• Gravity Magazine

An A Cappella Story: Nyla Smith

For Nyla Smith, music is the one thing that she can’t live without.

Briera Crockett, Motion Pictures major at UM, was able to capture Nyla’s passion for music by filming a documentary based on Nyla’s A Cappella career.

In ‘An A Cappella Story: Nyla Smith’, follow a driven, passionate musician on a quest to empower others one note at a time.


Why did you decide to make this film, what spoke to you about it, and how did you make it?

BRIERA: The project initially began as something to do for my documentary class, but I have always loved the music Nyla creates. Delving into her solo A Cappella work in addition to her role with Biscaydence was really cool. I appreciate how vulnerable she was with me during the process and it definitely made us closer friends.

Making the film was fairly straightforward- at least for shooting. I would literally just follow her around with my favorite DSLR (a7iii) and a little lav mic. We filmed all over campus. With editing, I was able to get a lot of feedback from classmates and my professor, Professor Virga. He really forced me to look at documentary editing in a different way. Mainly, he influenced me to make my documentary more shocking and worth ones’ attention than just a standard profile on someone.

What is music for you?

NYLA: To me, music is one avenue of storytelling. I spend a lot of time trying to decide if I was going to study music, or animation, or journalism— at the end of the day music was the one thing that I couldn’t live without. I want to equip myself to tell stories that empower people and being a black woman made that even more important to me. Someone will have to score films for movies about us, write music about us and inspired by us: why shouldn’t that be me? That’s why I grind everyday— the work is hard but so worth it.

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