Niykee Heaton Calls Out Record Label In Open Letter, Reveals Kanye West’s Career Advice
Niykee Heaton made huge waves last year with promising debut EP Bad Intentions. It looked like she would be the next artist to make the leap from social media stardom to genuine chart force, but things suddenly went very quiet. At least on the music front. Instead, the 20-year-old concentrated on making Instagram a much, much sexier place and appeased thirsty fans with the occasional demo. We now know why.
The “Sober” diva addressed the situation in an extensive open letter, which she posted on YouTube yesterday (April 29). Niykee begins by expressing her frustrations with record label All Def Digital. “For those who don’t know, a year and a half ago I signed a record deal with a major label. The struggles Lauren [Pisciotta, her equally stunning manager] and I faced shortly after are too great to accurately recall,” she writes. “We put up with constant and continual bullying, lies, unfair compromises, underhanded politics, name-calling, blame games and much more.”
“They wanted me to change the way that I looked, the way that I acted, the way I sang, the words I wrote, who I was as an artist, but also who I was as a person,” the Complex centerfold continues. “And I couldn’t do that. The creation of my EP under these circumstances was a strenuous and very difficult task. My label wanted to take away my creative control and identity, and exercised their plan relentlessly, until finally, I had no choice but to compromise. And in turn, I was forced to put out a project that I wasn’t even proud of.”
The Chicago-born babe then explains her sexy social media antics. “I know that people think of me as a joke, an Instagram model,” Niykee writes. “It killed me that I couldn’t explain myself or the struggles that were slowing us down. My label refused to promote me or my music because I did not act accordingly. They ‘punished’ me by ignoring me, and my EP. My only way of self-promotion was through social media, so I used it to my advantage.”
There is a happy ending to this story, however, and it comes, somewhat surprisingly, from Kanye West. “[He] came into my studio session and asked to hear my music, hear our story,” she recounts. “He praised our brand and told us to not listen to what anyone was saying. He told us that he had been following our journey for months and was a fan himself.” Niykee then told him about her label situation. “He was appalled. He said, that people hate on me because not only am I talented, but I’m proud of my appearance as well. People want me to be one or the other. They want me to choose. But he told us to never choose.”
Niykee’s label is yet to comment on her open letter.
Listen to Niykee read her open letter below:
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