Citizen Queen Give Sass and Confidence in Their New Single, 'XO'
Citizen Queen is back and better than ever with their sassy new single, "XO."
The group, which consists of Nina Nelson, Kaedi Dalley, Cora Isabel and Kaylah Sharve, provides a harmonious girl power anthem about not needing love for self-fulfillment. It's been a year since the ladies released their last single, and they're releasing a new one, "Waste my Time" on July 8. IWE got the chance to hop on a Zoom call to catch up with the girls and discuss the behind-the-scenes process of creating 'XO', their sold-out L.A. show and their long-awaited EP.
About Your New Single, 'XO'
Nina: "XO" is a collaboration with a producer duo team called Nova Wav. Chi is the first woman and she produced it. Blu is the second woman and she is a top liner that worked with us. We've held this song near and dear to our hearts for a while. Then Kaedi can talk about the sample that we use in the beginning, but it's just a little bit of every single one of our sprinkles in this song and we're super proud of it.
Kaedi: Yeah, I love this song. I was in the studio with Ben and Sean ( two of our producers) one day, and they were just like, "we're just going to throw together some pads and samples and just see what comes of it." So they had me in the studio doing a lot of "da-da's" and "yeahs" and everything. But then they sent everything over to Chi, and she was able to compile this B and they sent over the demo, like maybe a week or so later. When we were able to listen to it all together, wow, that lit a fire in me. It was just so good from the start, and we knew we had to continue to work on that. So from then we kind of just worked on lyrics and Nina wrote a rap and, yeah, I love this song so much.
How it Feels to Have New Music Out
Cora: It feels amazing. We've been sitting on this stuff for what feels like as long as we've been a band.
Kaylah: I feel like we've had the great opportunity to really collab. We're just eager. we've been sitting on this music for a long time. They're bops. They're bangers. We're just ready.
Nina: What sets this song apart from the other ones is that our artistic stamp on this song is a lot bigger. Lyrically for me, musically for Kaedi, beatboxing and some rapping parts for Cora, with Kaylah on that chorus, it just feels really cool to see us shine even more than we have before. It's a fun summer bop! I got to dance in that video. That creative was also all our idea. It just feels like more of who we are is pouring into this music, and it's gonna continue to be that way with the releases we've got planned.
About the 'XO' Music Video
Kaedi: Shoutout to my homegirl, Jadagrace! Jadagrace is one of my really good friends and collaborators right now and she's always wanted to direct a video for us. When this opportunity presented itself, I was like, "Girl, you are all over this!" We were vetting what specifically to do in the video for a while and we actually filmed the video while we were getting ready for our show at The Moroccan Lounge, so time was against us. We had to make sure we did a really good video with the amount of time that we had, which was maybe a couple of weeks, but she found a courtroom venue in Downtown L.A. and was like, "What if we had a trial where we had this one boy that's been messing with all of us at the same time? What if we have him found guilty?" It was just so fun to just dance around and have a storyline to give our audience because I feel as if that was something that I've wanted to do with the group for a very long time. I'm just grateful for how it all came about. It was really hot in that courtroom, but we really made it come to life. I love every bit of it. It was just so fun to do.
Nina: Shout out to my homie as well, Alex Simone, who did the choreography for this video. I had talked to him as we were brainstorming and keeping Jada's creative in mind. Again, I want every single individual within this collective to have their stamp on how we move and our characters, so even in this video, we have little moments where we're all testifying and and we kind of act our asses off in this video, if we're being honest. We come together at the end and we destroy the f***boy together. It was so fun and I'm honestly so proud of us for how we put that together completely by ourselves. Running independently from our previous label situation, it's even more kudos to us. We're just a really strong collective here making some really cool s***.
On Their Sold-Out Show at The Moroccan Lounge in L.A.
Cora: That was absolutely amazing. We had fans show up at like 4 pm. Our show didn't start 'til like 10. They threw me a little bracelet. Honestly, the show was great, but I'm all about the fans. They were the cutest things ever.
Kaedi: It was so good to perform as four people live for the first time in basically three years—and I'm not counting our Moment House show from earlier this year. That was virtual, so since 2019, we hadn't performed. It was a big step for us all to get back into the swing of things, showing off new music. I was nervous as hell to see how they received it, but they received it so well. We could tell honestly from how they received our openers—shout out Charlie Curtis-Beard and Kennedy who warmed us up—but there was such a welcoming crowd and it was so good to sing for them and really show them how much we've missed them. It's been a while, but I felt so grateful.
Nina: We've only been openers in the past. We did an arena stadium tour, which was insane that that was our first run of anything. We opened for Pentatonix, which was the craziest bonding experience, but this was our first headlining show ever, so to see people like fly out from Texas or drive down from Seattle, and shouted that out to us from the audience, it felt like family in there. I think we were all nervous when we were first starting, but they made it feel like family and really comfortable once we really got in the swing of things. It was a good time.
New Music Coming Soon
Cora: We have a song coming out called "Waste My Time," and this is the song you hold your boo to. This is the cuddle anthem, if you will.
Kaedi: It is for the summertime. It's intimate, but it still has swag and I love the pocket that we hold in this. This is one of my favorite songs that we've ever done ever.
Nina: It's a slow jam.
Kaylah: I also like it because it shows another side of our artistry and how we can finesse R&B slow jams, though it's real vibey really feel-good. I love it.
Nina: We sing down on this one. I won't even lie to you. I almost beat up Kaylah every time her part comes in.
Kaedi: Oh, I'm punching the air literally
Their Dream Collaborations
Kaylah: I'd say Brandy and SZA for me, but as far as like a collective group, I would say SZA. We also like her.
Nina: I really want to do a song with the producer Amorphous. Pharrell, too. And then artist-wise Rosalia, for me. She's one of my favorite artists of all time.
Kaedi: Victoria Monet, just because her pen is immaculate. I think if we were to do an international one apart from BTS, if we could do one with Stromae. I don't know how we will finesse that, but I love that man.
Nina: Little Simz! She's so creative, especially in the concept of the songs before they begin.
Kaedi: Oh and Doja!
Nina: The other part of me is like other girl groups, maybe if Spice Girls had a reunion tour. That'd be dope.
On Their Upcoming EP
Kaedi: A theme of this EP is us paying tribute to our roots while also carving a way for ourselves. Every track has some sort of element of a capella in there, and we make sure to include that because that's what helped to get us where we are, and we're so grateful for that. Also, because Cora be beatboxing like a freight train, and people have to hear that, but also giving each of us opportunities to sing and to shine in different pockets. We want to show the versatility in ourselves and how our different tones complement each other and give you a well-rounded product, adding to the narrative of what it means to be a woman in this world. We are going through a lot, but we will show you in very sophisticated and intricate ways.
Citizen Queen's Top Fun Facts
Kaedi: I am very proud of my heritage. I'm Jamaican, and I'm from New York, so those are two identities that I hold very near and dear to me. And Bob Marley is probably one of my favorite artists of all time.
Cora: I am caught up with 57 TV shows.
Nina: I am Filipin, and it's a really cool concept to be an Asian American artist representing my people. Filipinos are on the rise in music lately!
Kaylah: People probably don't know because it's only really happened within the past year, but I've recently been really inspired by Selena, rest in peace. Both her music and her style.
Want to know what other girl groups we're loving? Click HERE to read our interview with AMBA on their song, "Should've Known."