Brick & Lace’s Nyla was the first female Jamaican artist to have a Platinum song in the United States. Light It Up (Remix), her 2015 collaboration with Major Lazer and Ghanaian artist Fuse ODG, went Platinum, for sales and streams exceeding 1 million units, in March 2017 and was later certified double Platinum in September 2021 for sales and streams exceeding 2 million units in the US.
Only recently has another female Jamaican artist achieved comparable success in the country. The former Queen of Dancehall Lady Saw saw her collaboration with No Doubt, Underneath It All, gain Platinum certification last week.
Both songs fused Dancehall with elements of EDM (Light It Up) and Pop/Rock (Underneath It All). Speaking with DancehallMag, Nyla explained that she embraces this type of fusion of genres within her music.
“I consider myself a hybrid; a fusion of different genres mashed up together. Are there Dancehall elements fused in, and do I lean that way sometimes? Of course! But I don’t really consider myself a Dancehall act,” said the singer, whose latest release is an EDM track titled Death Of Us.
“Whether I identify as being a Dancehall artist or not, any track going platinum or multi-platinum is a great achievement or accomplishment for any artist, and a Jamaican one at that.”
Light It Up, which peaked at No. 75 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 7 on the UK Singles chart, appeared on Major Lazer’s Peace Is The Mission album. It is also currently certified 2X Platinum in the United Kingdom (1,200,000 units), Belgium (40,000 units), and Denmark (180,000 units), 3X Platinum in Spain (120,000 units), and 5X Platinum in Italy (250,000 units).
Nyla expressed her pride in the song’s achievements and its contribution to Jamaican music history.
“I’ll let the fans decide if Light It Up is a dancehall track or not. As a Jamaican artist born and bred, I am proud of the borders Light It Up has crossed and whether it’s the first or not it will still go down in the history books as being one of the greats that came out of Jamaica,” she said.
Interestingly, Light It Up‘s Dancehall elements might be to blame for the song being implicated in a lawsuit filed by Steely & Clevie, alleging the unauthorized use of the rhythm and drum section from their Fish Market riddim in the Diplo-produced track and almost 1,700 other songs, a matter previously unbeknownst to Nyla. “This is the first I am hearing of this. I’m sure that will be resolved soon if not already,” she stated.
Nyla also aired her displeasure with blogs labeling her and her sister as ‘one-hit wonders,’ contending that international listeners are unaware of the breadth of their music career.
“Well I think the die hard fans know the real . I think when love is wicked started to trend online and go viral again, a lot of the US blog sites like Shaderoom wanted to capitalize on it and post it with the other songs that drove that Diwali Riddim era,” she told DancehallMag. “The truth is we were never that big in the US so they don’t know our album and the other songs that came before Love Is Wicked like Never Never or Bad to the Bone that came after that the true fans would know.”
“When referring to me, Nyla, being a part of, not only as a writer but as the featured artist and seeing my record Light It Up with Lazer go multi-platinum around the world. Of course, being called a one hit wonder did not sit right with me. It’s just not true. I was not in the video for creative reasons, so people don’t really know that it’s me singing and performing on that record. I guess now they do.”
Nyla and her sisters Tasha and Nyanda Thorbourne formed Brick & Lace back in 2004. They received momentous success upon the release of their breakthrough single, Love Is Wicked in 2007. The album of the same title was the first release from international recording artiste-producer Akon’s KonLive Distribution label. They are also known for other hit tracks like Bad To Di Bone, Get That Clear, and Push It Up.
In 2013, the sisters moved in different directions creatively, Tasha Thorbourne decided to take on a behind-the-scene position, co-writing songs for the group, but the duo Brick & Lace had remained a priority.
A few months ago, the sisters announced their return “to Dancehall” which would have undoubtedly stirred up excitement among their fans who long to hear some fresh music from the duo. Nyla confirmed that they are, in fact, busy working in the studio.
“Well the good news is that myself and Nyanda have been in the studio again working on new music, so, fans can expect something soon,” she said.
Nyla is also working on her own projects and making strides in other ways outside of music.
“Well first and foremost I am a proud mom of two, so that definitely takes up a lot of my time. I have been doing a lot of content creation and working with a few brands like Ruby Kisses Cosmetics, Starmony and Beauty Concerns just to name a few,” she said.
“I actually have an EDM song out now called Death Of Us that I recorded using the Starmony App. Fans can go into their App store and download the Starmony app and put a verse on the song if they want to and be featured with me there. It’s actually pretty cool.”