Saturday, 1 October 2011

#FindOutFriday - Q&A with Nazarene

Much as I love the Boys in Leela's Line Up, I wont pretend that this isn't an interview I've been chomping at the bit to do. Even though between our hectic schedules, it meant that it didn't quite make it in for the 'Friday' part for you to 'Find Out' about, I couldn't let it pass without showing you a tiny bit of the reason why Nazarene is one of the most interesting people I know...

Q: Where does the name Nazarene come from, how and why does it fit you?
A: Nazarene is one of my middle names. My Dad gave it to me because he was into Rastafarianism. It holds a righteous, ethnic meaning as its origins are in Nazareth, the place where Jesus grew up.

Q: There are a lot of different sides to you: Performer, CEO, Teacher...Tell us of another one that people are not likely to know about:
A: That's quite a hard one, because I'm very open! I guess that I'm very family-orientated?

Q: What inspired you to start iLiveArts?
A: When I Left WAC (WAC Performing Arts and Media College), I was going around to all of these open mics to build up my confidence and see what opportunities were out there. I realised there were none that I couldn't be creating myself! The main difference is that I wanted to create a safe, supportive atmosphere, where everything was all about the music. I found most of the other shows to be quite 'clique-y'; whereas I wanted to put together something fresh and new, where people actually want to come down and the focus is all about the music, the artist and nothing else.

Q: What is your most personal moment since iLiveArts's conception:
A: I think it has to be when I sang a song I wrote, called 'Fathers'. A lady had tears in her eyes while I performed it. She came up to me afterwards and said that it meant so much to her, because so much of it matched her personal history. The fact that it actually touched somebody in a way that I thought it never could. That's not always an easy thing to do.

Q: What inspired you to bring the Leela James 'My Soul' Tour to the UK and how did you select your eclectic line up?
A: Leela inspired me! I saw her live about 5 years back, when my friend Alice took me to one of her concerts. I was just blown away by her energy, her talent, her showmanship...She was who I aspired to be like, as I wasn't performing much at the time. When it came time to expand the iLive Music nights on that bigger scale, she was the first person I thought of.

Omar has always been an all-time favourite of mine. I'm quite big on the UK Talent thing and didn't want to make the show all about a US artist, as amazing as she is. I wanted that balance so decided to compliment Leela with a household name.

Relentless MC brings that UK conscious hip hop element that I'm really into. He's completely different and that's exactly what I wanted for this show, for it to be different from the norm.

Bonnie is a brilliant songwriter. A beautiful up and coming talent. As one myself, I feel it's SO important to give a platform with the big names to unsigned talent. Plus she's always supported the iLive brand and me personally - I had to have her with us.

I actually learned of MAVERiQ through Missus ESP! His vocals took me to another place as soon as I heard him, and I think it's great to have a male UK soul vocalist to help Omar balance out us girls!

Q: As a solo artist, what are your 2012 goals?
A: To finish my album and get out there on the road. Just to make GOOD music! I want to put my stamp on things and put iLive on the map!

Q: You hand selected your house band, the 'iLive Collective'. How did you all meet?
A: I was running iLiveArts single-handedly; booking freelance musicians to play at the iLive Music nights. Mx Ugoh (Drummer) and Kat Marcinger (Keyboardist) were playing for Bobi Kwe at the time, who I had invited down to headline. They enjoyed the night so much, that they approached me at the end and asked to be involved! It worked out great because we all clicked, and we've been a band ever since! I was introduced to Solomon 'SolStar' Castillo (guitarist) by his Mum, who's become a great friend of mine. Steve Yarde (bassist) and I were introduced through another musician. He joined around the same time as Kat and Mx, over 2 years ago now.

Q: What advice would you give to any budding entrepreneurs looking to start an iLive of their own?
A: Have your ACE team around you first! Make sure that you all share the same vision, that they want things to happen, but are not looking for a quick fix. They have to be willing to put the work in, but then so do you. Take risks, do things differently; don't do what everyone else is.

Q: Have you ever had a bad stage experience? How did you handle it?
A: (Laughs) Erm, I got a bit overexcited during a performance once and forgot I was wearing brand new shoes; one minute I was jumping around, the next I was sliding across the dance floor and ended up on my rear. I got up so fast that even though the audience heard a 'bump', most didn't see what happened. The show must go on as they say, so even though I was in agony from it, I kept going. If I can recover from that, I can keep anything moving!

Q: WAC seems to hold a very dear place in your heart. What makes them so special to you?
A: WAC are family. When I went to the college, I knew no-one and had no self-confidence. They were so supportive. They taught me to believe in myself. The treatment I've received from them is 2nd to none. I know I have a relationship there, that I will carry with me throughout the rest of my life. Everyone continually helps you throughout your journey there, so you don't mind putting the extra hours in. They definitely gave me the foundation and taught me how to run my own workshops.

Nazarene and the iLive Collective can be found at 'Soul in the City'; taking place at Avalon Shoreditch on the first and last Tuesday of every month.