The Voice InstaBlind Competition Winner Jackie Paladino Shares Journey and Plans for 2021

With her uniquely soulful voice and bold lyricism, Jackie Paladino quickly rises as a crucial contributor to the modern music scene. While she is best known for winning The Voice’s InstaBlind Competition, the singer-songwriter makes it clear that she is merely at the dawn of her career. In 2021, Jackie aims to pave an even bigger wave, aspiring to serve as a voice for the voiceless; bringing their stories of insurmountable pain, prejudice, and heart-wrenching experiences to light. 

Dividing her time between New York City and Los Angeles, the New York City native marks her territory in the music industry while working with some of today’s biggest stars. She has collaborated with Grammy award-winning producers who are behind the music of artists such as Kehlani, H.E.R., Sia, Christina Aguilera, Jessie J, and more. Furthermore, Jackie has toured the country, performing as support for renowned talent like Mandy Harvey of America’s Got Talent.

Her notable performances have built a buzz, landing her features in various platforms—Buzzfeed, Paste, Impose, NYU Q Magazine, Ethnocloud, Broadway World, and Theater Mania, among others. A snippet from Buzzfeed’s feature reads, “The songstress skillfully crafts each piece with an intricate storyline, dives deep, and shares her personal experiences with the world, to let people know they are not alone.” A long-time hip-hop fan, Ms. Paladino was also the featured singer on GFTD’s Soothe the Soul via Tommy Boy Records. But Jackie’s influence is not limited within the United States alone. Her song, “Can You Tell Me What Love Is?” received radio airplay all the way in South Africa.

Jackie Paladino began her creative journey as a child, starting with classical piano at the age of five and expanding to include theatrical acting, singing, and dance in her early teens. Her passion and raw talent led to her admittance at a performing arts high school for music and theatre where she began honing her craft. Her first heartbreak inspired a musical composition shortly after, introducing her to the art of songwriting.

After high school, Jackie Paladino landed a spot at NYU Tisch’s School of the Arts with substantial scholarships. At first glance, it may appear as though the artist’s journey has been without pain and disappointments. But during her first year in university, she became a victim of sexual assault. Rendered powerless by the experience, she developed an eating disorder in an effort to reclaim her sense of control over her own body.

Through all her struggles, music became a permanent refuge, an avenue for expression and liberation while uplifting others. Jackie Paladino possesses wisdom way beyond her years, and she acknowledges that her mature perspective and sense of worldliness is a product of her painful past. Still, the artist managed to make something so beautiful from the darkness she’s been through, turning looming graves into blooming gardens.

Despite her young age, Jackie Paladino never hesitates to tackle vulnerable or controversial topics through her music. She fiercely opens conversations about causes she cares about, such as fighting women’s oppression, the unfair treatment toward minorities, and pertinent issues within the LGBTQ+ community. She shares her powerful story portraying resilience and resolve in the hopes of serving as a source of hope and inspiration for others to do the same. 

It’s about time that a fresh voice takes the reins in the music industry, one that aims to challenge norms and rewrite narratives. With her fusion of sultry R&B vocals and soulful modern soundscapes, Jackie Paladino is indeed one to watch. Stay tuned on future releases and performances via Facebook and Instagram.

Anna Nyakana: The Chieftess of the Niyah Zuri Tribe

Photo Cred: Ivan Lopez

“Who and What is Niyah Zuri?” you may ask. “It means Beautiful Purpose in Swahili, and I chose that name on purpose and for a purpose,” states Anna Nyakana, the award-winning creator behind the movement. Anna is responsible for the Niyah Zuri children’s book series, most notably the bestselling Niyah Zuri and The Pharaoh’s Throne, which has grown to new heights in popularity as it enters countless school districts across the country. The book series follows a fearless and curly-headed heroine, Niyah Zuri, as she and her best friends the Gonzales Twins time travel to ancient lands to assist other children from history overcome obstacles. It fulfills the need for representation in kids literature while also highlighting history, youth empowerment, and STEM. 

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1986, Nyakana is of Ugandan and German-Moldavian descent. Her family immigrated to the US in the ’90s and she began her journey of self-discovery in a very Black-and-White American society, all the while never letting go of the culture she hailed from. Her passion to bring diversity to the classroom is very much rooted in her own cultural pride and is perfectly captured in her vision statement, “Children should see a reflection of themselves in the books that they read. My mission is to inspire them, one adventure at a time.” 

Photo Cred: Ivan Lopez

Building upon her book series, Anna Nyakana is giving the Niyah Zuri Tribe another source of motivation to literally tap into; the digital world. Anna has created an animated cartoon series titled, Adventures with Niyah Zuri, which she is currently pitching to networks. When asked about her reasons for creating the cartoon she shared, “I seldom identified with a character on the cover of a book and that was the same case when I turned on the TV, even if there were only a handful of channels. Our hue deserves to be represented in the pixels and with the amount of screens in our kid’s hands these days, there’s no reason why they can’t learn about their own glorious history and that of others, all while gaining a new love of literacy through exploration! I vow to do my part to make even a screen an unmistakable tool for a child to discover the worth of their own melanated element.” Nyakana is leaving no stone unturned as she leans on her #NoDaysOff mantra to bridge the gap of representation from books to animation and beyond!

The multi-talented author, motivational speaker, mother of two, and soon-to-be producer will stop at nothing to spread the Niyah Zuri fundamentals of diversity, unity, love, and progression. Her unyielding passion for empowering the youth to “walk in their dreams” instead of chasing them and understanding that “nothing is impossible” has catapulted Anna Nyakana to a global role model all children and adults can aspire to be and learn from. 

Photo Cred: Ivan Lopez

Anna Nyakana has been featured on countless media outlets  and publications including SiriusXM, FOX, FOX Soul, FOX 61, Entercom Radio, NBC, ABC, Sheen Magazine, Medium, PopFuzion TV, and News 12 Connecticut. She recently received inclusion in Connecticut Magazine’s 2021 “40 Under 40” List and graced the February front cover to represent the 2021 Class; this honor following the non-stop recognition of this pioneer including the 2020 “100 Women of Color Award” and Class Valedictorian and proclamations from the Lt. Governor of the State of Connecticut and Connecticut House of Representatives. 

The Chieftess has a very clear and undeniable vision of growing her Tribe, stating, “This is more than a book, this is more than a cartoon, this is a movement! So what are you waiting for to live purposefully in your life? You deserve to reach your fullest potential, let’s go!” 

Visit to order books, download free parent and teacher resources, and keep up with the latest news. You can follow Anna Nyakana on all social media platforms as @Niyah_Zuri.