The performance of the British artist NAHLI began long ago – recordings of massive British garage melodies such as Please Don’t and Only U helped her find an audience for her singing.
She will now tell her own story, with the first part of her incredibly authentic therapeutic EP projects.
We will discuss in detail with NAHLI how long it takes to make your music as authentic as possible, their different influences and their collaboration with DaVinChe, a groundbreaking Grime producer, on their characteristic sound.
What are your recent losses to Spotify?
Princess Nokia, Tom Misch, Delicious Bingham, M.I. Abaga, Lolo Zuai, Ben L’oncle.
How has your education affected your relationship with music?
My upbringing was completely surrounded by music. There’s never been a day I haven’t been completely immersed in music. My parents are very musical, and their taste for music has always accompanied me in my future musical tastes. I really like the late ’80s and early ’90s. There are black Chinese songs I love, and Jimmy Neil. Songs that no one of my age knows or likes, but that just remind me of my childhood. Bonus Mr. Enia. Elvis Presley. ABBA. I love all this, I have listened to a lot of different music during my childhood and youth, and I am very grateful for that, because it forms my vision on music. It has broadened my horizons to so many genres that I have subconsciously incorporated them into my music.
How would you describe your music style?
Honestly, I don’t know how to answer that question! I’ll never be able to describe it. It’s my honest view of life, from my own point of view. My experience has influenced my outlook on life. The way I read the men in my life The way I deal with obstacles. I think I learned a lot because I refused to listen to other people’s advice. This is not my trial. I need to deepen the lessons to make them unforgettable and I won’t make the same mistakes twice. I guess I’m just saying what I feel. So much so, in fact, that I felt very uncomfortable rejecting this EP right from the start. I felt unmasked and almost a little guilty for talking so much in public about something personal. But, uh… The hard way of learning is not very pleasant, so I want to share even the smallest bit of wisdom with my listeners. Words that people can hear and understand in a very recognizable form. I want my music to be conveyed in such a new way that it almost shakes, as if I’m digging up a forgotten story in people. For your information, this is for me. It reminds me of a love past. For me, it’s a feeling of melancholy. It’s in my nature to say things without freezing. I’m a friend who will tell you the whole truth so you’ll feel comfortable coming to me with sincere questions or problems. I’m not going to get over anything unless I’m in a situation where I have to protect her emotions at that moment. Sometimes it’s not the right time. But I’m very proud to share them with others. Just to walk into a room with people who are gifted for music like Lawrence, Jack, Tom, Zay and DaVinChe and say anything I feel, I appreciate it. They allow me to feel comfortable enough to share part of my world in one room, which then helps me find the courage to share it outside that room.
What are your favourite sounds you want to include in your music?
I’m a big fan of the heavy bass line. As soon as I hear a bad bass guitar, I’m like this: YEAH. I’m so worried. I like to bring positivity through music. I want my listeners to feel good when they’re listening. I feel nostalgic. I want my sound to evoke people’s emotions and thoughts. The living element brings what I feel in abundance. I think it’s great we turned on the live channel. It really elevates the music.
What emotions do you hope your music will bring to the listener?
I’d like to be heard. I appreciate the influx of messages that express how I ended up in a part of my audience and helped them through the bad times. Or they throw a little light on the object they had on their chest. I got a disturbing review last week. It was said that they hadn’t heard a woman raise the issue of Father’s problem like I did. There’s something to be said for a bad father-child relationship. It touches us much more than we really think, and yet we don’t talk about it very often. When I was a kid, I thought my dad was the best since I cut bread because he was funny and made me laugh… …but over the years, I realized I missed out on a lot of the parental care I really needed from him. I didn’t learn how men treat me, I didn’t learn what’s acceptable and what’s not. I have always proudly said that I never argued with my father, which made me realize later that he simply didn’t know enough about my real life to disagree with what I said. I didn’t understand how many people I could talk to on this track, it was a flood of sadness, somehow mixed with triumph. It hurt me to know that so many people come from broken relationships, but it also hurt me to win because my music touches people the way I really want it to. People understand me. And I understand them.
What does your creative process look like in general?
