Nana M. Rose
Meet Nana M. Rose, the poetic indie-folk-pop songstress, who has just released her long-awaited EP, Morning Drops & Lemon Seeds.
The stunning five-track ensemble showcases the ups and downs and trials and tribulations of the songwriter’s life. Having developed a global network of fans from touring across the UK, New York and The Netherlands, Nana is no stranger to success and her new EP illustrates why.
Morning Drops & Lemon Seeds is dripping in a poetic lineup of affecting, raw lyrics, as she creates a soul-stirring fusion of pop ballads with indie-folk. The superlunary, ethereal artist knows how to allure us into her musical world of dreamy, haunting soundscapes. With her classical background merging into her current musical aura, Nana is a stand out star in the night sky of music. We spoke with Nana M. Rose, diving deeper into her celestial universe and finding out more behind the creation of the new EP.
Your long-anticipated debut EP Morning Drops & Lemon Seeds is here! Let’s talk about your experience developing this creative process. How would you describe bringing this EP together?
The making of the EP has been an unusual, but amazing process. Just before the first lockdown hit (March last year) I met Louis Souyave (who’s now my producer) through my manager Judy. We really hit it off on a creative level and we were really excited to work together and make the EP happen. But then, 3 days after our first session in Louis’ studio in London, we found out we weren’t allowed to travel anymore. This meant we had to find a way to work remotely, with Louis being in London and me being in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Although it was so sad we couldn’t work in the same room together, those first few months in lockdown were really amazing for us on a creative level (if we ignore the fact there was a global pandemic going on..). We were in touch all the time about the tracks we were making, sending ideas back and forth, talking on the phone about the next steps and doing remote sessions on Zoom. We only met twice in real life, and yet we made the entire EP together. I still find it so amazing that we managed to make this work!
I love the name of the EP, what’s the motivation behind naming it as you did?
Thank you so much! ‘Morning Drops & Lemon Seeds’ is a line from one of the songs on the EP, ‘Sweet Honey’. I have always been intrigued by the strongest emotions, whether it’s intense joy, or intense sadness. My goal in making music is to express these extremes inherent in emotions, leaving no room for shame. I wanted to incorporate this idea in the EP title, since I feel like the EP shows all these different sides. Also, while writing this EP, I went through my own journey of self reinvention, and this search contained a lot of contrasting feelings that confused me. That’s when this title came to mind, with ‘morning drops’ representing the hope of a new day but also evoking images of teardrops, and ‘lemon seeds’ painting a picture of summer, fresh and zesty, yet bitter.
Which track stands out to you as your favourite?
This is such a tough question! I feel like a mother who has to choose between her babies, haha. I love the EP so much because it shows all these different sides of me, so it’s very hard to compare. If I had to choose, I’d say that Sweet Honey was the most fun to make with Louis. We had so much fun playing around with the production: creating sounds, making it as floaty and magical as we could. But then again November for example is a song very close to my heart – a song I have been playing solo behind the piano for years, long before we built a production around it. It was very special to hear it in all its glory when we were working on the production, and we first heard a full orchestra playing the arrangement. It felt like the song found its home in the production, and it was really cool to see the song develop throughout the years.
Your production is a luscious combination of ethereal indie-folk-pop. But how would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard your music before?
I love how you describe it! I always have the hardest time answering this question because I live inside those productions and inside those songs, I almost can’t hear anymore what it would sound like for other people. I’ve always tried to explain it by saying cinematic pop – Lana Del Rey productions combined with the power of Adele or Celeste. I think I am gonna use your description for now on, haha, it’s very on-point!
What were your favourite memories of making this EP?
I think my favourite memory is the feeling of this ‘creative bubble’ that Louis and I lived in whilst being in lockdown at opposite ends of the same sea. I know it was a terrifying time for so many people, and I wouldn’t deny that in any way. We were so lucky to be healthy and safe, and for us, it was such an inspiring time to be able to work on music 24/7. We were in touch all the time and we were so excited about what we were creating. With the world being so silent, we could really focus on just creating music, where usually there are so many distractions. I really look back at that bubble we created with a very warm feeling.
The lyrics you write are fabulously poetic! Where do they come from? Do you write methodically or just go with the flow?
