Mic Check: Nadia Vaeh plans to ‘Cut to the Chase' with upcoming EP

Singer Nadia Vaeh is a native of Lilburn, though she's currently living in Los Angeles.

Credit: Rachel Horton

Credit: Rachel Horton

Atlanta-born artist moved from circus to singer.

Editor’s note: With live music and concert reviews on hold due to COVID-19, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is focusing on how Georgia musicians are spending their time in our feature, Mic Check.

If it weren’t for a cup of laundry detergent, Nadia Vaeh’s life might have turned out quite differently.

The Lilburn native was living in Gwinnett, and, in the process of moving out of her apartment, decided to do some laundry.

With the necessities already packed, Vaeh went downstairs to the only neighbor she somewhat knew to borrow a cup of detergent.

“He was a quirky fellow and when I walked in, I saw all of this circus gear behind him and was like, ‘Wow, that’s why you’re always dressed in stripes!’” she said with a laugh.

Nadia Vaeh was a member of the Atlanta-based Imperial Opa circus before concentrating on her music career.

Credit: Thom Kerr

Credit: Thom Kerr

Her neighbor, it turned out, ran the Atlanta-based Imperial OPA circus and encouraged Vaeh to join. That decision changed her life.

“I was not very limber or athletic, but I started doing conditioning and transitioned into the music side of the circus, which was exactly what I needed,” she said. “I probably would not have fallen into music quite as deeply had I not met the circus people.”

After leaving the circus and then working with Atlanta-based musician and producer Ben Farmer, Vaeh moved to Los Angeles in 2019 to continue fostering her music career.

She recently earned recognition from the Independent Music Awards as a “Vox Pop” winner, and earlier this month released a new single, “Anxiety,” which will be on a four-song EP, “Cut to the Chase," arriving next year.

“It has a little bit of Atlanta grunge to it, which I love,” she said.

Vaeh is also planning to return to Atlanta — where her father and sister still live — in November for some socially distanced shows.

Checking in from Los Angeles recently, Vaeh talked about some of the musical inspirations behind her socially conscious-driven soul-pop music and how’s she’s been staying busy in a pandemic world.

Atlanta-born singer Nadia Vaeh plans to release an EP in 2021.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Q: Aside from the circus, was music always part of your life?

A: I was always musical as a kid. I was in the Atlanta Traveling Youth Choir and played the violin in an orchestra. After my mom passed away from suicide (when Vaeh was 17), I think music was too much of a reminder of her because she was always one of my biggest supporters. As life does, sometimes it will take you away from the things you’re meant to do.

Q: How have you been spending quarantine time in California?

A: I’m definitely doing a lot of creating. In the beginning, it was a little rough and we were all like, what is happening? But I’ve found a creative flow with my music family here. We have (recorded) different stuff coming out of this. The music is a little raw and returns to my roots a little bit with more rock ‘n’ roll. All of the songs have guitars. They’re still in that pop vein but have a little more edge.

Q: What have you been listening to?

A: I feel like in high school when I was in the music scene, a lot of the bands I was following were in that metal, rock ‘n’ roll vein, and that’s the space I’m getting inspired by, even though a lot of those bands are no longer active. I did grow up on a lot of Nirvana and Foo Fighters. I think having that rock and soul influence in my stuff now is feeling more authentic. I was vibing in my living room to “Put Your Records On” by Corrine Bailey Rae. I’ve been going down memory lane with music. I’ve revisited some Evanescence and Jewel, Alanis Morissette.

Q: What was the inspiration for your inspirational song, “Rise?” (Vaeh donated proceeds to the Human Rights Campaign.)

A: I went to Sacramento and met these two guys, and we wound up in this creative. It started as a conversation, sort of existential; from there we just started coming up with these lyrics and wanted to create a song that helps people feel good.

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