Get To Know... Nxdia

Neu Get To Know… Nxdia

The bones of old-school pop-punk, fleshed out with infectious attitude and modern flair.

Hello and welcome back to DIY’s introducing feature, Get To Know… which aims to get you a little bit closer to the buzziest acts that have been catching our eye as of late, and working out what makes them tick.

We may only be four months into 2024, but Manchester’s Nxdia has already firmly cemented their status as one of this year’s most compelling Ones To Watch. January single ‘She Likes A Boy’ quickly blew up online, its angst-ridden, anthemic chorus proving catnip to the Gen Z set collectively embracing contemporary pop-punk (Olivia Rodrigo, Avril et al.) with open, fishnet sleeve-clad arms. They recently joined DIY’s Now + Next tour for a night in Leeds, and now Nxdia’s added fuel to the fire with latest release ‘Jennifer’s Body’ - a bilingual tribute to the queer cult film that explores obsessive, possessive attraction in an addictively tight, sub-two minute banger. We caught up with them to learn a little more about the story so far…

Tell us about the first gig you ever went to: Who was playing? Where was it? Who did you go with?
I went to see Jon Bellion when I was 14! The show genuinely made my brain feel wide awake for what felt like the first time in a while at that point. Being in that room and hearing his music live with my best friend at the time, after listening to it for so long, made me realise how much I was missing out on by not going to gigs. It was at the O2 Academy in Manchester and I wore heeled boots (rookie move), but I was jumping and screaming along the whole time. I think it cemented that performing was definitely a huge part of my love for music.

Your previous single ‘She Likes A Boy’ sees you sing in Arabic as well as English. Why was this bilingual element important to include in the track which introduced you to many listeners?

I don’t hear Arabic so much in modern music, but there’s more and more cool artists including the language in their output. For me, it was just about paralleling the mental dialogue I have with something that I feel represents me - my songs and music. I speak in Arabic and English with my mum (which is the same for my internal monologue), and I also grew up listening to French, Spanish, and Korean music. I don't think language has ever been a barrier stopping me from enjoying or relating to a song. Also, including Arabic in a blatantly queer song feels really good - like I'm patting a 12 year old me on the head and saying 'everything will work out just fine, even if you decide to share this piece of you'.

What’s the story behind your first instrument?

Ahh, it was a classical guitar I got a little later in my teens - it was great and I still have it. But singing random melodies and writing was always my first instrument. I love creating sounds; when I was younger I used to sing all the time, not particularly because I was good at it, but rather I loved performing and writing so much that I began to process my voice as an instrument in my mind.

You recently played in Leeds with HotWax and Aziya as part of DIY’s 2024 Now + Next tour! What’s the best and worst/funniest experience you’ve had on stage?

That was so much fun! It was my first time playing in Leeds too which was cool, and they were both so good! The best experiences are usually when I hear people sing loudly back to me; the crowd singing along always catches me off guard, and I can't keep a smile off my face if I try. The only negative thing I have to say about that performance is how often I tripped up on stage! I never really fall, but that day I did a few times.

“Including Arabic in a blatantly queer song feels really good.”

Your new single ‘Jennifer’s Body’ is inspired by the 2009 film, which is now known for being a bit of a queer cult classic. Growing up, what other films/books/music/media helped you navigate and embrace your gender identity?
Ah, there are loads! P!nk was fundamental to me; her songs and how she had this really cool androgynous vibe made my eyes light up, and my brain realised I could lean towards an androgynous identity too. Also admittedly, all the Barbie films - Barbie and the Three Musketeers was amazing to me (and still is). I love revisiting books from my childhood, especially the ones with sapphic themes that I didn’t clock onto at the time. I'm currently reading one called Ash by Malinda Lo again, and it’s mind-blowing stuff.

If people could take away one thing from your music, what would it be?

Stay true to who you are! I want people to feel a part of something - even if you're too scared to vocalise the thoughts in your head, I want you to hear my music and feel seen. I love people, in every shape, form and identity. I think the messages I get from people who listen to my music prove that I’m helping create a dialogue that connects a community of people, who then share their personal stories which parallel the things I talk about in my lyrics. I love that element of the community so much.

Finally, DIY is coming round for dinner - what are you making?

Mahshi Kromb babes, it’s my favourite Egyptian dish and favourite dish ever! It's basically these little vegetarian stuffed cabbage rolls (so yum!). They go so well with some koshari too, which is another Egyptian dish that’s kind of like a mix of pasta, rice and lentils, served with tomato sauce and topped with fried onions and chickpeas - it’s honestly unreal.

Tags: Nxdia, Neu, Get to Know

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