Fresh Friday: Watch Nadya’s ‘Refugee’ Lyric Video
Swedish artist Nadya talks to us about her debut solo offering...
Nadia Kardar Tehran is the epitome of someone who has zero f**ks left to give. Simply known as Nadya, the Sweden-born artist originating from Iran intrigued when I searched online for music from her time in the three-piece group called Compadre.
Describing their sound with phrases like ‘Middle Eastern Bass’, ‘Muslimstep’ and ‘Jihad House’, I couldn't stop my eyebrows from giving a bemused raise - but there’s no denying that her debut solo single ‘Refugee’ provides some clarity to those phrases. Being of Eastern descent and unable to be placed in a generic category, M.I.A comparisons were inevitable.
Nadya was quick to tell me one difference between the two of them, however. “I really like her music, and I think she seems like a really nice person. But I punch harder.”
And like the question of genre that lingered over M.I.A once upon a time, curiousity had me asking - do you see yourself as a singer, rapper, or…?
“I think music is about expressing something real. It doesn't really matter how you do it - sometimes I rap, sometimes I sing, sometimes I scream… it's all just expressions. You've just got to keep it real.”
It’s no secret that Nadya found music an efficient outlet to fight her experience with racism. ‘I've spent years trying to hide my background, or compensate for the sound of my name… now is the time to speak up and fight back - this song is my fist in their face.”
The Duvchi-produced ‘Refugee’ tells the tale of someone who’s decided to stop worrying about fitting in with surrounding society.
“My parents were born and raised in Iran, and migrated to Sweden during the 80's. Growing up, Persian culture was a natural part of our lives and is still a part of who I am. My background gives me access to millions of references that the society I live in doesn't have. It's awesome.”
I ask her about the origins of the lyric video for ‘Refugee’. She explains: “A few years ago I found a video online of a dance group performing at a wedding in the early 90's. It's an original authentic video filmed somewhere in Iran, post Islamic revolution.
“Apparently the dance group were quite big during that time; I've played with the material and cut it up. It's all about the references and the way of putting things together that's interesting to me. When I first played the track together with the video something just happened - I felt like they were made to match. It's very exciting, finding different ways to give things new meaning. And of course this video is a tribute to the baddest dancers I've ever seen, their style is beyond anything that exists today!”
What can we expect of the actual video, then? “I'm planning an exciting trip to record the video for ‘Refugee’. I can't tell too much about it yet, but it's going to be dangerous and beautiful. And I'm not having any plans on stop making good music so expect a lot of that.”
Finally, she leaves me with one piece of wisdom when I ask what motto she lives by. “Fight the f**king power!”
Words: Maz Khan