R&B Songstress and Social Media Maverick Inayah released her debut album S.O.L.A.R. in December 2019. Having already built a massive fanbase on social media because of her infectious personality, motivational mantras, and viral cover videos, Inayah is ready to take over the music industry. A strong voice for positive body image and confidence, Inayah has built strong bonds with her fans and has fostered a large community of supportive women.
Later this year, Inayah plans to release LEVELS, a docuseries about her life. Ahead of its release, we caught up with her to discuss her debut project, maintaining self-love as a black woman, creating strong and positive relationships with fans, and more. Read the full interview below:
Ones To Watch: Let’s talk about S.O.L.A.R. which stands for Storytelling Over Lyrics and Rhymes. Why did you decide to go with this title?
Inayah: That's how I identify my music. I always tell people that I feel like the element of storytelling in music is dying. So, I make sure that I always tell stories in my music and I try to always be very relatable. My music is based on true stories, whether it happened to me or somebody close to me. So, that’s where the name came from.
What songs do you think your fans will gravitate to on the project?
I think they'll connect with all of the songs because it’s a pretty damn good project if I say so myself (laughs). But I particularly think people have gravitated more towards 'Sugar Daddy" and "Best Thing."
How do you effectively use social media to build your brand?
Social media possesses so much power and influence. My situation is so great simply because I don’t have to work hard for my personality. This is naturally me. I’m giving y'all the real Inayah on social media and I just thank God that people accept me for who I am.
I know you often talk about self-love, women empowerment, and similar themes. How do you navigate those things in your everyday life?
Well, it’s definitely not an easy thing. I haven’t always had confidence. I talk about body positivity a lot and my slogan is "chunky bitches winning." But just like a lot of girls, I have my insecurities. I’ve battled with my weight and trying to look a certain way and come off a certain way to certain people and things like that but I try my hardest to love me and show people that. I ask them to do the same for themselves.
How important is it to represent self-love as a black woman?
Black women are so criticized, torn down, copied, and all of the above. There's so much pressure on black women already. I just want to be a voice and make sure that I show them that we're bold and beautiful in all kinds of ways and we come in so many different shapes and sizes. I just want to showcase confidence and help my supporters find it if they don’t have it.
You engage with your fans a lot. How do your fans help you?
When I was getting ready to put out "Best Thing", I was afraid to introduce my vulnerability since I'm always putting out so much confidence and telling girls how strong they are. I wasn’t sure if they would feel me on this song because it’s kind of the complete opposite of everything I’ve been saying. So naturally, I was a bit apprehensive about their response to it but when I released it, so many fans reached out to me and say I tapped into their soul because they related so much to what I was going through. It let me know I was doing the right thing and needed to stop overthinking it.
What do you think the future is for black women in the music industry?
Individuality is trending. Being a person outside of the box is the thing and I’m so grateful for that. I'm excited because I think that trend will actually keep growing and become the new normal and you’ll see a bunch of people walking around here with all types of self-expression like purple hair and extra-long fingernails not worrying about looking weird or looking like the other. You know what I mean? So I definitely think individuality is a new wave and I think it’ll last for a long time.
Stream S.O.L.A.R. here and watch the trailer for Inayah's upcoming documentary "LEVELS" below: