Ears Wide Open: Niina Soleil

Niina Soleil (Photo by Caitlyn Phu)

Valley native Nina Shallman paid her dues in local singer-songwriter circles, releasing her debut album in 2015 and a jazz EP three years later, both while juggling the demands of attending college on the East Coast. Last spring, she flipped the switch are began releasing music under the name Niina Soleil.

Using classic pop and soul songwriters of the past as her guide, Soleil exudes poise no matter the style she’s pursuing — it’s all in the way she shapes her formidable voice. It’s dusky on “Happy Pills” (out today), the groove-driven song that marked her first release of 2023. It’s airy on “Make It Summer,” released last summer. It’s easy to be spellbound either way.

Caitlyn Phu directed the video for “Happy Pills,” which was co-written and produced by Paper Idol (aka Matan Koplin-Green). Carla Dauden directed the very West Coast video for “Make It Summer.”

Expect an album announcement from Niina Soleil soon.

||| Watch: The videos for “Happy Pills” and “Make It Summer”

||| Also: Stream “Lonely in Love”

||| Live: Niina Soleil opens for Jacklen Ro on Saturday, March 4, at Genghis Cohen. Tickets.