By Alissa Arunarsirakul // January 28, 2021
After mustering up the courage to perform at open mics in Los Angeles, Neekull realized that songwriting and performing are essential to her future. Although this SoCal newcomer only has one single to her name so far, we’re convinced that the R&B scene will be a better place with her in it. Kicking off 2021 on a high note, Neekull is pleased to present her buttery new single, “Distance.”
Between the charming guitars plucks and gritty electronics, “Distance” is a sonic gem that incorporates everything we adore about R&B. Lyricially, “Distance” has Neekull acknowledging a failing relationship that no longer deserves her attention–which we all need to do a better job at recognizing. If you haven’t already, we highly suggest you add Neekull to your radar because she’s only getting started.
On “Distance,” Neekull exclusively shared with us,
“‘Distance’ ultimately is just one of those songs talking bout being with someone who just doesn’t do any good at all for the relationship and being completely over it. The lyrics obviously point that out, but even looking at it musically – there’s no blowing up, no losing it. It’s just that one point when you, the person in that relationship, have taken enough but at the same time, you don’t see the worth in losing it because you’ve already lost it with them and it did nothing. So now you’re just saying what you gotta say for what it is and that’s why you don’t want motherfuckers around you.”
The Hidden Hits has your first listen of “Distance” below:
To celebrate the release of her new music, we recently chatted with Neekull about relationship advice, her supportive parents, and of course, “Distance.”
HH: Although your family doesn’t have a musical background, you decided to attend the Los Angeles College of Music, where you grew into the musician you are today. What was it like explaining to your parents that music is your passion? Were they supportive?
N: As a kid, I was very stubborn and never did anything I wanted to (I’m still this way, haha) so my parents would never push me or force me to do anything, but they were always encouraging about trying new things. And one thing I wanted to do was sing and learn piano, but for some reason I never had a chance to learn piano… so it was an instrument I taught myself. And again, I never put much effort into anything but every day I would come out of my room and show my mom the next song I wrote–either from a recording or I’d have her come listen live. If it wasn’t a song I wrote, then it was a cover I’d learned. And for my parents to see me put a lot of effort in what I was doing, I don’t think they were too shocked. Especially my mom because she was my only audience member in those early stages and I showed her everything until I went to college. So my mom was happy to know I was going for something I am consistent in and she knew how much I love music. My dad was a little skeptical and was hoping for a more traditional career but again, my parents never stopped me from doing anything I wanted. The only thing my parents asked was that I’d get a college degree and be the first in my family to do it and I was willing to do it but if I can do what I really want to do. Honestly, my parents were much more supportive than I anticipated. They’re pretty good about hiding any concerns from me, haha.
HH: It wasn’t long ago that you unveiled your stunning debut single, “Like That.” How would you say the anticipation of releasing “Distance” compares to how you felt with “Like That?”
N: “Like That” was the first song I released ever so I was just so excited to share it as soon as it was ready, but that led to a huge learning process. Let me elaborate on that point; so basically, I released that song just wanting it out right away so I didn’t do much planning and not too much research on how to enhance streams and getting playlisted and all that stuff. I just wanted to share it ASAP. So when I started working on “Distance,” I was much more patient and calm about the process. As an independent artist, you are your own team and that was a concept I didn’t fully grasp yet because of my eagerness. This time, I was more mindful about the additional factors that could make for a good premiere and give my music a better chance of being listened to. Again, with “Distance” I was much calmer from the start of recording it, to mixing/mastering, to deciding when to release it, to the visual work. I wasn’t stressing myself out about a deadline which made the process feel effortless. I feel like as soon as I’m like, “This has to be done by this date and this project done by this time,” it’s so stressful. Instead, I had a goal of getting a project out by the end of January and however the process goes before, that is how it needed to go if that makes sense. Luckily, everything went by smoothly so now I’m just content with the work I put in and am happily waiting for this release!
HH: Only a few days into lockdown last year, you penned “Distance” as a way to address your perspective of a doomed relationship. Do you think the uncertainty of the world played a part in how you wrote “Distance?”
N: It’s funny that this question came up because yes, in a way, it did. When I was writing “Distance,” I was just freestyling and writing down everything that just came out and from there I started piecing my first verse. Usually after writing parts of a verse, I like to come up with the chorus because I want to solidify the concept or intention of the song and obviously the chorus is what does that. So like… as I was going through the writing process, I jokingly sang, “Keep your distance,” but then… I was like, “Wait a minute,” like that could work. At that point I wanted to finish this version of the chorus so I kept the line and kept going. I did write other versions of the chorus but I don’t know, I liked this one best and maybe it had to do with the fact I was jokingly singing something that connected to something else besides a doomed relationship. But anyway, the uncertainty of the world did inspire this song a little for sure.
HH: What’s your advice for people who are currently facing a similar experience as you describe in “Distance?”
N: Hahaha ohhh no… am I even qualified for relationship advice? Just… if you’re ever dealing with anyone who clearly shows no effort and doesn’t care enough about you, keep your distance. No need to hate them, seek revenge, all of that shit… just do your thing in your safe, happy bubble away from them. Don’t worry about them. They got their own karma and their own path to deal with as do you. If they don’t worry about you when it matters most, don’t ever worry about them. You did your best and that’s so much more than whoever we’re talking about right now, haha.
HH: What do you want listeners to take away from “Distance?”
N: Stay calm. You’re a bad bitch and always have been. If you’re ever in a relationship that seems to be going nowhere and you see that, it’s okay to leave. No reason to waste energy on that anymore. Chill vibes. Chill energy. We’re doing what’s good for us in 2021.
HH: Next month, we’ll be able to indulge in your debut EP! What can we expect from the upcoming project?
N: The timing is so close but I’m really last minute deciding on doing an EP or a bunch of singles, haha. I can tell you this, if I decide to do an EP, “Distance” will for sure be a part of it. With these next projects, you can expect different scenarios of being in and out of love.
HH: If you could collaborate with anyone in the music industry, who would you pick?
N: Just one? Ohhh my god, I’m really going to have to narrow it down haha. The obvious one would be SZA, but… honestly I would want to collaborate with Jorja Smith.
HH: What are your hidden hits?
N: “Love” – DEAN (I don’t know if he’s considered a rising artist, but this definitely a song I like to share)
“Provoke” – William Carr (My classmate and friend!)
“Three” – Isabella