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Niyoki

The White Family often opened gospel programs for such established artists as Shirley Caesar, The Williams Brothers, The Highway QC’s, The Canton Spirituals, and The Truthettes. Niyoki was especially inspired by the Truthettes’ young lead singer, TuTu Jordan. “She was always so vocally strong and confident,” Niyoki recalls. “When I was small, I was still a little afraid to go up on the stage, but she never seemed to show any fear at all.”

Eventually, Niyoki and her three sisters left the family fold and formed an R&B singing group called Milenia. “A local promoter told us that we were tall and beautiful,” explains Niyoki, who at 5’8” was the shortest member of the group. “We were at that rebellious stage. We were tired of our parents managing us.”

While appearing in Minneapolis, Milenia was spotted by Prince. “You always hear about how tight harmonies can be with siblings,” Niyoki explains. “That’s what Prince liked about us. He just loved how our blend was and how tight our harmony was.”
The sisters began singing backgrounds for Prince as well as opening his shows with a 30-minute set of their own. They appeared on his 2001 duet with Angie Stone, “U Make My Sun Shine,” and on his 2003 CD The Rainbow Children on which Niyoki was briefly featured singing second lead on the song “Everywhere.” A Milenia CD titled Our Story was issued in 2005, and included two Prince-produced tracks. 

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