‘Refugee’ Artist Nadya Talks “Fighting The Fucking Power”

nayda artwork

Anyone who knows me well knows it’s been a long-time ambition of mine to wife M.I.A – there aren’t enough artists, in my opinion, who are comfortable acting out the true definition of living outside of the box. That’s fine because Lord knows I can get down to some Justin Bieber if the mood strikes, but a breath of fresh air, especially when it’s delivered by a woman (girl power!) is always exciting.

Enter Nadya. The Swedish-born artist who originates from Iran recently released her debut solo single ‘Refugee’ and as you can tell by the title, it’s a pleasantly blunt burst to the eardrums.

I asked her a few questions for MTV’s The Wrap Up and thought I’d post some of the interview – you can peep here alongside the lyric video for ‘Refugee’. Let me know what you think of her!

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.”

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.”

Naturally Nadya’s style is just as multifaceted as her background, and I’m curious as to where she picks up her finds. “Honestly, I’ve never had the kind of money to buy brands – I find most of my clothes in second hand stores. But I think style is more about putting things together. I get inspired by the music that I listen to at the time, movies, pictures or people that I see, or just the sounding of words put together. Like today I thought of ‘soft ghetto’ when I picked my outfit.”

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!”

Finally, she leaves me with one piece of wisdom when I ask what motto she lives by. “Fight the fucking power!”

This interview was originally posted on MTV’s The Wrap Up.

PS. You can say hi to Nadya on Twitter, if you like. 

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