By Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Earnest, imaginative and relatable without being overwrought, Nadia Kazmi is a compelling blues-infused indie rock artist with a knack for imagery and a lean attack on what it means to be a female on the music scene. Incorporating genres that reach far beyond the tropes of the safe musician, with a recently released EP on the table and a full length album in the works for 2016, Nadia took a moment to chat with BoC on matters of music and femme fatales. (She’s also crazy nice!)
Acquaint us with Nadia Kazmi to start – how would you describe your sound using a few choice words?
Nadia: Raw, at times dark, lyrically driven indie rock.
You boast a range that’s both powerful and undeniably lusty – how did you come to refine your vocal style?
Nadia: An organic progression that came from wanting to express the emotions I was trying to convey.
You recently released a seven song EP, Lamb. What was the driving force behind it?
Nadia: I had been playing the songs live for a while and I wanted to get them out in a recorded version for about a year. The songs are a collection of sounds and expressions that came from a rollercoaster of the last couple of years.
You channel a variety of genres that all share a backbone of raw energy, urgency and colorful lyricism. Did you naturally find yourself leaning toward the robust side of music?
Nadia: Ha. Yes, you could definitely say that. I like that word: robust.
You’re currently working on your third full length album, expected out in 2016 – if someone were to sneak a peek in on the writing or recording process, what might they see?
Nadia: Chaos (just kidding). No, I’d say the process of writing is always cathartic. The reason the songs run the gamut of tempos and emotional moods is that they’re authentic and how I feel in the moment I write the songs. I find recording to be frustrating sometimes, though, as I never feel that the recording process captures the mood perfectly but I’m getting there…
Who or what has been an unexpected influence for you?
Nadia: Not sure what is expected or unexpected, that’s a tough question. I guess anything that is completely visceral is an influence. It’s not always easy for me to tap into but it’s very inspiring to see visceral performers or even everyday people who can express without barriers.
What would you say sets you apart from your peers?
Nadia: I’m not trying to sound like the other bands in the indie scene. A lot of them sound very similar to each other and I think that helps them in booking shows and playing bills together but I don’t think I find it very interesting to go to a lot of those bills because it isn’t memorable.
If you could send your music onto the radiowaves of a decade past, where would you hope it might end up?
Nadia: I guess the decade of the 70s would be pretty cool. Music genres were more open and artists didn’t seem as boxed in or defined by industry categories.
When you take the stage, what’s the feeling you want your fans to walk away with?
Nadia: I want them to be rapt! Ha. I actually do want people to listen closely to the words and walk away with stories, emotions and a feeling of that moment in time. A woman at my Ottawa concert (one of the better nights) came up to me afterwards and said the concert was “a moment” and everyone could feel it. That was pretty great because that’s what I want from every concert I attend and I hope to give that to the audience, not with gimmicks or props or strange things but with the moment we share with each other for that 1 hour. It hasn’t been easy for me to get to the point where I feel I am supplying that because I used to suffer from stage fright and had to get past those blocks to get there.
If you had to channel any femme fatale, living or dead, who would it be?
Nadia: I’ve always loved Ava Gardner who played great femme fatales. But I’d say Gilda because she was played by the fabulous Rita Hayworth and had a wonderfully rebellious nature defying what was expected of women by society in that era, plus Gilda was a singer
What’s next for Nadia Kazmi?
Nadia: Well, the new album of course in 2016 I’ve started recording but finances influence recording processes more than I would like! A short tour in the spring and then a bigger tour in the fall of 2016 is slated.