Nushka, a Scottish based musician, born in Bahrain and brought up in the UAE, is a great addition to our “check out musicians that you haven’t heard before” – discover and enjoy section! We were sitting down to talk to her about her new single, “Come Around,” available to download from the link, and available on all platforms now. This is a cool, funky, and modern track that shows a variety of influences and really should have much more radio exposure. She has released a number of tracks over the years, “Queen Bee” was interesting, and she leads with these grungy lyrics over the simple musical beat. She is a proudly independent artist, hardworking, and has the ability to create a catchy rhythm.
With all this in mind, on with the show!
We began with “On Repeat” a track with a great little catchy chorus hook, as Nushka sings about having cold feet…It seemed a great place to get to know her. And we would say if you don’t know her work, listen to this one first (the YouTube official video is below, and the download link is placed here). We told her she looks very glam in the kitchen on this one, and lyrically she uses the word ‘conundrum’, which is great! Also, the video is kind of cool and shows her chilling with the shisha.
Nushka- Out of the three songs I recorded that year (2019), this was my favourite. It was my first real time recording in a studio, and I wasn’t sure how it all came together. It was the last of three tracks that I did, and by the time I got to that one I had more of a vision. Set me back a couple of years, and I would probably do the other two tracks differently. The writing of the song was just about finding myself in certain positions when I may attract friends or partners, which makes me realise I go through the same process but know that I am doing nothing about it; I feel like I am checking out, and that is it really.
It has this catchy little melody, and also the “rum, pum, pum” thing…
Nushka- Yeah, actually, that melody! What can I say…my relationship with the producer at that time was not the best it could be. I sent him this song; 070 Shake’s, “Somebody Like Me,” and the melody was inspired that and I felt it could be adapted. “Somebody like me” is the piano track. It definitely did not inspire the tara rum pum bit. That vocal track is just a sound we make in Hindi music sometimes. It became what I wanted it to be, which was good, as I was a bit lost at the time. With the video, I just felt, I wanted to be cutting vegetables! I wanted to be cooking, and I feel the older I get, the more I appreciate the culture I come from. I appreciate the mix of cultures I represent. I am an Indian born in Bahrain and based in the UAE. So I am a blend of cultures. I am from Kerala, or at least my parents were. But I think I respect being a third culture child now, and I wanted to bring that out in the video. We have our own culture, smoking shisha and wearing sneakers with skirts and all of that. The kitchen stuff was just random. Friends helped me with that video, and they were fantastic. We had to shoot it twice, as the first time it was all based in Dubai. Then my friend reshot so much in Abu Dhabi, and that was nice as I grew up there.My friend had this impression of me as super sporty, I don’t know why! I really am not. They tried to get me on a scooter in my dress, but I had no sense of balance,and that was just a disaster. They put me on a bench instead, looking cool I hope!
Moving onto “Come Around,” the new single. Here in the office, playing Nushka, we all decided this one had a bit of Lily Allen in the blend. This came from the almost spoken lyricism over the beat, the cynical lyrics, and the sharpness of the melody. It is an infectious combination. Touching on the image here as well, the video is a serious move away from the look of “On Repeat.” This is almost the opposite of glam, just chilling with the ants and dancing in the back garden!
Nushka- It was deliberate. If you saw the poster promoting I had a bindi on, I am sort of finding what I am comfortable with. I am not a person who really likes to dress up a lot. I can’t be f to dress up, but the bindi is an honest statement. Maybe I was pushing an image with “On Repeat,” but I’m not trying to do that now. No need to pimp my game up. For “Come Around,” the song is about my chosen family, and everyone else can go to hell. The video and song is about being with people that I care about; I wrote that song, and I wanted the video to embody it.
It is quite a funky song.
Nushka- For sure. I’m really mad inside, but the song is coming out happily. I am going with it as there is a sense of humour in it. As for the video, the ant thing was the theme of the chosen family. Ants work together and are a clan of their own, so we had that in mind. And the chameleon, I just like lizards as they have this non-expression on their face all the time which I find highly amusing. And it eats the ant on the video, which shouldn’t be amusing; it is about working together. When I was putting it together, I didn’t really want to be the face of the video, but then I didn’t really have the budget for actors, so, screw it, I sang and performed. The ants fill in the gaps,so I don’t do every bit. Also, I moved here in 2021 to study, and I love how green it is. Maybe I miss the UAE and love the desert, but I do enjoy the green here and how you have four seasons in an afternoon in Aberdeen! It was my partner’s backyard, so we just did it.
In the intro for this piece, we touched on how Nushka is a fully independent artist and wondered how she saw herself progressing musically in 2023. There is a new single out, but without label support, it is a tough business out there, even for someone with quality songs.
Nushka- I am a fully independent artist, and I say that despite all the struggles. I have musician friends with whom I collaborate, but no promotional team or label. Lately I have considered it after a decade of wanting world domination, but not really getting there…
That’s fine. Every artist wants as many people as possible to hear their music.
Nushka- It is hard without that team around you. The great thing about being independent is that, although I may not get the views some artists get, I am not willing to cater to the ideals of image that some people have. I can play this my way; I am not being told how I should do this. I don’t need to make anyone else happy.
We can sympathise with this. It is like us with the magazine; we are only responsible for ourselves. If people ask us why we have a poetry page in a music magazine, it’s because we want to! If you like it, that’s great; if you don’t- that’s fine too! No one else is responsible but us. It is also great not to be answerable to someone else; we review as we choose and speak to artists we like. In the past, at least one of us here has come across some behaviour while working for other magazines that was somewhat spiteful and unnecessary. It makes you happy to be your own boss.
Nushka- We all need to make a living, and maybe a decade back, I wrote for a magazine and I was writing for this online magazine. But then they re-uploaded all of my pieces with someone else’s name (this was similar to what one of us was referring to above). I was quiet about it then, but I am so angry now.
And to finish, we noted the little song “Woe is Me” and asked Nushka to share a few plans for the months ahead.
Nushka- “Woe is Me” is cool, but I forgot it was there! 2023 I have a song remix coming out that Doctor Lincoln has done for me. That will be out soon. I am also working on more material like “Come Around” with Da Architecht.
Plenty to look forward to, and can we recommend that you have a watch of the videos and then download your favourites! Enjoy.
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