I write in my diary what I feel from day to day. I’ve been writing in my diary since I was five years old (of course it didn’t make much sense at that age, but the images are pretty much dead). I started drawing and I learned how to draw love hearts. I was about seven years old at the time and, like all of us, began to discover what my signature was. I was about ten years old at the time, and I started asking questions like Why are we on earth and other questions I couldn’t collect. Of course, when I was a teenager, I only wrote about boys and how my mother was annoyed that day because I was still naughty and my makeup bag was confiscated (the worst punishment in LOL history), and then I started writing. I’ve been writing songs and playing with the lyrics since I was a teenager, but I never thought about it. As I grew up, I realized that I could change my mind from paper to singing by simply moving sentences in a circle. So I didn’t see if anything rhymed or if it was too much to say… it just seemed right. I feel like I’m telling the story in my own words, which is quite unusual. DaVinChe actually showed me this process because he knows I capture all my emotions. He brought out the best in me in a creative way. So we go into the studio with our friends, who make such beautiful music together, like a well-oiled machine, and together they create a rhythm while I curl up on the couch and determine the emotions I feel from the music. When DaVinChe brings rhythm to a place where he is excited, he goes with me and helps me organize my thoughts and texts, because his outside view of what I write is really necessary. Sometimes it helps me to be braver in what I say, and sometimes it helps me to hold back a little when I start to immerse myself in my feelings and make an effort. It’s his way of protecting me. Then slowly but surely we hear that it’s going to be something beautiful, and we become HYPERPRODUCERS and order a Caribbean meal ha ha!
How did you start working with DaVinChe?
I’ve been working with DaVinChe for eight years. I don’t know what I’d do without him. He is a mixture of different things; he is a big brother, a mentor and also a friend. He knows when to call me and motivate me in such a way that I am immediately upset because he talks with such a feeling that I can’t even talk to him about things that are beyond my control, while he knows I could do more. MOMENTARILY I’m upset, haha! But she’s the only person in the world that reminds me… Then I’ll show you. I’ll show you what I can do… and then I’ll stomp around and do exactly what I had to do, but with a lot more passion, and then I’ll imagine it so that I see what I’ve done. He knows that, and I know it’s a system. But he’s fully aware of it until it happens, but I don’t understand it until it happens. Over and over again! This new solo project we’ve created together is such a beautiful process because I’m growing both musically and femininely. I love every part of it. Even pieces of stress. All this strengthens my character.
What is your message with your first PE therapy (side A)?
My message is that… Our minds are much stronger than we think. We feel like we’re at the bottom of a well with no way out. It’s like we’re going down. It’s like the weight of the world is on our chest and we can’t get it off. I want people to know and feel that there’s always a way. Yeah, maybe we still love the ex. But we’ll get through this. Yeah, we may not get along with our parents, but we can take care of it ourselves. We can grow. We can build. Our spirit, our character. Our personality, our strength. It’s up to us. Whatever hand we use, we can change our outlook and our future. Our position. We can create ourselves over and over again until we find peace. We HERE – grow and change. I want my listeners to know that we are all going through transitions and changes. We must help each other and establish the deepest possible roots, so that nothing on this earth can stop us from being happy. Because we’re happy in ourselves. When you’re ready, nothing can stop you.
How does the EP represent the music?
A work of art – INSANE. I love my friend Aimee (@AymsDesigns) and she made it for me. She has turned my throat, from which I sing, into a distorted image of the universe. I love it so much. We don’t know why I love him so much. You need to find out what that part of me means. I don’t want to be obvious. I like that there’s something to learn before the opening. I’m so close to the universe. I talk to the moon regularly, I think it’s my version of God. Except I can see him. It feels real. It seems incredible, and I can’t understand its existence or any other part of the universe, but it’s there. That’s right. And I love him so much. I often pull small manes on my cheekbones so that I can carry them with me all the time. Aimee is so talented because she got into my head and got exactly what I wanted. I made only the most subtle allusions, and that completely changed my point of view into something special. I’m very grateful to him. She’s one of my closest friends.
Do you have a favorite EP text?
If I could love you less, I could fuck you more. THAT. God, I love that line. I love that line because I wrote it once to one of my ex-boyfriends and he said: Here’s the title of the song. My brain was either sorted or blocked, and I thought… yeah, that’s it !!!! That’s right. Imagine if we could free ourselves from the love of being closer to the people with whom we were once connected. Just because you broke up with him doesn’t mean you love him any less. That man still has the characteristics you fell in love with, but it didn’t work. So, uh… Imagine if we could learn to hate people. To love them less, so you can fuck them more. No stress, no consequences. No guilt. It’s just a passionate intimacy with someone you’ve shared a life with. If only it were that simple!
Have you noticed that the music industry uses double standards when it comes to gender issues?
I’m really glad you asked me that. I was talking to my friend Aimee about it the other day. Sometimes it’s really impossible to be a woman in the music industry. I have a problem when I am friends with someone, then I go to him and ask him how he really flirts, and then I have to try to answer beautifully, which is both friendly and irresponsible towards his flirting. It’s hard because you want to communicate with people, because people are important to me, but it’s hard! It’s really hard to make a counterweight like the woman I find. I would like to befriend drug addicts in an area where it is not a problem, but it is very difficult, and as a woman you can almost see that you react in a rather tactical way. Well, I don’t. Most things I can’t worry about. I’ll just tell the truth and leave them.) Then, sometimes when men realize all you have to do is work, their reaction slows down and you wonder if you’ve ruined a potential working relationship.
