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Nioki shares her new CD Rest

By Kim Wiley

Fort Wayne Reader


Rest is a fitting title for gospel singer Niyoki’s sophomore CD. The new CD is the spiritually uplifting, musically inventive follow-up to the Fort Wayne native’s acclaimed My Everything, featuring the hit song He’s Here.

Niyoki, who is currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, recorded Rest while pregnant with her first child, Kedron Nero, who was born on November 3, 2007.

She says expectant motherhood provided a peace of mind she had never before known, while helping her develop a new sense of confidence after spending the past two years as an up-and-coming solo artist on the national gospel music scene.

“I was so much more comfortable with this project because I’d been there, done that,” Niyoki explains. “I’m more settled in my thoughts, with my lyrics, and with what direction I wanted to go with the music. And, more importantly, my relationship with God has evolved into a place of peace.”

All 13 songs on Rest were written and produced by Niyoki in collaboration with her four producers: Ralph B. Stacy, whose extensive credits include work with R&B artists Mario, Dru Hill, Jagged Edge, and K-Ci and JoJo; Antonio Neal, an EMI Gospel recording artist who has also produced gospel singers Canton Jones, Darlene McCoy and Kierra “Kiki” Sheard; and up-and-comers Floyd Thomas and Quintin X. Coleman.

Both Stacy and Thomas worked on Niyoki’s earlier CD. Much of Rest was recorded at her state-of-the-art home studio in Nashville, where she lives with Clarence Nero, her husband of three years and CEO of the independent label D2G Records.

Niyoki (pronounced Nie-OH-kee) is an African name meaning serious minded and responsible. The name was given to her by her mother Carolyn White, a high school French and Spanish teacher in Fort Wayne. Her father, the Reverend Clifford White, is pastor of Loving Faith, a nondenominational church in Fort Wayne.

At age five, Niyoki began performing with her piano-playing mother, father, brother Kenny and older sister Mikki as The White Family. She remained with the group through high school. Her two younger sisters, Tia and Malikah later joined the group which recorded five albums and toured the Midwest and Southeast on weekends and during the summer.

Rest reflects the variety of musical styles Niyoki experienced during her childhood on the gospel highway with her family singing group, the several years she spent on the road and recording in the studio with Prince.

Although Rest has, in the singer’s words, “a central theme of hope and love for Jesus Christ,” the CD offers a diverse menu of musical flavors, from the traditional gospel of Never Gave Up, where Niyoki stunningly navigates four key modulations, to the praise-and-worship sounds of Come In, the sweetly harmonized I Will Rest, the dance floor-friendly Joy, the hip-hop-infused He’s Chosen Me, and the rock ‘n’ roll of I Win. On her reprise of the ballad So Glad You Decided, Niyoki sings without instrumental accompaniment, showcasing the strength of her voice as well as her remarkable vocal control and range.

Niyoki will sing her new material during a concert on November 28th at 7:00 p.m. at downtown’s Come2Go Ministries’ Inspiration Café, 323 W. Baker St. The concert is free and copies of Rest will be available for sale with all proceeds benefiting Come2Go’s Impact Mentoring Youth Outreach Ministry. For more information, call Rosie Beasley at (260) 418-4945.

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