Nova Wav, the Grammy award-winning production and songwriting duo are the creative forces behind many of the timeless anthems that have shaped the sound of Hip Hop and R&B. Hailing from Florida,Brittany “Chi” Coney and Denisia “Blu June” Andrews have crafted hits for the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, DJ Khaled, Kehlani, JAY-Z, and Nicki Minaj.
After building an impressive catalog of songs, they won their first Grammy Award for co-writing and producing “LoveHappy” and co-writing “Nice,” “Friends” and “Black Effect” on The Carters album Everything Is Love in 2016. The same year, they went on to co-write “Top Off,” “You Stay,” “Holy Mountain” and “Just Us” on DJ Khaled’s Father of Asahd.
In 2020, they collaborated with Beyoncé on “Black Parade” from The Lion King which earned them a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance and co-wrote 8 out of the 16 songs on Queen Bey’s landmark album Renaissance in 2022.
HipHopDX spoke with Nova Wav about the meteoric rise as one of the most in-demand producers in Hip Hop and R&B, some of their signature songs, and putting the spotlight on women producers.
Although Blu grew up in Fort Lauderdale and Chi is a native of Plant City, they met on MySpace through a mutual friend. Immediately, they were drawn to each other’s creative energy and developed an organic partnership that would soon be a game-changer in the industry.
“We actually met via the amazing internet in 2009,” Chi remembers. “A rapper hit me up on Facebook and said, ‘I heard some of your new stuff on MySpace, could you send me some beats?’ I was like, ‘I really DON’T? do that but okay.’ When he sent the verses back, he said, ‘I got this girl coming over to do the hook.’ When he sent it back after that, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, who was that? She’s amazing. Her voice is incredible. It’s a one-of-one.’ So we began working together and maybe like a year later, I was like, ‘Yo, if you move to Atlanta with me, we’re gonna be huge.’ So here we are. 12 years later and the promise of God is evident.”
Blu and Chi both list Missy Elliot as one of their biggest influences who, at the time, was one of the few Black women sitting in the producer and writers chair. Missy’s style shifted the scope and sound of popular music, inspiring the musicality of Nova Wav.
“We have to credit Missy Elliot because she was the first example of a woman who was executive producing albums. Her writing and production was a huge inspiration for both of us. Also, Timbaland,Kanye West, The Neptunes, and Rodney Jerkins are influences,” Chi says.
In 2012, just a few years after forging their creative partnership, they landed their first major placement with Rihanna’s “Loveeeeeee Song,” which peaked at number 55 on the Billboard 100. The song was a foreshadowing of more to come and, according to Nova Wav, a sign from God.
“I know it’s cliché, but it was a dream come true for Rihanna and Future to be our first placement with ‘Loveeeeeee Song.’ It’s one of those things you can chase but it must find you, like when the vision catches up to reality. We already knew who we were, and what we could do, but to just have that moment presented to us and to step up to the moment was amazing,” Blu says. “Everything that we thought and everything we believed, that moment showed us that we weren’t crazy. It was just so surreal and it was just the start of so many amazing things. It was just the start of an era for us.”
Another one of the duo’s signature songs is “Pick Up Your Feelings” by Jazmin Sullivan which became an anthem of female empowerment. Blu and Chi explained how they had the song in their vault for several years before it came to life after collaborating with Sullivan.
“We actually started that record in Seattle, Washington. We started that record, just on a whim, not necessarily thinking about who we wanted to send it to,” Blu recalls. “Along with one of our co-writers that we do a lot of music with by the name of Kyle Coleman, we were playing with some melodies and stuff. As soon as we made it, we were like, “Wait a minute, this feels different.”
“What’s crazy is that record sat for like five years,” Chi adds. “We were shopping that record around, and we ended up linking up with Jazmine. If you don’t know, Jazmine writes all of her records. So we went into the session and we were like, “So what do you want to do? She was like, “I don’t know, I mean, y’all are the writers. She put us on the spot [Laughs].
“So we did some work and she was like, ‘Y’all dope.’ We got the stamp of approval. A couple of weeks later, I sent her a record to see what y’all felt about it and she answered back with all fire emojis and said ‘This is crazy,'” Chi continues. “Within two weeks, the record was out. She went and added her stuff to it and it became a totally different record.”
“During the session for ‘Cuff It,’ we were in Atlanta and hit a wall. We couldn’t come up with anything so a bunch of us went to a strip club for inspiration at like 3 a.m. [Laughs]. Blu said, ‘I have this beat that I’ve been working on.’ I never heard it before and when she played the track, I was loving it. We started working on some ideas and sent it to B and she went crazy! That’s when I knew we were on something that would become “Cuff It.”
“When you think about Beyoncé, a lot of people really don’t know that she really is producing. Not only is she putting things together with vocals and lyrics but she gets on the MPC. She likes to be in trenches when we work together,” says Chi.
In addition to creating incredible music, it is Nova Wav’s mission to spotlight and create space for Black women producers/writers on the rise. They believe they were chosen to show the undeniable value and importance of highlighting the contributions of Black women as creatives in the music industry.
“It’s so crazy because I was having a conversation with God a couple of years ago and I was like, “God, how am I going to show people who you are? I specifically remember a voice saying, “Be the example,” Blu says. “We kind of just take that model with everything in our lives. Whether it’s our spiritual lives or our music lives. The only thing that we could do is just to let young Black women see us as examples.
We’ve led with integrity, we’ve led with our hearts, we lead with compassion, and even when you talk about the type of records that we make, we’re always trying to empower the people, especially women. So right now we’re full, full, full charge on just being the example wearing the crown. And sending and setting good examples, setting good examples for the young women out here.”
“We didn’t always have that type of representation coming up, so we kind of had to create what we thought that should be and I think we’ve done a damn good job of it,” Chi adds. “We want those girls who are looking at their TV or looking at their phones. We want them to know that they don’t have to be artists. They can produce and write as well. And like Blu said, to do it with integrity and be proud to represent themselves, their families, and God. That’s why it’s important for us.”
Check out the “Nova Wav Essentials” playlist below!