In the Cafe Bar
A richness of voice; a depth of emotion; and wise beyond her years; with Listen To Formation, Look For the Signs, 23-year-old New Zealand native Nadia Reid has claimed her place as one of the country’s most evocative and profound young songwriters. Her music traces the sharp mountain peaks, azure coastline, and mirrored images of the land and sky that pinpoint her home country’s vast open landscapes.
“For me, inspiration for writing happens everywhere,” explains Nadia. “On buses, airplanes, walking, driving… it can be very unpredictable. My songs have a strong connection to the places they were written, from Port Chalmers, to Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland.”
Whether nerding about with friends, stunning audiences into silence with her spellbinding live shows or unwinding in the tranquillity of her favourite hometown spot overlooking Port Chalmers’ harbour through her large-rimmed spectacles, Nadia Reid has achieved a gloriously fresh and eloquent new folk sound. Mapping out tales of change and loss, whilst drawing inspiration from reading, writing, the human condition, falling in and out of love, death, and birth – it all lends to a superbly balanced album that moves surreptitiously between sparse and fragile melancholia to beautifully brutal lyricism with a philosophical maturity that bellies her years.
Creating her own enchanting wonderworld, each of Nadia’s songs explores the elements; truly organic, her vocals ebb, flow and soar but are always ignited with fire from the gut. Her lyrics clearly reference lush landscapes but equally reflect alienation provided by the surrounding Pacific Ocean and mortality of living in such close proximity to Mother Nature’s wrath, as experienced whilst living in Christchurch at the time of 2011’s devastating earthquake. “It shook the city to its core,” Nadia recalls. “I’m sure living through it has shaped my personality and writing. My first EP was recorded just months afterwards, it was a strange time. We were all quite fragile, but I was braver somehow.”
Boldly infusing folk with full flavour, Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs was produced by Ben Edwards, owner of Lyttelton Records in his Sitting Room studios with Nadia’s band consisting bassist Richie Pickard, guitarist Sam Taylor and percussionist Joe McCallum. Whilst ‘Reaching Through’s rich but unhurried nature evokes She Hangs Brightly -era Mazzy Star and intricate nuances of Beth Orton are recalled on lead single ‘Call The Days’ which talks of moving to a new town and was the first song penned after Nadia moved from Christchurch to Wellington; spurred on by a “panic attack” and being “worried about making the right choices in life”. Elsewhere ‘Runway’ and ‘Some Are Lucky’ immediately channel Nadia’s love of TBGT’s Jolie Holland and appreciation for New Zealand’s Maori music by Maisey Rika and Anika Moa, plus the inspirational narratives of Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire.
“My ancestry is a mix. I have strong Scottish and Irish connections that I hope to discover when I head over to the UK” tells Nadia of her forthcoming plans. “I think this will be a special time for me to discover a bit more about my heritage.” Continuing to clock up the miles and push those boundaries even further, wherever her new record takes her, Nadia will never find herself too far from her New Zealand home.
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