Thank you so much! They all come from personal experiences. I usually start with writing a melody on a harmony, and although I don’t immediately have words to go along with it, the melody tells me the core of the emotion that I’m feeling at that specific moment. I can write entire songs with just a melody. While doing that, I experience very strong emotions, although I don’t have the words yet. The words come from welcoming these emotions and trying to put these emotions into words.
I love to read poetry a lot and love artists who write in a poetic way, like Weyes Blood, James Blake, Billie Marten or Lianne la Havas. I draw a lot of inspiration from these artists lyric wise!
I’m interested, who are your biggest musical and non music influences and why?
I first started to sing because I fell in love with big voices. I listened to Adele, Matt Corby and Lianne la Havas loads. They really were the reasons I wanted to develop my voice. I would hear these voices and without a doubt I just knew that I wanted to be able to have the power to sing like that. It wasn’t a matter of wanting to become famous or anything, I just wanted to be able to sing that way too! For me, It’s always been a way of letting go of and working through certain emotions. Some people go boxing, I’ve always sung my chest out. I still am fascinated by big voices: recently, I have been listening a lot to Celeste, Baby Rose, Jorja Smith and Little Simz.
I am inspired by all sorts of artists though, not only music. I absolutely love modern art and fashion, so I absolutely love to incorporate what I see into my visual identity. Whenever I have the chance to dress up and wear pieces by (young) designers, like Florentina Leitner (big fan!), I do it. When I wear pieces like that I feel like I’ve finally found my true skin. But I also love vintage clothing and the stories behind them. Finally, I love modern art and photography. Anything I see can really inspire and help me develop my own visual identity.
The fan base you have is dotted across the globe, which country do you want to visit most to perform?
Well, I have always loved performing in the UK, because the country has such a thriving music scene with a lot of room for all kinds of genres. I have always found this really inspiring and I really missed being in this environment last year. So as soon as I get a chance, I know I’ll be rushing back to the UK to perform. Also, last year I found a lot of Brazilian people love my music. I am not sure why, maybe it’s the romantic core of my music, but I would absolutely love to go perform there and find out what it is!
How was your touring experience in the UK, New York and The Netherlands?
It was so much fun! Back then, I was still playing my solo shows with just me behind the piano, trying out new material and broadening my fanbase. These tours not only gave me the chance to gain a lot of live experience, but I also met so many inspiring people along the way. I travelled alone and played these gigs alone, so I was very open to new contacts and I met so many inspiring people and local musicians who showed me around new cities and showed me the local music scene.
Both the UK and New York really inspired me because they have such a lively music scene. You really feel that there’s something amazing brewing in the air and it’s very exciting to feel like a part of it. In New York, I especially loved how music is conceived as a communal experience. Music was all about connecting with the other people in the room, not only about ‘catching a live act’. A show would always be a collaborative effort, not only that of the musician being the projector and the audience being the receiver. I learned a lot from these experiences for my own shows.
Whereas the UK (particularly London, Manchester and Bristol) really inspired me to find my own sound and not be afraid to stand out. I feel like standing out and having your own style as an artist is so appreciated in the UK. This really freed me from restrictions I laid upon myself and made me feel confident about what I was doing.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
For now, I am mostly looking forward to my first show in a year, that’s happening tomorrow [18th of June]! I think my EP release show at Bitterzoet (Amsterdam) will be really emotional for me. It must be so overwhelming to play in front of an actual audience again. I so can’t wait! After this, I am mostly excited about playing lots of shows all around the country and hopefully also outside of the Netherlands again, once that’s possible. In the meantime, I am planning to write a lot of new music and keep that music coming your way.
Lastly, any plans for another tour?
If only I could tell, with the whole situation as it is in the world right now. If I could, I’d drop everything and go on tour right now, but we will have to wait a bit longer for the world to recover and open up again. I really hope this will happen soon and we can let music unite us again!
Until then, I am very happy to have been selected for ‘Popronde’, a Dutch showcase festival that travels around the country at the end of this year for three months, so there will be a tour in the Netherlands, which I am very excited about!
Morning Drops & Lemon Seeds is out now, follow Nana M. Rose @nanamrose
Interview by Joe Beer
Photography by Felt Cute Photo