Today Swedish musician Nadya is releasing her debut single Refugee, a collaboration with producer Duvchi. With a mix of hip hop, electronic music and a significant amount of political engagement, she is ready to take on the music scene. Radar had a chat with her about the debut single, politics and what’s next.

How would you describe your sound?
– I like experimenting a lot with different sounds, and mostly all of my songs go in different genres. I move around between hiphop, rnb and punk music to electronica and pure pop, with a lot of middle eastern influences. You could maybe call it middle eastern heavy bass.

What were you like growing up?
– I was a real adhd kid. My mom descibes me as a whirlwind. Teachers always tried to get me to stand in line, I think I was a pain in the ass for them.  As a muslim iranian kid in a christian swedish town i never really fit in anywhere and by 15 society was my enemy. The music was the perfect platform for me to express whatever I was dealing with and the only space where me being a misfit was a good thing.

Refugee was never a song that I wanted to write, but I had to

Tell us about your first punk band.
– When I was 12 I started singing in a punk band as a result of having too much adhd and a dream of becoming a superstar. Since I couldn’t play any instuments or sing well, punk was the perfect genre for me. I remember downloading old Yeah yeah yeahs demos I found on the internet and sending them to the only band that I knew of in my school, telling them it was me. They bought it and soon enough I was living my teenage rock star dream telling everyone to fuck off.

Where do you find your inspiration?
– I don’t really look for inspiration, for me it comes naturally when I experience something in life. Usually my way of dealing with whatever bothers me is putting it into words and music. For me, writing needs to come from a feeling that I can’t bare. Otherwise it’s like talking without having anything to say. The backside of it is that I can walk around for months without really writing anything. That may not be a very good thing in the music business, but everyone is different and work in different ways. When I write something it’s real and it comes from a real place, that’s why it’s brilliant. I don’t write anything that is not brilliant. Sonically, right now I’m really into old persian music. I’ve been searching my dads old cassette stacks with real beautiful songs from before the revolution in Iran. The drums, the strings, the melodies. It’s unbelievable.

Racism and prejudice has always been
present in my life

What does politics mean to you?
– Politics means everything wether you want it or not. Some people have the privilege to ignore it, but I have no choice. I have to engage to bear my everyday life. When you’ve seen a supressing structure once, you can’t not see it. And then you start seeing it everywhere, specially if you are a young, immigrant muslim girl in Sweden right now.

Who do you look up to?
– My little sister Tina is the most amazing human being I’ve ever had the privilege to know. She’s too smart for her age, too beautiful for any eyes to bear and too strong for anything to bring her down. She got all the good genes in our family, and I’m glad because I could’ve never handled that level of greatness.

Tell us about your single Refugee.
– Racism and prejudice has always been present in my life. I spent many years trying to hide my background, or compensate for the sound of my name. My dad always told me that I have to work twice as hard as everyone else to become something in this world. And at some point I just got tired of trying to be the “good refugee”. And it was the most liberating feeling. I figured if they going to exclude me, then im going to be an outlaw. And an outlaw can not be controlled. The racists system of society have created a monster. And they have only themselves to blame. Today we live in a very special political era where right wing parties through out the whole of Europe are growing madly. The debate is out of control and the power is being put into hands of people with a real fucked up view of human value. Now is the time to speak up and fight back. Racists have been trying to scare me for a long time, it’s time to give them something to be scared of. This song is my fist in their face. It was never a song that I wanted to write, but I had to.

What’s next for you?
I’m going to keep writing music with different producers and try different sounds. I have been working on an album for quite a while now, but that’s going to take it’s time. I have a plan to start touring soon. That’s the whole core of making music for me, I want to travel and meet my audience and play my songs on stage, every night. I live for that.