Nai Palm is rising to the top, and shows no signs of slowing down!
With WOMADelaide rapidly approaching, we caught up with Australian artist Nai Palm and had a chat about the festival, as well as her most recent album ‘Needle Paw’, and her music career in general.
So when will you be coming down to Adelaide?
I’m home in Melbourne at the moment, but I’m gonna be in Adelaide from the end of March.
So you’re coming over here to perform at WOMADelaide, are you excited to be playing here?
It’s a pretty good festival, I’ve played there before. I don’t think excited is the right word, it’s kinda like me asking you if you’re excited about going to work. It’s a lot more low-key than the festivals I usually play, but I’ve made some amazing relationships there. So yeah, excited is not the word, but it feels good to be a part of it.
We’re glad to have you here! You’ve recently toured in Europe and the USA, and have an upcoming show in Tokyo. Is there anywhere else in the world that you’d really like to tour?
Well I haven’t been to the Philippines before, and I have some friends there that I’d like to visit, so that would be really cool. My friend also happens to own an artist resort, so that would be lovely. Other than that, there’s lots of places I’d like to go again, like South America and Europe. I’ve got friends everywhere that I’d like to visit. When you’re a musician and you travel a lot it’s important to have a global family.
That sounds really cool. What’s your favourite festival you’ve played at?
I’d have to say Wide Open Spaces, which is a small festival in the central Australian desert. We recently played there this year.
Wow, that’s pretty remote. Were there many people at that festival?
It’s a small festival, pretty intimate. It has a lovely vibe though, it’s refreshing. I have played festivals like Lollapalooza where there’s thousands of people, and it’s all really hectic. You’re just not gonna get those kind of numbers an hour away in the middle of Australia, it’s too far away. But that’s what makes it kinda special.
Yeah totally. If you could collaborate with any other musician, dead or alive, who would it be?
A French composer called Debussy, I really love his work, it’s amazing. But if I were to work with somebody who’s still alive, it would be Missy Elliot.
That’s awesome. You have a very soulful, powerful voice. Who are some of your influences?
Thank you. Macy Gray is cool, she’s a staple in my ‘music diet’. I adore Bjork and Aretha Franklin. I don’t know, I draw inspiration from so many different musicians in so many ways, it’s too hard to say, really.
Cool, that’s really great. How would you describe your musical style?
I don’t really know, I like to leave that to the listener to decide. I don’t like to box it into any genre. But to describe it, I make art to feed my soul and serve my purpose. I don’t feel that art should be put into boxes, it’s beyond that. It’s all about the listener and how they interpret it.
So your new album ‘Needle Paw’ came out late last year, how is that taking off?
Great! It seems to be really well received, all over the globe! I’m very proud of it! I had a lot of people write to me and telling me they love it. I wanted to make an album that was for the intimate moments in life, and I think I achieved that. It was really special and personal for me; it was kind of like a journal. It’s definitely the best version of what it needed to be, so I’m really happy with it.
Fantastic! Are there any important messages or emotions you wanted to convey through this album?
Well, it’s kind of complex and hard to explain. You know, I’m no basic bitch, I’m quite a deep person. There’s a lot of Meta content in there. I’ve lived a very colourful life, and that really comes out in my art.
That’s super interesting. You’re also the lead singer in ‘Hiatus Kaiyote’. What’s the main difference between the band’s music and your solo stuff?
Well I’d say my stuff is a lot more stripped back and raw. It’s just me and my guitar. The band’s music is a lot more produced, there’s so much going on at once. We’ve got all of these instruments and synths and backing vocals, it’s all just beautifully chaotic, you know? I feel like my solo stuff has a gentle simplicity to it.
Yeah it really does, that must be refreshing. So, last question, are there any other acts at WOMADelaide that you’re going to go and watch, or any artists that you’re gonna catch up with?
I mainly just want to catch up with one of my friends. She’s gonna be playing, and it will be really beautiful to see her. I’ve seen her before, but she’s amazing. I met her last year at WOMADelaide. She’s part of an act from Argentina that I’d never heard of before, I just kind of walked into their set. I loved her work, so I chatted with her afterwards, and we’ve stayed in contact since then, she’s super fun!
Sounds like it’ll be a good time! Thanks for chatting with me today, it’s been a pleasure. I look forward to seeing you at WOMADelaide!
Thanks, I look forward to being there!
Don’t miss Nai Palm, playing alongside artists from all over the globe at WOMADelaide this year! The festival begins on Friday the 9th of March and goes until Monday the 12th, so make sure you go along and experience music from all sorts of colourful backgrounds!
By Jonathan Matthews