Electronic dance music artist Nesta! released her new single "Better Now" this week. The singer/songwriter will be releasing her new album Surrender later this summer.
Nesta! is known for her soulful lyrics and dewey vocals and has been singing, writing and performing since she was very young. However, music is just one of the many interests that she has as she is also a successful wellness coach, an avid surfer, an entrepreneur and a passionate animal activist who runs her own non-profit rescue organization called "Let Love Rule Animal Rescue".
The singer also owns her own record label Lovie Records and has self-released three albums. Earlier this week Nesta! sat down with AXS to talk about her new track and album as well as her dizzying array of activities outside of the music world.
AXS: Where are you at today?
Nesta: I'm actually in San Francisco today. I'm headed back to L.A.. I had a little weekend up here working on, well we go to Burning Man every year for Art Car so we were working on that. It's always a lot of fun.
AXS: Can you talk a bit about the process that went into working on the new album?
Nesta: Sure. Well the album was produced by a friend of mine Phynx. He's a guy who I reached out to on Soundcloud. I was just a fan of his music and reached out on a whim and he has done this really awesome Katy Perry remix that I loved so I liked to joke that Katy Perry brought us together. That's kind of how I found him and I reached out to see if he had any original tracks that he wanted a vocal on and he sent me a track back and I really just liked his original music and we started sort of bouncing tracks off of each other back and forth and then a few months later he actually moved to California and we just had a really great working chemistry and decided to do a full length album together. We actually took a week and stayed in this house in northern California and just wrote the album. It was just a really beautiful, creative, amazing process and we ended up with eight songs at the end of that week. Then I have four remixes for a total of twelve tracks on the album. It was just a really, beautiful, amazing, creative process.
AXS: You seem to draw from a lot of different influences but what was the biggest idea or mood when you went in to record this time?
Nesta: Well with this album I really wanted it to, I mean it obviously has roots in electronic music, but I wanted it to feel the influence of a lot of other genres as well. I wanted to make sure that there was some pop, some rock and some blues. The album felt more like a story where you start in one place and by the end of it you've experienced kind of different energies from different genres with all one complete story rather than just single after single. So it was really important to me that the album feel like you've gone on a journey with it rather than just like the same song over and over. I wanted a different experience with each song.
AXS: What is it about "Better Now" that made you want to release that one first?
Nesta: Well there were two songs that were kind of in competition to be the first release but I wanted something that was sort of more uptempo and energetic for summer. Something that was a little more anthemic where people could be rolling in their cars with their windows rolled down and just feeling that energy of summer. That idea of just getting pumped to go out. During the summer you're just ready to have a good time so I just wanted to lead with that energy.
AXS: When you sit down to write, where do you draw your biggest influences from?
Nesta: You know, I think every time I write a song literally it will usually start with some kind of beat and the beat will have some sort of energy that's attached to it and I will let the energy dictate the storyline. I'll just sort of put the beat on loop and get sort of the essence of the song. Once I lock it to a certain vibration whether it's happiness or loneliness or contentment or despair or whatever I will let the message start flowing through me. I just let the song tell me what it wants to say and a lot of times I'll just start singing out loud and whatever comes I will start writing down but I think each song has its own story and its own essence so I never really go into it saying I'm going to make a song like this. The songs tell me what they want to become. It is important to me to make a full album that is representative of a period of time. That's life; it's full of dark moments and light moments. Just going through your life and having struggles and having happiness. That's a full, complete story. It feels like a better representation of who I am and who we all kind of are.
AXS: What is your biggest goal with the music?
Nesta: I think my biggest goal is literally just to have it heard. To literally just have a chance to have people hear it. That's what we're all fighting for as musicians. We just want to get our art out there and have people experience it because that's why we create it. Well maybe that's not the reason we create it but we hope that people will hear it and like that. I think that's a big goal for me right now. It's like okay, how do I actually just get this music out there?
AXS: What was the moment that you said that this was something you could actually do?
Nesta: I think that there was a real moment in my life where I realized it. You think you have all the time in the world to follow these dreams and you think eventually I'm going to get to that and then I think I had this moment where I realized, holy cow, I have to actually do this or it's never going to happen! I think you just kind of assume there's always time and you'll get to it eventually and I think there was this one point where I decided that if I don't make this an absolute priority then there's just too many things that will get in the way. I literally just pushed everything to the side and made making music a priority.
AXS: How do you feel having your own label has helped you?
Nesta: I think that there is just something about having your own label that changes the energy behind the creative expression. You don't feel like you're waiting for someone to come help you or tell you how to get your music out there or help you figure out how to get your music out. You're sort of taking the bull by the horns and saying, okay labels are doing this, big labels, small labels and medium-sized labels have figured out how to do this, I should be able to figure it out too. It has just given me this vehicle of confidence almost where I don't have to wait around and hope that a big label likes what I'm doing or any of that. I can just take steps towards just creating the music that I want and just getting it out there and hopefully creating a platform for myself.
AXS: How has the L.A. music scene influenced your music?
Nesta: I think L.A. is very interesting because there's so much different music going on there that you can kind of tap in to the mainstream scene, the underground scene and there's so many different avenues in which you can become inspired. The biggest thing for me is that I have met a group of friends who are also musicians that I've become really tight with and it's like all of a sudden all the musicians that I loved and admired are my good friends. It's just such a fun environment. When we have a party we all play and we all hang out and we're creating songs together and producing together. It's just a really familial, awesome, communal experience.
AXS: You have so many other different interests outside of music. How do you find time to juggle all of them?
Nesta: Yeah I'm a busy bee so I just think that by nature I am kind of a worker. I've always been that way, especially if I love what I'm doing so I think I just kind of don't stop. I just do as much of it all everyday as I can and then obviously at some point you run out of energy and you just got to give it up for a second. I love everything that I'm doing so much that I think I'm able to tap into an extra supply of energy.
AXS: Do you have any live shows coming up?
Nesta: Right now we're working on booking the release party so that's my big focus right now to just get that done for October and obviously I'll be at Burning Man doing some stuff out there. That's my two big things right now but who knows what the rest of the year has in store!
AXS: As you move forward what path do you see the music taking?
Nesta: Honestly right now it's finally becoming what I've always wished it would become. That is like I said, electronic roots, but we have more of a live band feel to it now. I have myself and Phynx the producer and then we also have started performing live with another amazing artist called Alpine Universe and so there's us three that are the mainstay of the band. Alpine actually plays accordion, drums and piano and Phynx plays guitar and then we also have a few dancers so it's become this really fun, live musical electronic bazaar. It's what I dreamed it would become so I'm really, really happy with where it's at and I hope to keep growing it.
AXS: Finally, when people come out to the shows, what do you want them to take from them?
Nesta: I think the biggest thing for me is always that there's a sense of love and gratitude. That's the underlying energy of it all. We are just so in love with making music and we're so grateful that we get to do it that we want people to know that is the underlying motivation for all of it and we just hope people can feel that when they leave and that it was just fun. That it was just this good, happy, fun time.