The story behind the “elemental emotional landscape” of singer/songwriter Nostalghia is as mesmerizingly otherworldly as the music itself. With Roy Gnan, she has toured with groups like 30 Seconds to Mars and TV on the Radio and their songs have appeared in John Wick 2, How to Get Away With Murder, and the NBA Finals.
Nostalghia says it all began when she was homeless and broke into a room to spend the night. The room had a piano, the first she ever tried to play, and it opened up something in her. The busy performer generously took the time to answer some questions.
Your story about breaking into the room with the piano is so striking. I’d like to know more. Where was it? How did you become homeless? What was your first interaction with the piano like?
I got kicked out of my house for an artistic photo we had taken where I was topless and my legs were straddled like snakes around Roy’s head. My mother and father didn’t quite see the artistry of it all. …We are born naked…it’s sad to me that it becomes something to be shameful of, though I can understand why it would be disgracefully worrisome for any parent that isn’t aligned with that line of thought. For me, it was innocence incarnate, perhaps sprinkled with a bit a rebellion. I suppose there was a sentiment of fuck off laced amongst the purity.
Did you listen to music as a child? What music meant the most to you?
I wasn’t introduced to much music outside of what my father listened to. My greatest revelation came when my sister introduced me to Tori Amos. I thought I was her for at least a year.
How does a song come to you? Lyrics first? Music first? All together?
In dreams, in romance, in conversation, in silence. It comes how it wants to, when it wants to, with no regard to what I want.
What was your first performance before an audience like?
Luckily, I wouldn’t remember even if I tried. I’m in another dimension when I perform, tapped into something far superior than the terror I’d normally experience in front of an audience.
What have you learned from touring with other performers and appearing at festivals? What has surprised you?
I’ve learned never to compare. To try to live up to someone else’s gift is a shame. You are the only one who can do you best, so shut the whispers up and do it.
How did your music come to be selected for movies and television? Does the way the music is used to support action or emotional scenes show you anything about your songs you did not expect?
It’s all pretty expected. The music is cinematic and emotional and suits emotional cinema well. I’m grateful our music has been chosen from the crowd, it’s of course a nice feeling. We have a publisher who works their magic for these kinds of things.
Your music features sounds that are not from traditional musical instruments. Where do they come from and what inspires them?
My music partner Roy and I approach music from a relatively non-traditional perspective (haha!). It isn’t cerebral in that we aren’t thinking through why we use what. It’s feel-based and intuitive. We don’t limit ourselves based on what the pulse of society thinks they want. We believe in giving them what they think they don’t want. Like dark chocolate souffles with cardamom cream when you were relying on vanilla ice cream. Throw them a curve ball and see who bites. An audience is born. And they bite hard.
What are you doing next?
Currently up next is painting my nails gold for the show tomorrow, but in the grand scheme of life? Roy and I are starting a brand new store for our Creatures called Gorgeous Creature named off of a song from the album IMAGO. We will be bringing so many of my dreams to life…handmade altar pieces, sacred stone jewelry, organic flower essences, organic therapeutic oil blends, and much more. Launching that by the end of the year on our website. Alongside my art as a singer and musician, I’ve also taken the symbolic concept of Metamorphosis from our albums Chrysalis and Imago, and turned the conceptual nature of both albums into a way of life. I’m a Clairsentient Certified Folk Herbalist, a Medicine Woman, Certified Aromatherapist, and a Metamorphic Guide (For Soulful Metamorphosis). I am currently creating an enchanting book for all our Creatures …as well as an audio lecture series I coined “METAMORPHOSIS: For The Blossoming Bohemian” that dives into herbs, essential oils, stones, and ceremonies for The Heart Portal (and much more). And for Valentines Day, we plan on releasing a little musical surprise. …There will be many releases to come because we have SO MUCH unreleased material. We plan on keeping our audience hungry with moments of satiation. ;)