“This EP is literally emotion dragged from diary entries. The exact words. The exact emotion. The truth.”
‘Therapy [Side A]’ is the latest creation from the Hammersmith singer/songwriter NAHLI. It does incorporate her stance on ‘Daddy Issues,’ ‘Relapse,’ ‘Mama’s Boy’ and more. On her way to the studio, NAHLI answered our questions about her childhood always surrounded by music;
Could you introduce yourself and say three facts about yourself?
Hello, I’m NAHLI and I’m in an Uber at the moment late for studio because I fell asleep in the bath…?!
Three facts…I was born in Hammersmith and the midwife wrote on my baby paperwork that I was going to be short lol! Feel like she jinxed me…
I played with Barbies until I was about 15 which I know is totally weird, until someone told all the boys on my bus and they sang ‘Barbie Girl’ every time I got on the fucking thing ha ha.
I swear a lot, which I really try and limit but I feel like I can’t accentuate anything I say without swearing.
What does your stage name NAHLI stand for?
NAHLI incorporates my birth name (Natalie) and my fathers stage name (Harley). Not that my dad has spoken to me for two years lol. Kind of why I wrote ‘Daddy Issues’. Both my parents are singers and I wanted to trademark myself with something from them too.
How did you get first started in music and songwriting?
As I said before, both my parents are in music. I don’t know any other way of life. I used to sit in the pram behind the speakers when my parents were on stage and my weekends consisted in meeting flamboyant people that my parents worked with in fancy costumes and sequins and I just fell in love with it all. I’d watch my parents on stage and think it was so cool. As a kid, I thought I had the coolest parents on the planet. My mum is absolutely stunning and I was always in awe, and my dad was fancied by all my school friends (I went to an all girls school) and he always drove cool cars and dressed in leather jackets and ripped denim jeans. I’ve always been a natural writer, I wrote my first song on the loo when I was about 5 about a piece of string that I had around my wrist and my mum still fangirls over it which is just the sweetest thing. She tells everyone. She’s been so consistently supportive throughout my life.
Who do you look up to from the music industry?
Everyone. Every single soul. My reason being, the music industry can be really hard. It’s scrutinising at times. It’s emotional, liberating, stressful, inspiring. It’s a bag of emotions that aren’t for everyone, so every single person who can push through failures and tribulations and keep pushing until they get to where they want to be, I look up to every single one of those people. And my younger self, she looks up to me.
What inspires your music?
My past sadness. I was a sensitive little soul trapped in a hardened outer shell. I saw a lot of things happening around me and I made some poor decisions. I ended up in weird places. I consumed myself with music when shit got difficult and I was surrounding myself with people who didn’t suit my energy, yet I continued to blame myself or assume I was the anomaly. In fact, I wasn’t. And I’ve built myself up to a point where I accept myself fully and love myself fully. And I accept that the behaviours of others, are nothing to do with me. I want to share that. I want to speak out to people who may be feeling similar emotions and I want people to feel emotionally connected and understood when they hear what I have to speak about. That to me is inspiration above anything else. To be who I needed.
Your debut EP ‘Therapy Side A’ really sounds like your diary, what is the concept behind the EP?
It is literally my diary. Funny you say that, DaVinChe and I have a way of writing where he worked out my brain before even I did. I’d sit and try express myself on paper trying to write a song and he said “write a diary entry, get everything out, in its most undiluted form, and we go from there”. SOME OF THE SHIT I CAME OUT WITH LOL. Mad. This EP is literally emotion dragged from diary entries. The exact words. The exact emotion. The truth.
What are the themes you touch upon?
So, you know when you break up with your partner and you do that thing where you’re like “can we at least be friends?” – because, somewhere you think ok maybe we can be friends so we can still sleep together from time to time because you still fancy the life outta them. That doesn’t change. But, you love ‘um. So you can’t because shit gets messy. I touch on that in ‘F.Y.M’. Also, in ‘Blake’ – ‘Blake’ isn’t a real person, he’s a figment of my imagination. He’s who I THINK I need. It’s about the fact that no matter who you find, they could be the perfect person, if you’re still hung up on your ex…literally no one can compare. So much more in there but I don’t want to give it all away 🙂
Have you got any feedback from the people you’ve written about?
LOL. Not yet. I mean, I actually can’t judge this one. Either I’ll get some sort of shit storm or they’ll ignore it. To be honest though, I don’t really care either way. When I was crying my eyes out asking for explanations, they didn’t care. Karma always comes back around, and this is theirs.
Which song are you most proud of and which one was the most challenging to elevate?
I’m most proud of F.Y.M. because it feels timeless. It feels honest. It feels like something I’d love to listen to. It’s an emotion I’ve struggled with often because I really really struggle with breakups. I honestly can’t fathom how you can give so much of yourself to someone and just never ever talk again. It’s such a blunt cut off. But everyone else seems to manage it. I need to be weened off haha.
How did your collaboration with Professor Green come about?
God, it was mad. I was called in to work with SIGMA which was excellent. They’re great guys. So great. Then I got a message from Pro who was like “let’s get in studio Friday”. I piped up to the boys while I was on the mic like “oh, sick. Pro just asked me in studio” and SIGMA went “oi, we’re in with him tomorrow?!” So we just decided to kill two birds and all get in together. A few months before, Pro had thrown a sick house party for the boxing at his place and we got chatting about it and reminiscing and laughing and then all of a sudden we were writing about it. Such a wicked day. Then he called and said it was going straight on the EP. My mouth dropped.
Could you share any behind the scenes from that collaboration?
Only that we’re all piggies who love kebabs and that we’re all susceptible to hyperactivity when we eat too many sweets.
What is next?
Therapy [Side B]. All the songs have been created already.
Karolina Kramplova | WRITER