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NBDY on his new R&B single 'Feels'

MILES PARKS, HOST:

The singer NBDY turns to music for answers in his life. He grew up in northern New Jersey. His parents didn't have much money, so he was always looking to earn extra cash. And he found a pretty sweet hustle in elementary school.

NBDY: We would ask our family members for a quarter or a dollar or something, go to the store. And then, we would actually, like, buy out a whole bunch of candy, bring it to school the next day, and then start flipping it.

PARKS: Early on, he decided to sing as he sold the candy, which was a hit with his fellow students. Their pockets opened, and dollars spilled out. That early success made him think about music as a career.

NBDY: I could make money from this. I can definitely get my family out of poverty, just financial freedom. Like, so I chose R&B 'cause it was, like, the easiest thing for me. It came naturally, and it was everything that embodied, you know, me.

PARKS: He joined choir in high school and eventually began making R&B music professionally. Now he's using his music to help answer new questions in his life about love, relationships and his career. His new song "Feels" from his fourth album touches on all of it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEELS")

NBDY: (Singing) All I ever, ever wanted from you - wanted from you - was something just to reassure me - to reassure me - if what I'm giving is really love - love, love, love - or what I'm doing is good for us. Yeah. Oh, whoa.

I had came up with this record. I was in a - at a crossroads, and I'm a big lover boy, so I like relationships. I was in a relationship at the time, and I was raised in the industry to think you can't have a relationship and also have a career. That was the anxiety that I was feeling right there. Like, I just had to get all that out on that record.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEELS")

NBDY: (Singing) Why am I so full of fear, running from things that ain't near me? I ain't trying to mess it up.

Music doesn't have a face to it. So, you know, you don't really get distracted by, you know, looks or any of that stuff. Music is just sounds, just feeling, just emotion. I'm a choir kid first, at heart. So, you know, I was in a jazz choir in high school, so I really liked the harmonies and the layers and being able to play with the textures, the reverbs and stuff like that. Like, that's one of the funnest parts of my music. And it actually made me even more able to open up.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEELS")

NBDY: (Singing) Even though I know you care for me, need to feel like you're there for me - there for me - yeah, 'cause trust ain't never been there for me. Even though I know you're the one - even I know you're the - know you're the - know you're the...

This song is more of a - I feel like it's a cry out for love in a way that I've never done before. It helped me look at myself as, like, maybe you want to control the situation a little bit too much. You know, maybe you just got to let your career excel or - you know, and just see where that relationship falls at the end of the day. You know, if that person is a real person, like, they'll love you for who you are and not for what you do. And then, that's where you got to learn to let go and let God.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEELS")

NBDY: (Singing) 'Cause I get so caught up. In a way...

PARKS: That's R&B musician NBDY talking about his new song "Feels."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEELS")

NBDY: (Singing) Why am I so full of fear - whoa, hey - running from things that ain't near me? I ain't trying to mess it up. That'll just be my luck. Only know one thing is real - is real...

PARKS: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Miles Parks, in for Scott Simon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FEELS")

NBDY: (Singing) Me feel 'cause I get so caught up. In a way, the more I get, more of this good and loving... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Miles Parks is a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk. He covers voting and elections, and also reports on breaking news.