Niia's sophomore album, II: La Bella Vita, can best be in the manner in which she celebrated its Valentine's Day release. It was a celebration with her closest friends - and a few character actors disguised as mobsters - a large, candle-lit family style Italian feast by Jason Beliveau of Girl & The Goat, with red checkered tablecloths and music to match. Held at a mansion in the Hollywood hills with a massive view of Los Angeles, it was an event marked by the contrast of old meets new, and a look into Niia's Italian background that inspired this release. As the evening finished, Niia performed the album's title track, backed by musicians that continued this theme: an accordion, stand up bass, and piano.
Born Niia Betino, Niia's background in music extends to this family history, with multiple musicians and even her grandmother, a professional opera singer, in her life growing up. This along with her training in classical music has influenced a sound her own that at times, leads with the cadence of jazz and classic sounds of the mid-twentieth century, and at others, the rhythm of contemporary R&B. II: La Bella Vita has mastered the ebb and flow between the traditional and modern, layering music in an inviting way. Of course, Niia's voice is the marrying force across her music, with emotion hitting as hard as the subtlety and mood of the record.
II: La Bella Vita is out now.