Niia was born in Needham, Massachusetts , and was trained by her mother in classical piano and began singing and performing at the age of 13.  Bertino's mother hails from Italy and is the daughter of an opera singer, while her extended family boasts many vocalists trained at the Juilliard School . She was invited to attend the Berklee College of Music summer program at age fourteen. After high school, Niia moved to New York City where she briefly attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music as a Jazz vocal major.
While living in New York, Niia met singer, songwriter and producer Wyclef Jean . After working with Wyclef and producer Jerry Wonda , Niia was a featured artist on 2007 single, " Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill) ," which also featured Lil' Wayne and Akon . The song peaked at number twelve on the US Billboard Hot 100 after fifteen weeks on the chart and was RIAA certified Platinum.
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