”
With adversity, Green put her energy into making new music.
As far as her new single, “Turn to Me,” Green said she wrote it on the top of Sleeping Giant in Wailua as she took in the views.
“I usually meditate at the top of the hiking trail,” Green said. “And I just came up with a melody as I was walking out. I recorded it really quickly on my phone. And then the lyrics just came to me after that.”
Green said she is going to find her musical self and experiment now, and offered a few words of encouragement for aspiring artists on Kaua‘i. “I would just say to anyone reading this article to chase your dreams,” Green said.
“Don’t limit yourself, because anything’s possible. I know (that) sounds kind of cheesy, but I think it’s really true. You can honestly speak all of your goals into existence.”
Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.