by Alex Teitz
Oh My is a different album. It mixes jazz elements and complex arrangements into a fluid dynamic sound that permeates the space between the device and the ear. Then it extends the boundaries of what is possible.
Oh My is the debut album by Nadine, a Minneapolis band consisting of Nadia Hulett, Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez. Hulett has done work both as a solo artist and as part of Phantom Posse. The album took 2 years to create. It was made both in New York City and Dripping Springs, Texas.
Nadine will be at SXSW. FEMMUSIC is honored to have an e-mail interview with Nadia Hulett. We have kept it in original form because Hulett responded poetically to some responses. For information visit https://www.facebook.com/nadinemusic
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Oh My?
The prolonged days-weeks-months of getting in my own way:
Excessive doubt, imbalance, inertia
The realities of a long distance collaboration – finding the moments & money to come together to write and record
FEMMUSIC: Oh My was 2 years in the making. I was curious about the change from NYC to Dripping Springs. What did the change in location change with the album? How did the long production time help the album?
NH: After leaving New York City I lived for a bit in providence, upstate New York, and Austin. My time in dripping springs was actually quite short and came after the album was already finished. However, I visited a fair amount – whenever i could – during the making of oh my. the week we recorded there was a turning point for the record. Julian and Carlos felt much freer in the process, and we realized just how important it is for us to write outside of the city (New York City). How it influences the imagination in such a positive way.
Dripping Springs has always been sacred to me, an opportunity to start fresh, signs of a new life.
FEMMUSIC: How did the long production time help the album?
NH: I think I challenged how things are often done in a studio because I didn’t have everything written in full beforehand, and i didn’t desire for anything to be rushed. We did not have certain ticking clock pressures in the studio. i wanted it to be a creative place (as it can and should be). So i took my time. I also had to take my time between writing sessions in the studio with Julian and Carlos so that i could work on new songs on my own and save up money for the next session. It made sense to do it that way. The emphasis was on moving slow.
It’s good to have space
Space / time / distance can really help things – We don’t have to rush rush rush all the time
Some things can wait
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest change you made to Oh My that you did expect at the beginning?
NH: Mmm it was all unexpected ~
Everything unfolded as we went and most things were surprises
FEMMUSIC: How is Nadine different from your other projects (Phantom Posse, solo work)? What do you most enjoy about Nadine?
NH: This process has been transformative
Here I am embracing what means the most to me and doing what i can to serve it and share what feels right to share
The collaboration with Julian and Carlos has provided an incredible foundation for this to happen
I learned again and again during the process of making oh my that it is necessary for me to work with others on projects. I usually process my feelings and experiences out loud and sometimes even collaborate with close friends on decision making – not because I don’t know what I want but because i need to get what is inside of me out and it helps for me to explore ideas with others. I’ve attempted before to “do it all alone” in bedrooms and found myself in very unhealthy places. I want to recognize what works best for me and see myself grow.
Finding ways to communicate and connect with people is vital
It’s easy to float out into spacey loneliness when we aren’t regularly feeling seen, heard, held
FEMMUSIC: You’ve signed to Father Daughter Records. How did the signing come about? What benefits do you see signing to a label?
NH: We emailed Jessi Frick (who started and runs Father Daughter with her dad) and she opened the email!
I met Jessi years ago and Julian and Carlos worked with her a little bit in the recent past, so it wasn’t out of the blue
I’ve wanted to work with Jessi and know her better for years, and I’m really grateful that it is happening now.
Jessi has the resources and experience in the industry that I just don’t have yet.
Releasing an album with a label is one way of doing things. I was very interested in exploring this way of doing things, and I plan to explore the many roads that exist and create my own as I continue to learn and grow.
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
NH: The process is fluid just like me
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
NH: I started writing, saw the long list coming & had to stop
No one song alone – no one experience alone
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
NH: Assumptions may be made about me because of my role on stage as the performer and singer. Sometimes with men, but not exclusively, an assumption is made that I would want to work with you before I know anything about you. we may be chatting about something and it comes up that i write songs – make albums – perform, and it just so happens you are a producer, guitarist, or whatever. i may have no idea who you are or what you are about but the assumption is often that I should want to work with you or be flattered by your interest in me (and my potential 😉 ). Sometimes I do want to work with you! Perhaps, maybe. If we connect! What’s the connection? What’s the context? Is there a foundation here or could there be? This is also inherently about choice.
FEMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
NH: Sean Nicholas Savage – let me croon with you
Kadhja Bonet – let me learn from you
Kelsey Lu – let me play with you
Solange – let me sway with you
Lana del Rey – let me mourn with you
Sade & Erykah Badu – let me share my gratitude with you
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
NH: More room for everybody / less exclusive / more qtpoc represented on labels, showcases, tours, and generally running things
No one should get buried in algorithms and have to pay to get their music heard
Pay-to-play is a thing i always associated with the acting world, and it’s awful how rampant it is here too
We can thrive outside these models
We can make our own pathways
We can move on our own timelines