New Music Friday: Nonô
We're back with a New Music Friday! This week trailblazing Brazilian talent Nonô came by the studio for a chat. Her latest sizzling single ‘Domingo' bridges together hard-hitting elements of dance pop and Nonô's Brazilian swag to create the perfect club heater. Latin rhythms interweave with a club-ready groove and sweet synth melodies as Nonô's brilliant bilingual hooks steal the limelight. Written alongside Clean Bandit and Jason Derulo hitmaker Henry Tucker and UK electronic production duo Punctual.
The London-based artist from Rio, Brazil has over 200 million streams and has been championed by the likes of Danny Howard, Party Anthems and Jack Saunders. Collaborators have included Welshy, TCTS, and Majestic, and Nonô also supported Example on his UK summer tour last year. We sat down with Nonô to discuss the inspiration behind ‘Domingo’, her fashion style, how she would spend her ideal day off and much much more…
Nadia: Hi guys, we're back again for another New Music Friday here at the Stööki Studio, and I have the amazing artist Nonô here today! So for everyone watching, can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Nonô: My name is Nonô. I am a singer and songwriter from Brazil, but I’ve lived in London for the past six years. I’ve been releasing songs that are every genre really, I don't like putting myself into a specific genre, but yeah that's me.
Nadia: Amazing, so how did you come up with the name Nonô?
Nonô: It's my name.
Nadia: Oh, okay. That was easy.
Nonô: Yeah well actually it's part of my name, so my full name is longer. But I've been called Nonô my whole life, so that was just a natural thing.
Nadia: Cool, so how did you get into making music?
Nonô: I've always loved music and it has been a big part of my life. My mum would always be playing CDs for us and we'd be listening to the radio a lot. I remember that there was this one time that I watched Dreamgirls and I've always sang my whole life. I also remember that moment I saw Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson and I was like I can do that easily haha. So that's when I decided to make music and become a singer.
Nadia: When you attempted to become a full-on singer was it as easy as you thought it was going to be?
Nonô: Some aspects of it were. The creating was easiest but it took a lot of practice because when I first moved to London I hadn’t really written music. I first started writing when I moved here in 2016 and at first I had no idea if I was doing good or not and then that took a bit of practice, but it still came naturally. I would listen to beats or the piano and I knew what melody would come, but then writing lyrics was a bit harder. Also some other aspects like gaining an audience over here was a bit harder. I was very lucky that in Brazil, I knew the importance of social media from a very young age, so I was doing YouTube videos at 10 years old.
Nadia: I love the fact that you said you built your community because I feel like that's very important nowadays. When you perform live shows do you feel like they give back to you?
Nonô: It was a bit hard moving here because I needed to find out who I was and who I wanted to be with my music. So it was this full journey thinking okay “What do I want to portray? What do I feel?”. When you're on that journey and you're trying to connect with people you have got to be very honest about it. Now I'm thankfully in a place where I have found people that can connect with my sound and with the different styles that I do, so that's been easy now.
Nadia: So your latest single, Domingo has had a great reception! What was your inspiration behind the song?
Nonô: So for my latest single Domingo I was inspired by Gringos. They are people that don't speak a Latino language and people that are not from Latin America. I've been living here for a while and I've fallen in love with a bunch of Gringos. So it's my declaration of love to them.
Nadia: Amazing, what is your songwriting process like?
Nonô: My songwriting process depends on the producer that I'm working with. If they're playing keys or if they're just playing a beat I usually go for the melody first. Then I like jumping on the microphone straight away and seeing what kind of melodies come to me. I like to see if any lyrics pop up because sometimes when you're mumbling and you're just making sounds, words will naturally come to your head and then you can tie it in together with anything that is going on in your life at that moment. So it's usually melody, lyrics and themes.
Nadia: So would you say it’s quite a technical process as well?
Nonô: Yeah it can be. It can be a very maddening part of it when you do a lot of melodies and you're not sure what is the chorus and what is the verse. It gets technical in the sense of where does this part go and what's best for the song.
Nadia: Who are some of your music influences? Do you have a lot of variation between them?
Nonô: There are so many, because I grew up in a big family and so everyone was showing me different stuff as I was the youngest. Everyone just shows you what’s the best thing. So even nowadays, I listen to a lot of Rosalía, Kojey Radical and 21 Pilots, which is more rock and it's just like this huge spectrum of sounds that I listen to.
Nadia: So I love the fact that you have this whole range of genres that you listen to. I feel like that would really feed back into your music especially your songwriting process as well because they're touching a lot of different subjects. It's not just one genre that you're kind of fitting yourself into, but if you could describe a genre what would you describe yours as?
Nonô: If I had to pick one genre it would be Electronic, whatever side of Electronic music that can be, because some of my songs are very House and others are Brazilian Trap. But I think they’re all inside the Electronic world. Or Pop, Pop, Pop! I changed my mind.
Nadia: So it's just Pop now?
Nonô: Just Pop. Yeah I'm a simple girl.
Nadia: So how do you think the Brazilian and UK music scenes are different?
Nonô: I think they're different, that's the thing Brazil has so many sounds. We obviously have a lot of international sounds that come to us, like everything that's on the charts. We also have a lot of regional music. We have Baile Funk and Sertanejo which is like Country music. We have our own Country music and Baile Funk is a rhythm that comes from the Favelas and more humble places.
Nonô: I think Brazilian music is more organic, they like to use instruments such as the guitar, natural claps, pandeiro or cuíca which are instruments from Brazil. In the UK I think the sounds are more polished, even if you look at Grime which is more of an urban sound it’s more produced. So I think Brazil has more organic sounds.
