"I wrote Ashes after the Australian wildfires of January 2020 as I was very inspired..."
Iman Nurai

Her debut single Ashes carries a multitude of meanings and interpretations and while at a first glance may seem to be a mundane break-up song, the deeper meaning is about regaining strength and rising from difficult times.

"I wrote Ashes after the Australian wildfires of January 2020 as I was very inspired by the environmental issues and therefore Ashes is a song that represents mother nature's cry for help as it burns down to 'ashes.'" Hearing the final version of the song was a euphoric moment for 16-year-old Dubai-based, Pakistani American singer Iman Nurai as it was incredible to hear what months of hard work achieved.

How are you? Who inspired you to make music?

Hi! I'm alright how are you? Thank you so much for this opportunity, I'm so excited. I don't think there's a specific singer or artist who made me want to become a singer because for as long as I can remember this has been my dream. When I was around four years old I would always watch American Idol with my parents and there are so many videos of me re-enacting auditions and pretending that I was a famous singer going to Hollywood. I think that's where my passion and love for music developed and when I realised that singing and performing was something that I truly loved and wanted to pursue in the future.

Iman Nurai for musivv. Photographed by Rakhee

Who do you look up to in music?

As I've gotten older and my music taste has developed, I'd say my biggest inspirations have been Lewis Capaldi, Tom Odell, Lana Del Ray and Billie Eilish. I love the way that they can convey such strong messages in their music and evoke so much emotion. I think it's so important that songs are able to create an emotional connection with listeners either through melody or through the lyrics. I really hope that my music [can] do the same.

How do you write songs?

Personally, I've found song-writing a difficult task, but at the same time I've always found it very interesting and something that I want to explore more. When writing my debut single 'Ashes,' I first came up with the general concept and then wrote the lyrics. I've played the piano since I was eight years old, so it was a natural option for me to put together the basic melody and chords on the piano. Later on, I decided to [hire] a music producer to ensure I got the exact results that I wanted.

basic melody and chords on the piano

What would you want to be known for when people listen to your music?

I strive to make memorable music that stays with people. I want people to be able to understand and relate to the lyrics and resonate with the message of my music. To me, music is like a portal into a different world, my world, and I hope that my music and future releases have the same impact and effect on others.

Favourite song?

This is such a difficult question to answer because I have such a broad taste in music varying from rap and R&B to indie and contemporary, but one song that I recently have loved listening to is 'Another love' by Tom Odell. It's beautifully written and has a memorable melody. It's been on repeat on my playlist recently.

Iman Nurai for musivv. Photographed by Chary Baniqued.

If there is one thing you want to eradicate in the world right now what would it be?

Looking at the world right now and the current issues, a problem I would want to eradicate would be injustice and violence against women. Cases such as Sarah Everard's that recently broke the news should not be as common as they are, and in my opinion, it is a huge issue that needs to be addressed in order to make the world a safer place for women everywhere.

Among the established local artists who do you think has the potential to become international?

I consider myself very lucky to be surrounded by such amazing influences within the UAE music community, and I am a huge fan of multiple artists. But if I had to only pick one, I would say FAFA. She has an incredible singing style and she's very talented. She was someone who I actually reached out to when writing my song, and she gave me very useful advice from her years of experience in the industry in this region.

I would say FAFA

Dream as an artist?

"This may sound very clichè, my biggest dream is to go on a music tour, traveling the world and performing in front of live audiences. My favourite part of singing has always been the performing aspect, and to be able to go on a world tour or perform at the Grammy's would be a dream come true."

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NEXT is musivv's segment featuring young and up-and-coming artists. Features under this segment are eligible for a nomination under this category on The musivv Awards (TMAs) annual recognition.

March 16, 2021

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