Photos by Bianca Scarlato
I was first introduced to Naadei through a friend on Instagram, clicked a link in her bio to a track, and have been listening since. Naadei’s I’m Fine EP is hot and cold with seductive melodies followed by tough bars. She recently made a quick trip to Toronto, so we met up in the east end, where I got to know her through a quick game of 20 questions.
Q1: Who is Naadei?
A: I am a singer/songwriter from Rouyn Noranda. It’s a really tiny village just 8 hours north of Montreal, and it pretty much forged me into what I am. I think the answer to that really just changes all the time, that’s the awesome thing about it. I’m not the same person that I was last month.
Q2: Why music?
A: It’s actually not really a choice that I made – I tried not doing it and it got me really depressed, so it’s something I have to do. For some reason, for my whole life, I’ve always stumbled upon people that were doing music. Since I was 15, I’ve been kind of a studio rat, always in a session somewhere. So the life chose me.
Q3: What song do you have on repeat right now?
A: The whole new Bon Iver album is getting a lot of play right now.
Q5: Do you have any words or quotes that you live by?
A: My mom always told me, “It’s really important to be disturbed, to never be comfortable.” It’s really important to feel like something is weird and if you’re not sure about something, do it.
Q6: What’s something you never leave the house without?
A: My concealer. I have very bad insomnia and I try to maximize every second of every day, so I really don’t sleep a lot. I have really dark circles, so I need to re-apply that shit multiple times a day.
Q7: Where can I find you on a Friday night?
A: I wanna give you a really cool and hip answer, but I’m mostly at my house or Max‘s house. I have a curation company with one my good friends, Moto-made and we’re always working on some shit. When I’m not working on that, I’m at Max’s house working on some music.
Q8: What was the last song you danced to?
A: Last night, it was the whole The Weeknd Album.
Q9: What inspires you?
A: It’s hard to put into words, but I get inspired by overwhelming feelings. There’s the regular feelings that you feel throughout the day, and then there will be one feeling that’s overwhelming and you can’t put it into words. To me, it’s a challenge to take the way that I’m feeling in that moment and put it into a format that translates to other people. It’s like a battle, it’s what I live for – being able to translate that into words.
Q10: What’s something you want to learn about or learn to do?
A: I’m currently really interested in industrial design. I’ve been going to a lot of shows and all of the free time I have right now is just spent on design.
Q11: What are you most proud of?
A: I’m proud every time I finish something. That’s a really big thing with me. I’m interested in a lot of things, so my attention span is really, really small. Let’s say, when I put out the EP, it wasn’t anywhere close to how perfect I wanted it to be, but the fact that I finished it, and I could turn the page and say, “I did that,” was fucking awesome.
Q12: Tell me about the greatest show you’ve ever played.
A: I feel like I get better every time I play a show, so honestly, I’m mostly satisfied after every new show I play. There’s one that really sticks out – for a year I was opening for Wyclef Jean on his tour, and we had a show in Barcelona, it was a huge festival. When I play in my hometown it’s like, really small venues and crowds, but he has a huge crowd. That’s not something I’m used to, and it’s one of the first shows I was playing on the tour and I was freaking the fuck out. It was literally an 80,000 person festival, it’s like a sea of people. I’m there and it’s my third or fourth played show ever. For some reason I did really well, so I was really, really proud and when I came off the stage I threw up everywhere.
Q13: Define success.
A: Peace of mind.
Q14: If I gave you a plane ticket to any city in the world, where would you go?
A: Currently, Iceland. I went last month for like, five days. It was really quick and I didn’t get to see everything that I wanted to see, so I’d go back there.
Q15: Weekends or Weekdays?
A: Weekdays. There’s less people everywhere and you can get more done. You could like, call the government office and they’re open.
Q16: New school or old school?
A: I like the new school take on the old school stuff.
Q17: Do you have any major musical influences?
A: I’m a die hard Nirvana fan, mostly because of the authenticity. When you learn to play music, you realize how basic the actual musicianship was – three chords on the whole album. But the rawness and the authenticity is something that I aspire to get to one day.
Q18: What’s your dream collaboration?
Q19: What’s something on your bucket list?
A: I want to go to Lebanon because I think Lebanese guys are really cute.
Q20: Do you have any hidden talents?
A: No. I make use of every single talent that God gave me. There’s nothing left.