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Not just another love story: chatting with singer/songwriter Nadia Ali

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For your live performance in Vegas at ND’s, will you have backing musicians, a DJ, or something else?

I actually have a full band; I have a guitarist, a bassist, keyboards for the live show and one of the musicians actually sings backing vocals with me as well. It’s definitely a show experience, and I’ll [perform for] an hour.

You’ve said you’re a hopeless romantic. How much of that translates into your lyrics?

(Laughing) A lot. It’s a combination of being a hopeless romantic and also having had a lot of different experiences in relationships. It’s an exercise in getting it out of your system. … I felt like with the songs [on Embers] it’s all a story or an experience that I’ve had sometime in the past. I consider those relationships to have been sort of—I don’t want to call them infernos—but sort of the fire that existed at that moment in time. Obviously those experiences have passed. … So, that was the thinking behind calling that whole concept Embers. That all ties into me reminiscing about relationships.

The single “Love Story” is doing great on the charts and seems to be well received by the dance music community. Do you have a favorite remix of the track?

I do really like the Sultan & Ned Shepard remix. That’s probably my favorite. But the Dave Dresden and Mikael Johnston remix is one of my favorites, too.

You’re probably one of the few female vocalists familiar to the EDM world specifically by name and with a recognizable sound. Why do you think that is?

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From the Calendar
Nadia Ali at ND's The Club
Located inside the Rio
Friday, June 12. Doors at 10 p.m.
Free to $20
Beyond the Weekly
Nadia Ali

Turns out it comes from genetics, really. (Laughing) It’s funny because my mom is not a singer at all, nor is my father. But I definitely get more of my father’s tone. I think it’s a combination of having so many different influences – having the Eastern influence coming from a Pakistani background [and] having that mixed with growing up in the United States since I was five years old. Growing up where I grew up in Queens, you have the United Nations all around you.

I’ve tried never to be too polarized in any one direction. I’ve tried to maintain a certain bit of originality in that I don’t want to necessarily sing like a soulful gospel singer or like an ethereal Celtic singer—I never wanted to be pulled into any one direction. I’m really grateful to be encouraged by my original producer, Markus Moser, who was part of iiO. He always encouraged me to just do my thing.

Any plans to work again as iiO with Moser in the future?

I think we’ve gone or separate ways. There’s no plans in the near future. It’s one of those things where it’s run its course. I’m just excited to be doing my solo thing.

You’ve been collaborating with Starkillers (aka Nick Terranova). What have you been working on with him?

I’ve been collaborating with him not for any particular album as of yet, but he did a remix for me of “Love Story.” And I was always curious about his sound and he sent me this track that I absolutely loved. … It turned out that everybody really, really liked what we did together, so we moved forward. It’s called “Keep it Coming” [which is not yet released].

Besides singing and writing, have you ever considered working on productions or even learning to DJ?

Actually, it’s funny you ask. I certainly considered DJing. I bought four vinyls and I bought some turntables and I was like, “Um. Yeah. I’m not gonna do this. This is not my thing.”

I have immense respect for DJs, and I think when you do something well, go for it. When you don’t think you can do something well, it’s okay to be humble enough to be like, “There’s other people that can do this better than me.” I kind of left it alone.

Production? I’ve definitely thought about it. I’ve done a lot of co-production on the album itself. I certainly love the production thing, but I’m definitely not detailed enough to spend the kind of time it takes to produce a song. I have a lot of admiration for producers who can listen to the same vocals for however many days straight for countless hours. I certainly don’t have that patience at the moment.

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