Nadia Vaeh is the pop superstar you wish you knew. She was born in Atlanta and is now in Los Angeles. In 2019 she had a bittersweet Christmas song called “Holidazed and Confused.” This year she has a joyous song called “Christmas Cards.”
Written by Nadia Vaeh and Dion Shaw, “Christmas Cards” rings in the holiday season with love and newfound traditions. “One day, I will have a partnership with lots of secret notes and inside jokes where we build lots of memories and traditions together,” explains Vaeh. Christmas cards were a staple for her family growing up, which help spark inspiration for this song. “Cards were always big for my family, and my mom would display them on the mantle every year around the holidays,” says Vaeh. “I feel like tradition is so important. For now, I am creating some new holiday traditions with myself, and I look forward to sharing and adding to these with someone special one day.” The track was produced by Dion Shaw and Tyler Spratt, mixed by Tyler Spratt, and mastered by Paris Minzer.
For the past year Vaeh has been putting out a new song and video a month. These singles included “Monroe” on empowerment, “Anxiety” on mental illness and more. Each song also has donated money to a different cause including Girl Up, Alliance of Hope, Peace Over Violence and Human Right Campaign.
Vaeh’s secret is a great team and the ability to collaborate. If you read the credits you will find many names, and many of the same names producing, directing her music. FEMMUSIC was happy to interview Vaeh about her career. For info visit https://www.nadiavaeh.com/
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? Am I correct in hearing you begin with lyrics?
NV: Typically I begin with lyrics or a melody idea. Sometimes a song can just start with a single word, like “Boomerang” and other times it can begin with just a melody idea like in “Mirrors”.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about some of your collaborators, especially Tyler Spratt and Dion Shaw. How did you meet? What do they bring to a project?
NV: I love my team and would not have been able to cultivate the sound that I had dreamed of for so long without them. We are all stronger together and interestingly I met them on separate occasions and just saw the synergies. In the beginnings of our all working together, Tyler and Dion had not even met in person as Dion is based in Australia. We have been expanding out our team and have been collaborating with a couple producers/songwriter out of Nashville (we love you Andrew Gomez, Daena Rodgers and Jen Miller!) Some of the new music we have lined up has really been a beautiful evolution. I’ve also been doing a lot of co-writes for other artists with friends and that’s been fun to branch out in this way as well.
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Zane and Noor Gharzeddine. How did you meet? How do you work with them to design a video?
NV: So Noor is my cousin from my dad’s side! We’ve worked together on music video projects prior to “Anxiety”. I ended up connecting with ZANE through a Film bidding website that I made a post on looking for someone of his caliber to create a video with. The project I originally connnected with him on did not go as planned, but we became friends through the experience and bonded over being Lebanese lol. Since my cousin was in Lebanon during the majority of the logistical coordination for “Anxiety” as well as for the filming was a no brainer to bring on ZANE to help fulfill the vision in full. My cousin worked really hard to ensure that the vision was clearly communicated and we all did several three-way chats and zoom calls as well as email threads (galore) to create this visual.
FEMMUSIC: I saw you were part of a Women In Music Atlanta panel in August. What made you move to LA? How have both cities influenced and changed your music and style?
NV: That was a really uplifting and fun panel to be a part of and helped me reconnect to my roots. It was also super cool to link up with some fellow Atlanta-bred indie artists.
I decided to move out to LA because I really enjoyed the collaborative culture here. I was coming out to visit quite a bit and realized I was growing so much in the small windows of my visits. I will always have a love and appreciation for my home city and it’s shaped me as an artist in person so much, but LA is where I’ve been able to do the most healing and really bloom into the artist I always wanted to be. Atlanta gave me my grit and LA made me stronger.
FEMMUSIC: You’ve released a number of singles, but haven’t released an EP or album. What benefits do you see to releasing singles only? Will there be an EP or album in the future?
NV: Oh yes! I have EPs and albums in the works, but at this stage in my career singles are the move! I also really enjoy building and branching off of one song in a very detailed way as I grow further into my artist skin as well as grow my fan-base.
FEMMUSIC: A number of your songs you’ve donated portions of the proceeds to different organizations. What motivates your activism and does it manifest beyond the donations?
NV: I do this because it’s why I’m here on this earth. My artistry is meant to shine light on various causes and working with organizations that take the intention of my songs to heart with their work is an additional way I can perhaps make a difference in my time here. In alignment with my artistry I also really enjoy mentoring young people and have been developing a school program to aid teens with issues involving body image, anxiety, self-acceptance and healthy self-esteem.
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?
NV: Recently Demi Lovatos “I love Me”. I’ve struggled with orthorexia on and off and body dysmorphia which is an issue so much on the rise with social media for both men and women. I really admire Demi and how she uses her voice and artistry.
FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?
NV: Lol I think being a woman in the music industry is automatically setting you up for adversity and struggle. It is not an industry that is kind to women. I will say, women are so incredibly strong though and built to endure the pain, which I hope one day will not be a norm. I’ve been undervalued for my thoughts and ideas, talked down to, sexually violated in various ways, been “demoted” for declining these sexual advances or standing up to myself, not been seen for my talents or contributions of the mind but for how much “heat” I bring to a room. It’s hard as hell to be a woman in this world, let alone one of the more toxic industries. [this is the light version] What keeps me going are the good ones that I am lucky to have encountered and work with, as well as the calling to put myself out there through music as I know it is for a greater purpose than even I still to this day have a full understanding for.
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?
NV: This is so tough!!! Lately, I have been really falling in love with Miley Cyrus more and more. She uses her platform to promote so much goodness and it would be such and honor to align with her. I also feel like our voices would sound really interesting together.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
NV: The way that artists are valued is so imbalanced and I would want to restructure the economic design of how songwriters, producers, and artists actually make money. In other words, I would restore balance and create a pay structure that is actually a decent livable wage for the creatives that make the industry go round.