What do you think of the representation and image of female musicians? Is there something you want to change?
I think the musicians are killing him. We have finally realized that we all have to stand up and protect each other. We realized we could fool each other and tell the world how big they were without taking anything away from us. I always see women raising each other, and it’s so unusual. Women are accepted so that we can challenge any man in any role and feel equal. I think change is inevitable, and when there is a universal need for change, we are on the same front, and that seems to be happening. That’s actually what I’d like to see, and I’ll always support the movement if I agree. I would like to make it clear that a woman who decides to have a child during her musical career should not frown like she used to. That doesn’t take anything away from a woman, and her downtime won’t bring her back to her career if she’s passionate. That’s the main idea I’m committed to. Kelani is an excellent topical example of why it can be a great transition for a woman, and for her listeners to be part of it.
Is there something in the music industry that bothers you from a female point of view?
Honestly, it doesn’t matter. Every career has its ups and downs. The things we love. Things we hate. Most things are probably associated with negativity, but they really outweigh so many enormous advantages. The ability to make music and be heard is amazing. It’s incredible to stand on stage and share your work with the hundreds of people who are there to listen to you. I have a feeling there’s no other feeling. Even the feeling of being in love doesn’t last. I couldn’t find the weight of disappointment in an industry that has so much that I feel blessed, really blessed.
What do you think are the problems female musicians face today?
I think the only problem I can think of personally is the pressure to always look good. Sometimes I get a photo shoot and a hormonal rush in the face. I know I’m supposed to be here, and I’m just trying to hide it. But, uh… Like women, we sometimes wake up swollen and feel like shit. Covered in stains. I wish I could eat chocolate all day and cry for nothing, but we have to get up and pretend our cramps haven’t made a sound in our stomach! But being a woman at the same time is so great, so much fun. When I look up, I like that wigs are in fashion because I like to be a different version of myself when I like it.
Have you thought about female musicians?
So I had my eye on a visual artist named Kathy Fort Kings. His voice is unbelievable… She keeps her voice perfectly under control. Your tone is beautiful. She almost refers to Billy Aylish, but in her own style. She’s young and beautiful and super talented, and I know she’ll be here soon. GRAYE is another woman I hold in high esteem. The carefree character is very attractive to the public. She’s beautiful, and her voice… I can’t explain it. It’s penetratingly beautiful. She works with some of the great producers I admire, so her sound is what I really like.
What advice would you give to girls and women who want to work in music?
I’d give the same advice as DaVinChe. Find yourself, your sound, your appearance, before you give another person an idea of who they think you should be. Don’t forget that being an artist is more than just a performance, you’ll soon be your own stylist. Your own makeup artist. Your own assistant. Your own marketing team. There are so many things you have to do on your own before you decide to look at the labels, but if you feel overwhelmed by the amount you have to get from yourself, remember the end result. Remember where you want to be. Try not to look left, right or behind you. Look ahead and concentrate on your own journey, without ever comparing. It’s so easy to compare yourself to other tempi, but you’re all on your own adventure, at your own pace. I think we all have a chance to shine and we can’t expect to win it all at once. If you continue with passion, with love, with plenty and lots of work… …you will succeed. I think back to the year I’ve had and the distance I’ve travelled, and I can’t believe it at all. It’s gotten stronger and stronger. DaVinChe and I talk every day, even on Sundays, about how to proceed. On the nature of the action plan. About how you can continuously grow and come up with new ideas. Immerse yourself completely and adapt to your wishes. Manifesto. Tell yourself every day that you will succeed and I promise you!
What will remain in 2019 and what are your plans for 2020?
The next one on my list is the exit of therapy [side B] – I am very excited about it. It has already shown the musical growth of [A-side], and I can’t wait to show it to everyone. I’m very proud of what we’ve created together. DaVinChe and I, musicians… I’m very grateful to you. The following tracks were written at the end of my healing process, and they are more about acceptance. It’s a matter of self-reflection. These are all very strong messages, which I know I can convey to my listeners. I have songs about experiences I’ve had with people when I tried to meet a new person, but had to face new challenges. The dating scene is difficult, and you feel a little vulnerable about where to put your heart after spending so much time bringing love back by yourself. The release of the first EP was such an overwhelming experience for me and the reaction was so incredible that I can’t wait for it to happen again and again. 2020 will be YEAR! I can feel it in my bones! Not only does he look good, he feels good. I am REPEAT to see it unfold. I will continue to write about new and more relevant events, I am so happy that I can finally put this chapter behind me! To a new beginning!
FUNCTIONS in positions