Nova Emad is a sultry soloist who belongs to Iraq. She is daughter of the legendary Iraqi vocalist Seta Hagopian, who is famous as “Warm Voice of Iraq”. Nova is making great contributions to renew the Iraqi classical music like her mother did. The talented singer is indeed the pride of her hometown i.e. Iraq because she started practicing and performing Cultural Arabic and Armenian songs from very early age. She infused Iraqi classical music with new genres like hip hop/Trance and Bossa-Nova. She is born with great artistic abilities and the melodious voice that has seized the global podium. Nova is currently residing in Canada and thus exposed to both Middle Eastern and Western cultures. She knows well how to mix opposite cultures to develop a unique style in performances.
We would like to share these exclusive answers by Nova with you.
How much influence your parents have on your work!
More than I can actually put in words. Since I was born in an artistic family, my parents made sure that my sister and I are exposed to all areas of art. I remember I used to wake up to my mom doing her vocal warm ups , and sing with her. In the summer, where our friends used to play and travel, my sister and I used to go with my parents to filming locations where they work. My mother made sure that we have our own Movie and Music Library, and we would have to sit down and discuss every movie or book we read. Everything I have learned in my life I owe to my parents.
With an artistic family background, was music instilled in your roots or you opted it by choice?
Oh I would say its in my blood. When I was a child, every memory I have is associated with a song. School picnics, visiting my grandparents, traveling by car to mountains, every little detail I have of my life is associated with a song, but with all of that, I never for once thought I would be a singer. It was just a hobby, until it became a way to express my feelings and what I was going through.
Describe Nova with her three distinguished traits!
I take a very long time to make a decision, but once I make up my mind, there is no force in the world that can make me change it. I am very stubborn, not the best trait to have, but I cant deny it . The last one is that I am very shy, but I usually put on a strong face to hide it.
Tell us about your music! What makes it so intimate?
I think for music to reach people it has to come from the heart, and it has to be true. Every song I released has a personal story behind it, weather it was about peace, homeland, Love or longing, It all came from within, and I think that’s why it touched so many people. What comes from the heart, goes directly to the heart.
Do you write your own lyrics?
Not always, When I first started, I didn’t find lyricists who could understand what I was trying to say, or to put the story I wanted to tell it in a way I can sing to, yet I had so much to express, so I took on writing my own lyrics. After a while, people started offering me their own lyrics. I chose the ones that I thought were a good expression of a certain situation of something I went through, or what I thought was a subject matter that was a bit challenging to talk about in my culture.
Who is your favorite singer? Well, we are not counting on “Warm voice of Iraq”!
Well, not mentioning my mom, it was and will always be Fairouz. She is a true symbol of everything I want to be in the future.
You have experienced working in quite diverse cultures, where do you feel most comfortable?
I find comfort in breaking new boundaries. I have never stopped at one style or form. I am in a constant search for new ways to infuse Arabic music with other cultures. It excites every bit of me
Who was your first ever celebrity crush?
Oh boy, that one all my friend remember. It was Jordan Knight from the NKOTB!
Tell us about the funniest incident that took place on stage!
It was while we were performing “Anu” in Jordan. All the performer’s were sitting in the seats between the audience, and we didn’t have a script. The idea was to build your line, song, dance the minute the light was flashed on you, so the light was on a Spanish harmonica player who was playing an old Spanish tune , and my light got turned on a minute after, and I was completely blank. I couldn’t follow the tune because It was the first time I heard it, so I kept quiet. Thank God there was a Pantomime artist who stole the light by acting a little scene from an old Spanish movie.
How do you handle criticism on your work?
When I was first starting, I was very defensive, I was trying to make other see what I wanted to say, or talk about, but after a few years in the music business, I built a thick-er skin. I learned to listen only to constructive criticism, and that I usually get from my family and my friends who are in the music business whom I trust.
What is the favorite comment that you have received by any of your fans?
It was from a young Iraqi guy that had left me a note on myfacebook pageabout the Sancturary series opening theme. I remember he said that he was so proud to find out that the singer of such well known tv series is an Iraqi artist. I still have Goosebumps every time I remember that.
Do you consider going back to Iraq and work there?
I am definitely considering going back for a concert. I was supposed to go to Baghdad for a concert last year but that project was cancelled after the ISIS marched in the Northern part of Iraq. I am currently working with a group of Young Iraqi volunteers named (Ghouth) in raising funds to help refugees who were forced out of their homes and raise awareness of the dire situations Iraqi families are going through right now.
How do you think that your music can help to make this world a better place to live in?
Music is a universal Language, you don’t really need to know the words of a song, but the melody can lift your spirit up on a bad day. Music is so powerful when you want to send a positive message of Love and Peace, It unites people as humans, beyond any sort of discrimination.
What is exciting about shooting videos for your own music?
To see your words translated to a picture through the eyes of someone else is very exciting. I was so lucky to have my sister direct 3 of my videos, she took the songs through an emotional journey with her vision.
What type of roles would you love to do if given a chance to work for Hollywood Film Industry?
To be honest, I don’t think I am a good actress at all, I am very shy in front of the Camera, but if I was ever chosen for a role, I would love to play a role of an immigrant who comes to the big city searching for her dream.
What is the best way for your fans to reach you?
Through my fan page on Facebook. I check all my messages and reply back to everyone in person.