Jim Croce broke it down like this: "You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off that ol’ Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with …"
We’ll amend the lyrics to the Croce classic "You Don’t Mess Around With Jim" ’cause the dude never met Nyia. She’s a no-nonsense 26-year-old Las Vegas singer and single mother of two who you’re about to get much better acquainted with.
Nyia’s one of the 11 contestants on the new Fuse reality show "Redemption Song," where a group of aspiring female singers, all with tumultuous backgrounds, move into a house together and compete for a record deal with mentoring from the likes of WWE wrestler Chris Jericho, R&B star Mya, N’Sync’s Chris Kirkpatrick and more.
On the show’s very first episode, which premieres Wednesday, Nyia lets another gal have it after the girl questions her decision to be on the show with kids at home.
"I learned that I was quite short tempered," Nyia says with a hearty chuckle. "I think sometimes there’s so much pressure, I guess I didn’t really realize that I had a quick fuse a couple of times. It was difficult. Very, very difficult."
Still, Nyia’s no stranger to tough times. She spent a good deal of her childhood in foster care, with a mother battling drug addiction. At an early age, she turned to singing to help her cope with her situation.
"I think because I lacked the attention at home, I wanted attention everywhere else," she says. "So if I was at school or at church, I always wanted to sing for the attention to be on me."
Since then, Nyia’s had her ups and downs in the music industry, getting her first big break while working at a local Wal-Mart.
"I was singing in one of the aisles, and a guy and his wife came up and started talking to me, and it just so happened that they were the managers of 702, which was a local group," she recalls. "They started talking to me about my voice, and they were starting another group called Turntable, it was me and two other girls."
After doing some recordings and gigs around town, Turntable eventually would call it a day, and Nyia eventually would land at Paris Las Vegas, where she sang with the house band for a time.
Then came a chance at "Redemption."
"I did have second thoughts," Nyia admits of trying out for the show. "When I realized I got cast, I started to think about it like, ‘Oh gosh, this is a part of me that a lot of people around me don’t really know.’ So, yeah, I was really nervous. But I’m comfortable with it. Whatever comes out, comes out."
Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.