We had the good fortune of connecting with Nana Razaia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nana Razaia, why did you pursue a creative career?
Growing up, I was allowed to be as quirky and expressive as I wanted to be. My parents recorded almost everything I did, and encouraged me to be goofy and childlike with no judgement. Along with having the freedom, my mother, also a Pisces, used to be a singer in Brazil so that artistic nuance permeated the house. Being a creative and a weirdo (as I like to call myself) allows me to enter another world where nothing is out of bounds. This was where I practiced escapism the most, tapping back in to “reality” solemnly. I didn’t excel in school until my last years of high school, where I buckled down and took academia serious, only to flourish later in design school (albeit my attendance was short lived). I’ve dabbled in different mediums throughout my life; painting and drawing, theatre, dance, fashion design, writing, and singing. Being creative equated to me being my truest self and I felt fulfillment I didn’t achieve anywhere else. So I choose to be that everyday now and made it my life pursuit. Today, I work in music and made it my business and it’s so fun because I’m always learning, tapping into my wide-eyed, curious inner-child. Whether it continues to be something that is considered a “career choice” or lifestyle or part of my DNA, my art is part of my ethos.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The art that I’ve been most proud of is my music. I’m proud of it because it’s been hard work, mostly mentally and emotionally. Yes, I’ve always been filled with ideas and a natural curiosity that manifested into great creative moments, but I was confronted with a lot of insecurities and fear that hindered me. I did, and still am, doing the work to love myself because that act is truly the key to making really amazing art. Well, for me anyway. There is a level of freedom that I strive to achieve, and that comes across in my music. Creating a space where quirk is accepted, shame is rebuked, and love is the driving force is what I feel sets me apart from others.
Something I’m particularly excited about is my EP, “Como Água”. It is a testament to my growth as an artist and engineer. This project was in the works for some time now, taking on many shapes. A lot of songs didn’t make the cut, even after spending hours and days working on them, only to be put on the shelf for later (never fully scrap your ideas, they will be useful down the line!). And that right there is a lesson. I’m also so used to doing everything myself, that I had to teach myself to loosen my grip during the creative process and with my collaborations. What this EP consists of is genuine effort to deliver the realest version of me today, while flexing my mixing engineer-ing skills.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Where do I even begin. We would go thrifting in Los Feliz, stopping at Squaresville to pick up some vintage goodies, then we’d drive up to Griffith Park (the Merry- Go Round entrance where there’s a park near these tennis courts with far less people) for a cute picnic! Or we would go to Angel’s Point and climb up this small hill, where we’d get a little dusty catching an amazing view of the city and dtla at night. For food, we would have to stop by a few places in Ktown like Jinsol Gukpab for authentic korean food, Olympic Noodle for hefty portions on noodles and dumplings, and Hodori for 24/7 korean grub. There’s a lot of places to satisfy the sweet tooth, and Millet Crepe in Sawtelle definitely hits the spot with their popular crème brûlée crepe. Bar Hermanito is a short walk away, a great spot for drinks and mexican fusion cuisine in cozy vibes. After a long day (or night), Leos Tacos is a go-to for their el pastor. I like going to the one on South La Brea, I always meet cool people there that share a love for food. It’s just hilarious to me that we’re literally outside a gas station where I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone actually go there to get gas. When I first moved to LA, I signed up to get notified about local events so I get emails every so often to go to drive-ins for free. I keep a lookout for those emails when I know friends are visiting. Drive-in movies are such a vibe. Nick’s Metropolis Collectible is a place I love visiting. They’ve moved to a new location on Adams Blvd, which is conveniently located near me. Not only does his store give you major nostalgic feels, Nick is usually working and is always a pleasure to chat with. He really does care about his store and his customers. I recently been put on to a couple underground raves, so we’d definitely pull an all-nighter dancing our hearts out.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
For some reason, and often I don’t believe like I deserve it, I’m surrounded by love and support from friends and family. That always existed, but I have to give a special shoutout to a few books and people that has inspired me to be where I am today. I was lost in the sauce for a few years after not completing college the first time around, so I turned to books and podcasts that gave me different perspectives. One of the first books that encouraged me was “Purpose Awakening” by Touré Roberts. This book challenged me to figure out what my “why” was, something that I was so desperate to discover. Throughout that time, I was introduced to “The Robcast’, a podcast by Rob Bell. I listened to it on my commutes to work, during my lunch breaks, and any downtime I had at home. Rob, formerly known as a pastor and censored for his forward thinking, revealed to me new and exciting way to view and practice spirituality. Next is “Big Magic”, a beautiful book written by Elizabeth Gilbert. She is such a wizard with words and story-telling, personifying fear and speaking on being unapologetic with creativity. Finally, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention, is “Your Erroneous Zones” by Wayne W. Dyer (RIP). This book was groundbreaking for me in so many ways, but mostly taught me to get a grip on negative thinking where I unlearned a whole lot. These are just a few of the many pieces to the puzzle that helped make up my mindfulness and success today.
The Lost Youth Suraj Jeet Davohn