Nina Sky | More than Reggaeton Duo

nicnat 75It’s amazing to have had that success but we’re not trying to re-create what happened with “Move Your Body.”



PLAYBACK: stl caught up with the ladies of American duo Nina Sky the week before their CMJ showcase. Nina Sky, made up of New York twins Nicole and Natalie Albino, want it to be known that there is more to their music than just reggaeton. The two garnered wild success from hits like “Move Ya Body” and “Turnin’ Me On.” Their story of personal and professional growth is interesting, to say the least: two different labels, coming out and marriage, and working with some big-name artists in R&B, hip-hop, and reggaeton. They released their second album, Nicole and Natalie, late July, and although they’ve had their ups and downs in the industry, it’s clear the ladies aren’t planning on stepping out of the music business anytime soon.

What’s your favorite thing about NYC?

Natalie: Favorite thing about New York City, hmm… It’s awesome. Wherever you go, there’s something happening; there’s inspiration everywhere. We really feel like there’s never a dull moment in NYC. From art, music, fashion, great food, crazies—we’ve got it all.

And Puerto Rico is an equally lovely place. I visited San Juan a few years back and fell in love with it. Do you visit often?

Nicole: Natalie visits Puerto Rico about once a year. Our grandparents live there, so it’s nice to get out of the city and our normal travel, recording, performing, routine to relax.

Natalie: I fall in love with Puerto Rico every year that I go back. It’s definitely my “go to” for relaxation, lazy beach days, and awesome food.

Is there a difference in your fans in Puerto Rico versus in NYC?

Nicole: The crazy thing is, we’ve never actually performed in Puerto Rico. In all of our years of performing, we’ve been everywhere from Africa to to Europe, The Phillipines, and have never performed in Puerto Rico. Someone’s gotta make that happen soon!

What advice did your parents give to you when you first started out in the industry?

Nicole: Our mom is the most supportive parent any child could ask for. When she knew we wanted to take music seriously and make a career of it, she told us: One, To “be careful” (she still tells us that all the time), and two, to believe in ourselves and not allow anything to bring us down.

Natalie: And something Mom says all the time, although it’s not necessarily industry advice: “Karma is a bitch.” That’s my favorite. Think before you do things; what goes around comes around tenfold.

 “Move Ya Body” was released in 2004 and made it on international charts and top stations. Was that the greatest hit from Nina Sky, or can we expect an even greater hit in the future?

Nicole: When we released “Move Your Body,” we had no idea that it would take off how it did. It’s amazing to have had that success, but we’re not trying to re-create what happened with “Move Your Body.” For us, the goal is to make great music; that was the same way we felt in 2004. Being on the charts is an added bonus, and of course that’s awesome, but for us, what’s more awesome to have our fans enjoy what we do.

What were your reasons behind leaving Universal? And what is it that Polo Grounds Music/J Records offered you that better served your musical interests back then?

Natalie: The reason we left Universal was because at the time we were having creative differences. They saw a lane for us that we didn’t necessarily agree with taking. All parties agreed it wasn’t the best situation for us at that time, and we left on a positive note. As far as Polo Grounds, we had more creative control over the music but felt like the push to release our album wasn’t there. We’re very passionate about what we do and want everyone involved in or project to have the same passion on all levels, from label, management, everyone. We didn’t feel like we were getting that at Polo Grounds, either.

On working with your twin sister: Who did you turn to when you were younger and just starting out in the music industry? Did you find most of your support and growth from each other?

Nicole: When we were younger, we always turned to our mother. As far as supporting each other, that’s the best part of what we do. Our dream to do music was always a shared one, and to be living it with each other is incredible.

Nicole, you’ve come out, and you and Natalie performed at OUT/LOUD recently. Do you feel that coming out has broadened your fan base or decreased it? And does that difference in audience affect the lyrics that you write?

Nicole: We have the most open-minded, accepting fan base. I don’t think our fan base has decreased because of my own personal life, and as far as our song content, we write music that’s relatable to everyone!

Natalie: About the lyrics: The feeling of love and being in a relationship is universal; straight or gay, we can all relate.

Your new music represents a very strong and empowered attitude that is something that fans have always found in your music; however, this time the album is much more R&B and less reggaeton. Is it fair to say there is a new Nina Sky and an old Nina Sky?

Nicole: Our first album wasn’t a reggaeton album. I think in 2004 it was easy for people to pin us as the “reggaeton girls” because of our Puerto Rican background. Yes, we’ve collaborated on songs in the reggaeton genre, but our first album was an R&B album. This album is true to our R&B base. In eight years, we’ve matured and experimented a lot with our sound, but everything we do still maintains the same Nina Sky essence from 2004.

What is your favorite Nina Sky song? What song are you most proud of?

Natalie: “Faded Memories” from our first album will forever be my favorite. The vibe was so honest between us while creating the song that I was able to go to a different place lyrically, I was able to get emotional on the track and express deeper feelings, which I’d never really done before. We’ve met quite a few people with the song tattooed on them. It’s amazing how many people could relate to what I was feeling.

What would you do for a living if you weren’t making music?

Natalie: Hmm. Own a thrift shop.

Nicole: I will find a way to never answer that question. I always want to and will make music.

What items on your bucket list were you able to check off since launching your music career?

Natalie: Launching our music career! When we started at 19, that was the only thing I wanted to accomplish before I died. I wanted to make a career out of our love for music, and we have been able to do so. With it came traveling to places I never even dreamt of, seeing some of the most beautiful places in the world, collaborating with amazing artists, and providing me a fruitful life with my family. Bucket list complete—for now, at least. | Kristyn Potter

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