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Music Business Alum's Song on Obama's Summer Playlist


In her new hit song, “So Hard,” recent Music Business alum Inez Whitt (MA '18), who goes by the name NEZI, sings about some of the hardships of being an adult: 

“I didn't ask to be here, wish things would change
And I'm in the wrong career field on minimum wage
I got bills that are past due
Crying 'bout my last dude” 

Now, Whitt's song has been chosen to appear on former President Barack Obama's Summer 2021 Playlist.

Whitt, a singer-songwriter who was born in Chicago, was raised in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and currently lives in Brooklyn, describes her music as “raw and emotional but also sassy.” She has sung for as long as she can remember, having grown up in the church.  

She decided to come to study Music Business at NYU Steinhardt “to be a well rounded artist.”  

“I believe all artists should have a working knowledge of at least the basics of the music industry (understanding contracts, marketing, how public relations works, etc.),” she said. Whitt feels that her degree has helped her “so much!”  

“NYU was an amazing experience! [I'm] grateful for the connections I made and the knowledge of the industry I was able to take away,” she exclaimed.

woman in graduation attire

Inez Whitt at NYU Steinhardt graduation in 2018

“I have an understanding of contracts, marketing and more! It is also cool to know that for resources or additional knowledge, I can lean on my professors and former classmates." While at NYU, Whitt had the opportunity to intern at Roc Nation, Atlas Music Publishing, and TouchTunes. 

To build enthusiasm for her music, Whitt has arranged a few contests on her Instagram page. Most recently, in support of “So Hard,” she gave away $250 to help pay a follower’s bills.   

Whitt answered a few questions by email:

Tell us about your song “So Hard.” 

“So Hard” is such a special song. To be transparent, I suffer from depression and I wrote the track back in March of this year. I also had Covid-19 at the time and on top of that, I was in between jobs making minimum wage and on unemployment. I wanted to write how I felt, what I was going through at the time. I wrote the first verse and hook and sketched out the second verse melodies but couldn’t quite figure out what to say. I had a conversation with my manager, Alexis, and asked if she could help me write the second verse. The rest is history! I wanted to create a song about real life things and share my story.  

How has Obama’s playlist impacted your life?  

My streams and listeners on Apple Music and Spotify have gone up tremendously! Also my followers across all platforms grew. I’m extremely grateful that Obama has helped to amplify my voice!  

What’s next for you?  

More music, more visuals, and more content! I’m thankful to everyone’s support thus far!

NYU was an amazing experience! [I'm] grateful for the connections I made and the knowledge of the industry I was able to take away.

Inez Whitt