Nabiha is a multi Danish Grammy Award nominee who is gracing the airwaves all the way from Copenhagen. Her last three singles have made the top 5 in Europe and we got to hear about her after her hugely successful live performance at this year’s SXSW. She took some time to sit down with us recently to tell us a little bit about what it means to be Nabiha.
Young Adult Mag: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Nabiha. Firstly, you have a name that many of our readers might not have heard before. What does it mean?
Nabiha: Well of course, and thank YOU. I’ve been looking forward to talking to you, so it’s great to finally meet! My father is from Gambia and Marocco, and my mother is from Mali and Denmark. I am named after my aunt on my father’s side. Nabiha means noble in Arabic, and is also derived from the prophet, Nabi. Quite a lot to live up too, haha.
YA: How did you get your big break as a singer?
N: It’s a tricky one to answer, but I would say it takes hard work, talent, persistence, some luck, and commitment from both me and my incredible kick-ass team. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had so many amazing experiences already, but I feel like great things are still to come!
YA: You have an EP coming out later this summer. Can you share with us what the title track Mind the Gap is about?
N: Yes, I’m really excited about that! I came up with the idea for “Mind The Gap” in London, while riding the underground trains to and from the studio. At every stop I would hear a voice say “Mind The Gap”, over and over again, and it got me thinking of the gap between my teeth. Something that has become much of a trademark for me. Where I come from in Africa, to have gap teeth means that you’re a lucky person, so I thought it could be fun to combine my musical journey with that personal touch, and so I took my idea to the studio and we created what would later become the title song of the album.
YA: You hail from Denmark. What’s your favorite thing about your home country? Personally, I’m a fan of your smørrebrød (open faced sandwiches)
N: Aww, haven’t had those in a while! Now I just wanna hang out and eat smørrebrød 🙂 There are a lot of things I love about my little Viking country in the North. My friends and family, riding my bike through Copenhagen in the summer time, and eating aebleskiver (Danish pancakes) in the winther. Walking through the historic parts of the city throws you back a 100 years with the H.C Andersen fairytale-looking houses, right next to the hipster coffee shops, innovative restaurants, modern architecture, and Danish design & fashion houses. If you ever come over, I’ll take you out to an amazing seafood restaurant in the meatpacking district, followed by a visit to my favorite secret Bodega. All in walking distance from my house.
YA: As a well known singer, you’re used to spending most of your time in the public eye, performing for people. What do you think about most when you’re alone? What makes you tick?
N: Good question, I don’t think I’ve been asked that before. I love people, I come from a big family, and I love my job. Being able to work with music and songwriting is like therapy to me, I can get all my thoughts and feelings out on paper. I physically sing them out, and I get a chance to touch others and share my experiences through my music. When I am alone and if I am not working, I think about my loved ones, my life, the future, to do-lists, common things you know. On days off I’m all about sleeping in, relaxing, good food, Netflix, quality time with my family, wine with friends, and discovering new art.
YA: You first played at SXSW this past March. How was the American response to your music?
N: We had such a great time at SXSW! I had just been signed to my American label, and it was really great seeing all of them. I played 3 gigs, had some great meetings, and good feed back. Last year I was the 2nd most synched artist on VH1, so a lot of my American fans recognize me from TV and come to the shows. It’s amazing with all the support we’re getting. Everything helps, and now I’m sitting here talking with you. It’s great!
YA: You recently grabbed two Danish Grammy nominations. Congratulations – that’s huge! Did you go to the awards? What were they like?
N: Thank you so much! It’s always wonderful to receive acknowledgement from the music industry. I felt very proud! I had performances and promotion in Poland that week, so I didn’t attend, but I generally like going to award shows. It’s like one big private party, where we meet up with fellow colleagues, and celebrate each other and our work. And the entertainment is always extraordinary, what’s not to like?!
YA: You’ve performed with Jason Derulo, Jamie Cullen and James Morrison amongst others … who is the most fun person you’ve been onstage with?
N: I did a big TV show, celebrating the biggest female artist in Denmark. It was a comic show, with the hilarious actor and comedian, Martin Brygman, as the presenter. While I performed my songs with a 40 piece-orchestra, Martin had to rush in and try to grab my microphone, which ended in me and him having a straight up Diva-battle on live National TV. It was so much fun! As soon as I walked off stage, I laughed so hard I cried!
YA: For all of our readers: do you have any American tour dates coming up for the rest of they year?
N: I just played 4 shows in the States. It was amazing, like always, and I hope to play some more when my EP comes out, we are working on dates:) Until then you can stay posted on my twitter, facebook & instagram. We’ll release tour dates as soon as possible, just look up nabihamusic.
YA: Which five songs are playing on your iPod right now?
N: SIA – Chandelier
Santigold – Disparate Youth
Pharrel – Marilyn Monroe
London Grammar – Hey Now
John Legend – Made to love
Thanks to you guys at Young Adult Magazine, it was great talking to you, and to all your readers too! I hope to see you soon somewhere in the US.
Thanks for answering our questions, Nabiha! And readers, don’t forget to check out her upcoming EP Mind the Gap, out September 23rd!