When Niza Charles was a junior at Union Township High School in New Jersey, she wrote her first song about being dumped by a boy.
Five years later, in 2019, she was running late on her way to the Grammys in Los Angeles when a flood of “congratulatory” text messages flooded her phone. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s “Everything Is Love”, for which they wrote the lyrics, just won Best Urban Contemporary Album.
“At the time I never thought anything I wrote would win a Grammy,” Niza, now 23 years old and known by her first name, told The Post. “I was just over the moon about it.”
Once she arrived at the ceremony, Nizza got her second chance to make history when Cardi B’s debut smash, “Invasion of Privacy,” took home Best Rap Album. Niza co-wrote the songs “I Do” and “Ring” – the latter of which only took her 10 minutes to write.
“I was like, ‘Two in one night? I can’t believe it,'” Nieja said. “I parted seriously afterwards.”
Since then, she has helped mastermind tracks for the soundtrack album “The Lion King: The Gift” by Drake, Maroon 5, Megan Thee Stallion, Chris Brown, Zayn, Teyana Taylor, and Beyoncé.
“I thought I couldn’t breathe when I first went to a writers’ meeting and looked at Beyoncé,” Nieza recalled. Queen Bey took him to Paris so that they could work together.
“When I met her I went into professional mode and avoided a fan-girl moment,” she said. “But when I got back to my hotel room, I was like, ‘Oh my god, did that happen? Did I just meet Beyoncé?’ “
Now the well-known lyricist is doing it for himself. In August, Niza’s sultry debut track, “Ease My Mind (Come Over)”, announced her entry as a singer. Earlier this month, she dropped her single “Cunning” about breaking up with her boyfriend of three years.
“When I work with other actors, I’m writing about their story and what they’re going through,” she explained. “But when I’m writing for myself, I get a chance to express my feelings and speak directly from my heart. It’s a breath of fresh air.”
Music is in his blood. Niza’s father, Marcellus, a DJ, would produce classic records by the Jackson 5 and Newer Edition at family barbecues and parties.
Nija said, “I remember being fascinated by those old jams when I was 4 years old.” “It really influenced how I write songs for artists and for myself today.”
Her mother, Tracy, a Verizon engineer, has strongly supported Niza’s artistry since the girl first fell in love with making flashy beats at the age of 13.
“When I was a kid, my aunts and uncles used to beat on a keyboard in my grandmother’s basement all the time,” said Niza. “And I knew I wanted to do that too. I started out as a music producer.”
With Niza earning straight in middle school, Tracy gifted her a MIDI keyboard, with which she began honing her craft.
“Once I got my keyboard, I put all my time into making beats,” Nieja said, noting that she prides herself on not being in clothes and makeup like other girls her age.
“[My friends] I wanted to live in the mall. I wanted to teach myself new tricks and techniques on YouTube,” she remembered. “I was always trying to create timeless sounds like the old school music my dad used to play.”
She started posting her creations on SoundCloud and gaining attention. Her mother told NBC New York how Niza had producers sending her songs to work — but “a lot of them didn’t realize she was 16 or 17. That was ridiculous.”
Once they did, it didn’t help at all at first. Niza admits that the music giants were reluctant to give her a chance because of her race, gender and age.
“when people [in the industry] Saw me, a young black female songwriter, they didn’t automatically want me on their [writing] team,” she recalled.
They got their break in 2017 when a representative for Christian rapper Lecre spotted Nija’s music on social media. When she was 19, she was hired to write the hooks for LeCré’s “Lucked Up” and enrolled at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, where she majored in recorded music for two years.
“But even after earning that writing credit, it was really hard for me to be accepted by the music world,” she said. “I had to fight [for inclusion], especially in the pop and rap genres”—particularly after being pigeonholed as an R&B personality.
“In the pop space they looked at me and thought I would only be able to write R&B. And most male rappers only wanted other men to write their hooks,” Niza recalled. “But I just kept pushing, even when I was told ‘no’ a thousand times. Consistency is something that my mom really instilled in me and my little sister, Zoe, growing up.
Their first major pop co-writing, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s 2020 smash “Rain on Me” won a Grammy in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category. He has also worked with Grande on the songs “Clear,” “Situation” and “Motive.”
“One of my favorite memories is meeting Ariana for the first time. She’s so hilarious,” said Nizza. “We were writing ‘status’ at the birthday party. And we kept running outside to write the song, then running back to go in. It was great fun.”
Niza, who lives in LA, was signed to Capitol as an artist and is now working on her own album.
“I’m grateful that I got to do what I love every day,” Niza said. “I’m excited to go ahead and show the world who I am.”
Photos: Tamara Beckwith/NYPost; Stylist: See Alice Sandvik/MGMT; Hair: T. Using Eva NYC. Cooper / Rush MGMT; Makeup: Markfong Tram / ABTP using Charlotte Tilbury / Alison Brode PR; Stylist Assistant: Ryan Castelli; Location: The Edge, Hudson Yards.