A NEXXTING newsletter is released each month, featuring a collection of new music releases—track-by-track commentary, music video links, GIFs, and a playlist (Spotify/Apple Music/YouTube)—to help folks transcend “the charts” and music streaming algorithms.
Jamila and I discuss the history of music discovery and distribution, what goes into creating playlists, and the challenges and rewards of publishing creative projects on the side.
Jamila: A friend recommended it to me, but at the time I had only put out one newsletter and I didn’t really know what I wanted NEXXTING to be. I remember she shared the link to the TinyTree application with me and I was like, “I’m not ready for this.” Especially the question of “what’s your vision for the project?” That intimated me. I probably left the tab open for a month.
After my second newsletter I felt like I was finally onto something and could use some help, which was ultimately what made me apply. Not just financial help to get on more streaming platforms and pay for MailChimp, but also having a creative peer with similar projects to be able to talk to.
There was something about the questions you asked – especially “how does this project cultivate depth and beauty?” – that made me think, “ooh, does NEXXTING do that?” So beyond the size or popularity of the grant, the way it was done forced me to contemplate some things and I appreciated that.
Jamila: It’s been really affirming. I didn’t expect people outside of my friends to get excited about it. I thought only people from the Caribbean, Africa, or the UK were going to value this. But having someone who’s American, in California, be like, “this concept resonates with me,” was super affirming and really motivating.
I have all these ideas floating around in my head of what NEXXTING could be but there’s a voice in my head that says,“but who asked for that? Who told you they want that, Jamila?”
And now I’m emboldened to treat it more like an experiment. The grant has given me the mental room to think and create. And that’s invaluable, there’s not a dollar amount you can put on that.