Nadia: So what's your favourite thing about performing live and what's been your favourite performance to date?
Nonô: I love the attention, I don't know if you can tell haha? No, I love connecting with people. When you write a song in the studio and you're just thinking about it, you don't know how it's going to resonate with people. Then when you actually get to play it live and see people singing back to you, you're like oh that's the best part of it. It's an amazing feeling because you feel like I did something that made that person's day a little bit better. It's just that feeling that you're helping someone out and have a good time. What I love about live performances is you can just get lost in it when the artist is performing. You have that moment between your friends as well, that moment is just paused and you can't describe it really.
Nadia: What's your favourite thing about performing live and what would you say is your favourite performance to date?
Nonô: I would say my favourite thing about performing live is definitely connecting with the audience. Because when you're doing the whole process of writing music, you dunno how people are gonna respond. So when you're actually performing and you see how they're reacting and singing the lyrics back to you, it just makes the whole experience of making music worthwhile.
Nadia: When you're in the moment with your fans on stage and they're singing the words back to you as well, it must be a feeling that you can't really describe?
Nonô: Exactly, it's a privilege that you're able to write songs or make music that will allow people to have a good time or to escape. Whether your live show is 20 mins or an hour, you have that moment to just really be present. Nowadays it's so hard for you to be in the moment and we're always thinking about the future. We're always on our phones and comparing. When you're in the live show, you have to be there and be present and that's what I love about it.
Nadia: What's been your favourite live show so far?
Nonô: My favourite show would be last year when I went on tour supporting Example. I played a show at the O2 in Glasgow, Scotland. The energy of that place was just incredible, it was so much fun. Everyone was jumping and screaming.
Nadia: Glasgow is quite underrated when you think of crowds and Example’s a legend who has been in the game for so long. How is he as a person?
Nonô: Oh he's great and so lovely and the fact that he took me under his wing you know? We were doing the tour together and were all on a bus together, it was like 14 people and I was the only girl there as well. We were writing songs after shows together on the bus, and we just got along really well and we ended up writing a song together we released. It's called ‘Deep’ and it's a Drum & Bass track. I had never made a Drum & Bass song before but we got in the studio together, we wrote it and he gave me some good guidance about the industry and took me to perform with him at festivals as well, so I had all these amazing experiences with him - he's great!
Nadia: What are your goals for 2023 and 2024? What do you have planned?
Nonô: I'm gonna release more music! There's loads more songs that are very me that are coming out, and some that are in a new sort of world that I haven't released yet. I'm going to be focused on releasing more and doing more shows.
Nadia: Amazing, so what made you want to make the transition?
Nonô: It just came naturally really. I worked with this incredible producer called Biñan and I showed him all the Brazilian sounds that I wanted to incorporate in my music. I've always wanted to bring more of Brazil into the music that I was creating, and I showed him a couple of songs and he completely got it. It happened really fast, in a week we had basically half an album. It's really great that all of these songs are going to come out at the end of this year and next year.
Nadia: How would you describe your ideal day off?
Nonô: I’d probably be lying down and definitely sleep in. Then I'll go out to the beach, come back and have some Brazilian food. I'll probably be with my family and then go to the pool and then I will just play games or do some embroidery.
Nadia: That sounds good! You like embroidery… Have you made anything recently?
Nonô: Yeah I made some flowers. It's just something that I started doing in lockdown. It's so relaxing.
Nadia: How would you describe your fashion style?
Nonô: Colourful and vibrant. I love bringing a bit of Brazil every time that I go anywhere, so I think colours play a really big part for me.
Nadia: Love it! When you lived in Brazil, did you go to the carnival?
Nonô: Yeah I mean, you have to, otherwise you get kicked out of the country.
Nadia: Okay It's very serious. Fair enough.
Nadia: Because we just had Notting Hill Carnival this weekend, did you go?
Nonô: No I was lying down haha. I didn't go, but I went last year.
Nadia: How does it compare to carnival in Brazil?
Nonô: What most people don't know is that we actually have competitions at carnival. So we have like twelve schools of Samba that are competing each year. They each have a theme that they present each school has an hour to go down the walkway. There are massive floats, performers and everything. That’s one side and the other is the street party side.
Nadia: What do you like about Stööki jewellery and the Stööki movement?
Nonô: That's the thing that I love about handmade pieces when I see a brand. It's not fast fashion and you can feel the love that went into it and they're very delicate as well. I especially love the United Ear Cuffs, as soon as I saw this I was like I need it. It's so well made and delicate but also it's got something extra to it. I love that Stööki has a passion for handmade things.
Nadia: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Nonô: My advice would be, keep going! It gets hard for every creative person. It doesn't matter what you do, if you are an artist doing music, a writer, or if you're creating beautiful handmade jewellery pieces. You just have to keep going because there's a lot of people out there, but there's no one that is as unique as you. You've already got the starting point there, so you just elaborate on it and be yourself.
Nadia: You performed on Love Island before right? How was that experience for you?
Nonô: It was so much fun and stressful because I hadn't performed live on UK television before and Love Island is massive.
Nadia: Had you heard of it before you went on the show?
Nonô: Oh yeah so my friends would do Love Island nights. People take it seriously over here, it's a whole thing. I think part of my English accent that I can do it's probably from that. So that was a very stressful situation because I didn't know how it was gonna go. You never know with TV but it was fun. It was a great opportunity and everyone who was a part of the show was really nice and everyone there was lovely.
Nadia: Where can people find more of your music?