Having released her sensational debut EP Bits of Naaz back in April 2018, Naaz returns in an extraordinary fashion with the release of her stunning sophomore EP the beautiful struggle. Featuring three new cuts, alongside previously released tracks “TAPED,” “Damage :(” and “it’s not you it’s me,” Naaz’s new EP undoubtedly asserts her place as an unmissable and essential artist.
Naaz’s live set is nothing short of remarkable. Her impassioned delivery and effervescent stage presence has led to support sets for the likes of Arcade Fire, Hayley Kiyoko, and Jessie J. Having built her own devoted fanbase, Naaz will be headlining her own European headline tour this fall, starting on October 15th in Berlin and concluding with three nights in Amsterdam in the middle of December.
We had a chat with Naaz about her sensational new EP, performing live, staying true to yourself & more!
Your new EP entitled the beautiful struggle starts with the phenomenal “heart drive” and ends with “proud of me.” What was the thought process behind bookending the project in this way? The title the beautiful struggle has a strong sense of duality, it has both a positive word and a very negative one. Starting the ep with “heart drive” where I’m basically about to introduce you to my heart put onto your hard drive on your phone or Spotify or whatever, with the opening line “Happy is temporary,” it feels very good to end the EP with “I am so proud of me.” It shows both the beauty and the struggle, it proves why the title fits like a glove. It’s my little cycle of self destruction to self love & over again once you press repeat. It’s my reality.
How was the creative process different for the beautiful struggle compared to your debut EP? Bits Of Naaz I composed and produced in my bedroom & then sent stems to my friends of “Soulsearchin” to “sound doctor” the production. It made me want to write mostly positive music as I had to listen back to it the whole day while I was recording & producing it too. the beautiful struggle– I made in an actual studio with a producer, so I could make music about how I truly felt, and not have to be confronted by my own thoughts the whole day through the speakers. I could write a song and leave the room and the song would still be done by the end of the day, it gave me the comfort to write more honest songs if I could take a break from myself every now and then & breathe.
Speaking of the new era, how was the process of starting to conceptualize it and what you wanted to achieve with it? Honestly, the new music & visuals around it seem so conceptual, but that was fully unintentional. I feel like everything subconsciously came together after a while and that feels magical because it’s actually natural. Nothing was intended to fit together, but I guess if it comes from the same mind it will eventually all share the same heart.
“Taped” is such a powerfully emotive song, what do you hope people will feel and take away from the track? I hope it makes them ironically scream “Taped” to the mirror while they are obviously no longer taped as they are belting the ultimate “FUCK IT HERE IS A NUDE OF ME WITH CLOTHES ON BECAUSE YOU CAN BE NAKED WITH CLOTHES ON” song.
Every single song on the new EP is incredible individualistic, but, as a whole, the EP is still beautifully cohesive. Did you set out to encompass such a high level of variation within the EP from the outset? I have called myself “bits of Naaz” because I am never the same person, I am always a bit of Naaz, so I never worry about keeping with one sound. If you are with me, you know from the start I will be new every day if I want to. Every era will sound different but still like Naaz. Cohesiveness lies within your delivery, I believe, if the emotion is real, all of it is real.
Your performances are amazing, what emotions do you go through on the day of a show? And do your emotions/experiences differ much between headlining and supporting? Thank you so much! I like to relive the lyrics every show, it’s very emotionally draining but it makes me feel more genuine, to become what I make at that moment. Every show feels like my own if I give my all, so it’s the same headlining or supporting 🙂
When something emotionally impactful happens, do you feel the need to like immediately write about it or do you typically take your time to process the situation? I never write immediately, I just let everything build in my head and then write a LOT in a few weeks, I feel like I never write when I cry, I write when I’m done crying and then I smile again because I’m proud of what I’ve made. it’s a lovely cycle]
Finally, what was it about “Taped” that made you know it was a perfect song to start the new era with? The opening line (“I know I’ve only existed for 300.000+ years, so I might not know it all…”) felt like a great comeback and the artwork represents the evolution of Naaz.