A little while ago, I got an email that introduced me to the wonderful, sassy pop music stylings of NOVI. Her lead single “Blackbirds” is one of the catchiest singles I’ve heard in a long time. After listening for a while, I happily found myself somewhere between the sassy melodic pop reminiscent of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” and the soothing electronica of Imogen Heap. NOVI is making some of the most interesting music in my world, so I’d like to introduce her to yours. Read on for an interview indicative of just how unique and creative NOVI is!
Fair warning: “Blackbirds” was in my head for weeks after I was done watching.
How did you come to the name “Novi”?
Novi is derived from the Latin phrase ‘Homo Novus,’ meaning ‘New Man’. I wanted a stage name that was relevant to my actual name (Neuman, originating from a German nickname for ‘a newcomer to an area’), but that would also align with my artistic vision. As I am completely new to the music world, Novi seemed to work. Plus, it’s cute and sparky, which I dig!
What inspires you?
I find inspiration in many things, mostly relationships. There are so many universal themes that come out of the feelings you go through when in and out of love. But if there is nothing really happening for me on that front, I reach into all sorts of realms for inspiration. Sometimes a single word will inspire me, or a movie or a dream, etc.
What type of feel are you going for in your new material?
At the moment I’m digging big beats married with airy emotional vocals. Sometimes a girl’s gotta throw down some rhymes and get her “Busta” on! So I’m not really following any one direction at the moment. Just playin’!
How do you begin the artistic process? Do you write first, or start with melodies?
Usually I’ll have some sort of beat going, and Ill just start singing and rolling out some melodies. I’ve found that the first instinct for a melody is the more often than not the best one. I’ll eventually go back through and listen, picking out parts I want to keep or trying other ideas.
Do you think about the production techniques when you’re writing songs or is it added after?
For me, it’s normally added after. But I will often have the imagery of the track mocked up to a certain degree.
Why all the profanity in “Blackbirds”? Has that artistic/stylistic choice held you back in any way?
HAHA! Well initially it wasn’t supposed to be for the public, but we decided it was catchy enough to release. I was aware that it was going to create a bit of an effect, but as a new artist to the scene, I figured it was a good thing. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, but I was feelin SPICY! No, I don’t consider it to hold me back because it’s one song out of many.
Was there a particular moment or artist that made you want to pursue music when you were growing up? Who were your early influences?
My favorite singer when I was a wee lass was MC hammer, thanks to my pops. After that I LOVED the typical tween-pop music. Hanson, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, etc., but then my taste expanded and I was intrigued by the female singer-songwriter vibe – particularly “Beth Hart.” Her song “LA Song” moved me lyrically, vocally, …and literally too! Haha
What do you want people to take away from your live shows?
I want them to feel as if they’ve gained something from being there, that they’ve realized something for themselves, or maybe that they’ve just had a heck of a time! All would be lovely!
Where is your favorite place to perform?
So far my fave has been The Viper Room in Hollywood! But that is second to a tunnel beneath a roadway in Ashland, Oregon where acoustically you feel like a God. That’s what’s up.
What are your other interests/passions?
I love improvisation comedy. Doing accents and performing characters is so much fun. I really love me some Yoga (I do Bikram almost daily), and anything outside: hiking, biking, hammock swinging. I also like to be in the kitchen – cooking, but mostly eating.
Who do you most admire?
My folks Becky and Doug, and my brother Alex. They are such solid and wonderful human beings. Seriously.
How do you feel about the internet’s role in promoting your music? Is it something you like to move towards or something you prefer to hold back from?
The internet is a very valuable tool in all of this, and I must embrace it, know it, and utilize it. That’s the way things are these days, for better or worse.
A song I wish I wrote/played is…
At the moment: “When I’m Small” by Phantogram, and anything by Florence Welch.
I couldn’t live without…
My Magic Bullet!
The best advice I ever received was…
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” – Dr. Seuss
Do you think the music industry treats female musicians differently to male musicians? Do you think it’s more difficult for women to establish themselves?
Not in my experience. At this point I think it’s extremely difficult for anyone to establish themselves in the industry.
What’s next for you?
Tappin’ into the rhythms of the world, I guess! I’m co-writing some dance music, which has been a blast, and I want to continue meeting and writing with new people, expanding, and getting better. Thank you!
NOVI’s debut LP Now I’m Here is out now. Check out the clip for NOVI’s first single below!