Speaking in your own voice is the most natural thing in the world. Creating art that’s in that voice can be quite a bit harder. New Orleans-based R&B singer Nondi learned as much when she set out to make her second EP. In order to make music that was fully herself, she had to take some difficult steps.
The steps were tough because they were her first. While Nondi has been playing music most of her life, all of the electronic R&B songs she’d released were the result of singing over beats made by others. To ensure that her latest music was fully her own, she learned how to produce.
“I realized I had made a lot of compromises that I didn’t want to be making. I want to just do it myself,” she explained in a recent interview with Very Local. “I love working with the men in my life but I got to a point where I was tired of having that dynamic.”
Nondi set to work learning software like Ableton and Logic. The daughter of a traveling street performer, she took to it in the way that only a lifelong multi-instrumentalist could. She soon found that she could bend and shape the sounds to her own liking, without the interruption of middlemen.
Freed up from situations where she occasionally had to “struggle to make [her] voice heard,” Nondi was able to create an album full of soft sounds, rolling synths and barely-there snaps. Nondi calls it “electro-soul-goddess-pop.”
“Goddess pop is music that is catchy and feels good, but its centered in the divine feminine,” she explained.
The resulting tracks have the feeling of something that’s moving slowly but unrelentingly, like the silted river that Nondi settled down next to in her adopted home or the oceans and streams that frequently crop up in the project’s lyrics sheet. It’s the sound of casual but undeniable progress, like a child growing in their mother’s womb, said river heading out to sea or a group of friends building something slowly and moving toward a more comfortable life together.
“All of this next project is..[about] a feeling of togetherness, a feeling of love. A feeling of unity. The music that I’ve made this year has been centered in heart-feelings. It’s very water-based. Love for the goddess and love for the goddess in all of us,” she explains. “A lot of the songs I wrote for this EP are directed at my femme community, directed at the support systems that I have here and the community that surrounds me. There are definitely love songs on this next EP but there’s also like friendship songs.”
All of that is on display in “You Take Care.” Take a listen to the new track that we’re premiering below.