Genre bending and non-conforming, NAYANA IZ is not afraid to take risks. With a sound influenced from the likes of Lupe Fiasco to Tupac, listeners can expect the unexpected.
Born in India and raised in Hornsey, NAYANA opens up about how heritage has impacted her and the music she makes. “My principles, what I’ve learnt about love from my family and how that helps me create music is how my heritage is displayed in my work. Musically, an Indian influence hasn’t reached the sound yet. I’m learning Hindi and getting classical training but it’s a bit tricky and sometimes I do want to give up. Indian languages have a bit more feeling in it, you can’t just say it - but that’s what I love about it. Eventually I want to be making music in India with Indian artists.”
Straddling various genres and cultures, NAYANA has also expressed a cautiousness to not appropriate. It is because of this, her music is guided by personal experiences and truths to ensure an authenticity throughout her records.
Prior to her music career, NAYANA worked on events for Pxssy Palace, a London-based space created for womxn, femmes and other queer people of colour to enjoy club nights. It was in this period that she began to gain confidence in herself and her musical identity. “I was quite lucky with the people I met, they really helped me set up a base for myself. I was at a point where I was going to break; I was really depressed but they were like angels sent to me. They taught me how to love myself because they loved me, that experience was priceless.”
Often blending sounds of alternative hip-hop and indie-rap, her upcoming single ‘Breaking Point’ shows another side to her skill set. Describing the making of the single as her biggest musical achievement to date, the single opens NAYANA up in a way she hadn’t before. “I proper just... poured everything out. That day I felt like ‘wow I’m actually a musician’. I’ve always made music of course, but it never felt like that. At that moment I decided that if I can make a record like this then I can really pursue music, I can really do this. I’m strong enough to tell my story.”
Both introspectively and musically, 2021 will be NAYANA’s most open and truthful. Vindicated in the validity of her emotions, she is confident that the growth she experienced in 2020 will allow for an increased quality in her art.
WHAT: A rapping singer and spoken word artist.
WHERE: Hornsey, London
3 Songs: ‘WALKING’, ‘TNT’, ‘Partner In Crime’
FACT: Has a black belt in Chinese Sanda martial arts.
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Words: Tochi Imo
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
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