Behind The Voice: Nadia Ali
With her remarkable voice, Nadia Ali has enraptured the dance scene for years already – and not only as one half of the American iiO project. After tearing up dance charts all around the world back in the year 2001, her multifaceted voice became a welcome part of many tracks within various genres. EDM lovers were treated to the soothing Nadia Ali sound, as she worked together with Andy Moor, Armin van Buuren, Tocadisco and many more. And that’s definitely not the end of the story. In 2009, she came up with her first artist album ‘Embers’ and next to her recently released track ‘The Notice’, a collab with Chris Reece, another production with Armin van Buuren awaits us this year. Sounds like it’s right about time to look behind the voice again, to listen what Nadia has to say about all things going on inside her busy, but definitely exciting life.
Armada: When did you first start singing?
Nadia Ali: “I was 8 years old when I started singing after a friend noticed me humming a Madonna song in school. After she planted that seed in my head, I began volunteering to sing at every opportunity I could just to try it.”
Armada: How did you notice there was more than just a good ring to it?
Nadia Ali: “I didn’t realize that I had something unique until much later. I was around 20 and as a young adult, people started telling me that I had something different.”
Armada: Did you ever take singing lessons, or have you learned the techniques all by yourself?
Nadia Ali: “I never trained my voice. Just had a passion for singing.”
Armada: There must have been some point where you made the choice to go for music professionally. When was it?
Nadia Ali: “I was young and my naivety actually helped me pursue that career without having too much inhibition. I have always been sort of rebellious so I pursued singing despite knowing the completion that was out there.”
Armada: Did it take long before you were confident enough to do live performances?
Nadia Ali: “I have never really been a shy girl so I was fine in front of a live audience.”
Armada: Has dance music always appealed to you?
Nadia Ali: “Yes indeed. I was around 14 years old when I discovered the world of clubbing in NYC. I was a regular for years and years.”
Armada: Together with Markus Moser you formed the successful duo iio. How and when did the two of you meet and how did the first production come into being?
Nadia Ali: “A woman I worked with at Versace introduced us after asking if I was interested in doing a demo for a girl singer group in Germany.”
Armada: Is anything going to happen to Iio, is anything coming up?
Nadia Ali: “I am focused on my solo career but there is a lot more dance music coming up soon.”
Armada: It all started with ‘Rapture’ back in 2001. Do you feel that you’ve grown as a singer ever since?
Nadia Ali: “Absolutely. I feel I have become a better vocalist and more importantly a stronger songwriter.”
Armada: A lot has happened since then. You’re working with some of the best dance producers, from Armin van Buuren to Tocadisco and many more. Ever thought you’d be so successful?
Nadia Ali: “I did not think I would be so lucky in my life. I am just so happy to do what I love for a living.”
Armada: Got any vocal heroes yourself?
Nadia Ali: “Stevie Nicks, Bjork, Sade, Sarah McLachlan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are my top singers.”
Armada: Lets come back to Armin van Buuren. The two of you produced a new track ‘Feels So Good’ together, this time for his upcoming album ‘Mirage’. What do we need to know about this vocal beauty?
Nadia Ali: “We have talked about doing a new song together since we worked on ‘Who Is Watching’. Finally, he asked if I was open to recording a song that was written by the Nervo twins who also wrote hits like ‘When Love Takes Over’. I almost always prefer to sing a song that I have written however this song sounded so good in the studio that I was willing to giving it a shot.”
Armada: In 2009 you released your own first artist album ‘Embers’. What can you tell us about that one? Is there another one in the making?
Nadia Ali: “That album was a 4 year emotional journey. I wrote several songs over the years and many different drafts of many of the songs. I consider the album to be a world influenced electronic album. I have actually already started working on my next album which will be a full on club dance album. Very excited for that.”
Armada: Do you write your own lyrics, or is it always in collab? Where do you get your inspiration from, when it comes to singing/songwriting?
Nadia Ali: “I write songs on my own all the time. On planes, airplanes, restaurants etc. I then record many of the ideas as just a vocal melody and then when I decide to work with a producer, I often just sing the vocal idea over the beats and hence a collaboration is born.”
Armada: On July, 12th another collaboration hit the stores. The track ‘The Notice’, which you did together with Chris Reece, was released. How did you end up working with him?
Nadia Ali: “I met him through a good friend, Edx. The Chris Reece boys work very closely with Edx so it was about keeping it in the ‘family’. I loved their production style and the song ended up so different from my other tunes that I was excited for its release.”
Armada: Still dreaming of any special collabs?
Nadia Ali: “I had a dream to work with one of my favorite producers in the world, BT. Fortunately, I just recorded something with him recently, and hopefully early next year, the world will hear that magical song.”
Armada: What else can we expect to hear from you in the next few months?
Nadia Ali: “I have a 3 part compilation titled ‘Queen Of Clubs Trilogy’, which is the best of Nadia Ali remixed. It will feature my songs, past, present and future. I am so excited for this project to finally be released. Also as I said before, I have already started working on my next artist album.”
Chris Reece & Nadia - The Notice is out now!