Nova Wav Q&A: The ‘Renaissance’ Duo on Beyoncé, Bravery, and Beyond

Bianca Gracie / August 30, 2022
The Noteable Songwriters of the Month, who co-wrote half of Bey’s album, run down what’s gone into their decade of hits.

Behind every great artist, there is a team of fellow creators that help bring their sonic vision to life. Songwriter/production duo Nova Wav, who've worked with everyone from Beyoncé and Jay-Z to Rihanna and Ariana Grande, have spun their church-inspired love of making music into Platinum-selling singles and Grammy nominations.

On the heels of co-writing and co-producing eight of the 16 songs on Beyoncé's chart-topping latest album Renaissance, Nova Wav are Noteable's featured songwriters of the month. To celebrate, the pair -- Brittany "Chi" Coney and Denisia "Blu June" Andrews -- discuss how their career took shape, their proudest songwriting efforts, and key advice they've received along the way.

The friends and Florida natives formed Nova Wav in 2011. Just a year later, they co-wrote Rihanna's Unapologetic single "Loveeeeeee Song" featuring Future. Dozens of songwriting and production credits on hits later, Coney and Andrews racked up five Grammy nods for their work on Jazmine Sullivan's "Pick Up Your Feelings," H.E.R.'s Back of My Mind, Lecrae's "Sunday Morning," and Beyoncé's "Black Parade."

How did you both get your start as songwriters and producers?

Nova Wav: "Growing up in church, choir, and a band was extremely instrumental in developing our love for songwriting and producing. Blu got her start by writing poetry and Chi's [journey began] with a music production class in high school."

What was one of the first songs you ever wrote? How has your style or practice changed since then?

"One of the first published songs that we wrote was Rihanna's "Loveeeeeee Song" featuring Future. Honestly, we've grown and gotten better since then. But the same way we attacked that record is the same way we approach records today."

What's something you wish you'd been told or learned earlier in your career?

"[Legendary A&R executive] Teresa LaBarbera Whites told us, 'Be braver sooner.' Also, getting to your end goal is not about being confident, it's about being courageous in the moment."

What are the three songs you're proudest of writing, and what influences or inspiration did you have when creating them?

"Kehlani's "CRZY: Kehlani was going through a difficult time, so being able to write and produce a moment of power, resilience, and self-love, to lift up all women who may be facing obstacles was life-changing for us."

"Jazmine Sullivan's "Pick Up Your Feelings": Jazmine is one of the greats. We are always looking to empower women, so to align with a woman who's not bound by limitations and who also wanted to convey the message of not having to stay in relationships that are not serving us was so gratifying."

"Beyoncé's Renaissance album: All eight [songs]! We love them all equally. But to watch the greatest of all time for most of your life and to be able to align at this moment when the world needs to hear and feel love, we couldn't be more thankful to God that he would fulfill our dreams because we are lifting up his people."

What are some things you can't live without in a studio session?

"Positive energy, prayer, and Audio Technica MTH-50 Headphones."

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