NANNA.B

Talking to LA-Based, Denmark-raised neo-soul artist Nanna.B on her beginnings in music, her creative process and working with Anderson .Paak. 

What was the inspiration for your latest single, ‘Ingenting:n0thing’?

 

The song is inspired by a love affair or a situation-ship that I was in with someone that kept

going for way too long but that was still “nothing”. I have a lot of songs about failed love

relations that will all be compiled into one project. I usually write in English but this time the

verse just came out in Danish, so I decided to let it be.

What were the main inspirations and themes of ‘Solen’ and what was the creative

process of the project?

I created 'SOLEN' in the years that I was in between Copenhagen and LA and it is reflected in

the songs and the overall theme of growth and the journey I was on.

'SOLEN' is a (audio-visual) journey beginning with the sun, ending with the moon. It’s about

my journey as a woman and an artist, searching for a feeling of home and belonging. On this

12-track journey I'm going through various experiences and moods that touches upon joy,

creativity, depression, inner-strength and power, love, separation and courage.

 

Throughout the story I keep returning to myself as the answer to that longing for home. The album is

produced almost entirely by friends and family that I have met on my travels to LA.

Finally, both Iman Omari and Anderson .Paak helped me pick out and wrap up the songs for

the final outcome. Working on each song opened up new relationships for me, and the only

person on the album I never met and worked with in person is Astronote. I wanted to make an

album that reflected my journey as a human and artist, the growing comfortable in my own

skin, the discovery of my own power and strength, which I really found by moving out of my

comfort zone in Denmark. Almost like an unfolding of myself.”​

 

What was the inspiration for your EP, ‘Lapis’?

i

While working on 'SOLEN' I started diving into producing for myself as I wanted to explore

what that would sound like. Lapis Lazuli, is a dark blue stone that has been found in the graves

of ancient queens and  I was inspired by and investigating the feminine and what that means

to me on this project.

 

The song 'Beaches' was the first song I wrote for it and it’s about a

depression I suffered when I was 20 and how I found my own way out of it and really this

project is about standing in your power as a woman and human being and daring to be

vulnerable and imperfect and naked.

How was working with Anderson .Paak on ‘Golden’ and how did your collaboration

with Hodgy come about?

I first met .Paak in 2013, through our work with Shafiq Husayn, working with him is always

inspiring. He pushes me to try new things and get out my comfort zone and I love the results

of our energies combined. He also helped executive produce 'SOLEN' and co-produced several

tracks on there. He’s such a hardworking and ever-developing artist and I appreciate

everything I learned from him.

When did you begin creating music and how did growing up in Denmark influence your

sound?

I’ve been singing since I was six but I didn’t start writing until I was 16, I think. I guess growing up

in Denmark exposed me to Danish music as well as everything else but I didn’t really have a

regular Danish upbringing in terms of music as I was enrolled into a special school that

focused on African music as well as funk and soul-music.

 

Growing up listening to, and

performing and singing, this type of music had a huge influence on my sound which is

probably also why my music never really fit into a Danish context. I’ve definitely felt as the

outsider when in Denmark, I’m my own special mix of things and I’ve stayed true to that and

I’ve come to see that as a huge strength.

 

We’re all unique and accepting one's uniqueness and

living that fully, instead of trying to fit in, is really key to self-acceptance and joy, in my

opinion.

How did you find the transition of moving to LA and working with artists out there?

When I graduated art school in Denmark, I felt this strong desire to go to LA, I will say it was a

gut-feeling that brought me there. I listened to a lot of music from the LA beat-scene and I

wanted to experience being in a place where the music I listen to and create is more common

and not frowned upon as being “weird”. That's exactly how it felt to come here, it felt like

home. I linked up with Shafiq Husayn (Sa-Ra creative partners) first and he brought me to the

studio and I started singing with him and his band and that’s how I met a lot of the people I

worked with on 'SOLEN' and a lot of the people that are now my best friends here.

 

Things just flow here, you’re in the studio with one person and someone else drops by and that's basically

how my network of people just grew and is still growing. For years, I didn’t live here, I would

come here to work for 2-3 months and then go back home to Denmark to work and save up

money, I didn’t move here until 2017. Moving my whole life out here was a whole different

process than just visiting and it’s taken me awhile to figure everything out, but it's home now.

 

It was very different for me at first to work with people out here because they work in a way

different way than I was used to from back home. Here, you go to the studio and you create a

song right on the spot, come up with the words and melody and record it right away and it

made me really nervous in the beginning, but I got over that and now it’s how I prefer to work.

It's more in flow and less overthinking and it’s really fun, which I believe is the most important

factor in all of this.

How did your record label ‘LoBudgetChild’ come to fruition and what are your hopes

for the future of the label?

When I released my first album 'Vitaphone' in 2012, I couldn’t find a label in Denmark that

wanted to put it out as it was, so I decided to just do it myself with my friends at Greenshades

Music and the name was just kinda birthed out of the whole process of creating that project,

everything on a low budget. But you know you can make shit happen even on a low budget

and that's kinda the message behind that name, creativity is the key - not the funding.

How important are visuals to your music and how involved are you in the process of

​creating them?

The visuals are very important to me, it's a chance to translate one expression into another and

usually for me the ideas feed each other. It’s all intertwined and all expressions of the same

vibration.

 

With my last album 'SOLEN', I made a drawing for every song and I also created the

concepts for the album art and videos and so the release turned into an

exhibition/installation/video and live performance and I loved seeing all my various

expressions in one room.

 

As for this next project, all the visuals are shot in my apartment on my

iPhone and it's all filmed in one long take and I really love coming up with concepts and trying

out things and playing. It brings me back into that space of free creating that I would go to as a

kid when I’d be drawing or playing, it’s like a sort of meditation for me.


What was your favourite album of 2019?

I really like SiR’s 'Chasing Summer', Black Party's, 'Endless Summer', Tyler's, 'IGOR', Anna

Wise, 'As if it were Forever', and Burna Boy's 'African Giant' and The Free Nationals' new album is

beautiful too. Ryan Beatty's 'Boys in Jeans', though that's from 2018, I didn’t hear it til this year.

If I had to name just one album it probably be IGOR though..

If you had to recommend five artists to your listeners, who would they be?

Damn there’s so many but here’s a few that I listen to right now: Ryan Beatty, Channel Tres,

Toro y Moi, Burna Boy, Moonchild, but hey also go listen to Joni Mitchell and Young Thug.

And Ryuichi Sakamoto! Listening to a lot of different music is good for your health, ha!

 

What’s coming up in 2020?

 

I’m currently working on two projects and my plan is to release both in 2020 which will

hopefully be followed by touring and a lot of great collaborations, I love co-creating with

people. I’m also taking piano lessons again...

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