UK Rapper Nolay Returns With Her New EP 'Kalas'
She talks to us about her upcoming EP, her dream collaboration and what she really thinks about the UK music scene.
UK rapper Nolay returns with her new EP 'Kalas', after breaking out with Unorthodox back in 2005. Since then, she has released a number of singles and opened for legendary rap group Mobb Deep.
We talk about her upcoming EP, her dream collaboration and her thoughts on the UK music scene.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us! Could you please let us know what your year has been like?
No problem Fizzy! So great to catch up with you guys. My year has been really productive considering all of the crazy changes we are going through in the world right now. I have been behind the scenes working hard and gearing up for some pretty big announcements.
What advice can you give to someone entering the music business for the first time? Having been in the music business for a while, what would you advise them?
I would advise anybody entering the music industry for the first time to concentrate on their own lane and to be consistent. As artists and those of us within different creative fields in general we can get lost in what’s happening around us and this leads to comparisons and leads us to counting other people’s blessings before we count our own. Losers concentrate on winners and winners concentrate on winning. So please concentrate on your own lane and figure out where you want to be and keep your energy and focus directed at your goals. Discipline and focus are practices that become second nature once implemented routinely and consistency is about executing and delivering. In order to deliver you have to push yourself and only yourself because, in the end, you’re the only one that’s going to make it happen. In my teens, I wish someone had told me that.
At what point did you realize that music was the right path for you?
I knew I wanted to do music ever since I was a little girl, to be honest. Music was always something that made me feel better and creativity runs in my veins. My father had tons of trophies that he won in dance-offs and my father was also a self-taught piano and guitar player. Music has been around me for a long time and kind of comes naturally to me. I always knew I couldn’t live a life without music.
Your dream collaboration would be with which artist?
My dream collab would be with Kanye West because I just believe I could learn a lot from him during the process and collaboration. I feel like I would take more than a song away with me lol I feel like I’d take away some real gems because I believe Kanye is a genius and that he’s one of the most valuable creators of our time.
How do you feel about the UK scene? What do you like and dislike?
Um lol, I love that there’s so much talent here and I love that the UK is forging a position and making history. But at the same time it’s very touch and go for me I find the UK scene a bit hit and miss, to be honest. Sometimes I love it and sometimes I can’t stand it. They are very opinionated in the UK more so in regards to women and the censorship of women and judgemental on how women express themselves and although it is like this in other countries I can only speak from my own experiences but there’s definitely an undertone of misogyny here and a crabs in the bucket type vibe within the UK scene. Not so much in other countries that I’ve toured/worked in.
Your latest EP is titled 'Kalas.' Why did you choose that title?
Tbh I named my EP Kalas because at the time it just seemed relevant to me and within my culture. It’s a word that is used regularly by family and friends around me and we usually use it in a more of an adapted slang term like
Kalas: enough, Done, shut up, stop it, Dead, Kill, Finished, Over (slang)
“Khalas " in a formal Arabic means "run out"
It’s really just me saying enough of this crap, done the nonsense, you’re finished, over!
That’s what Khalas means to me. I also spelt it without the h on purpose so some may assume I meant party which is what Kalas means in Swedish.
When you write and create music, how do you keep inspired?
When I write my music I draw inspiration from life and living. I don’t like to force my writing either. Some ppl force writing sometimes and even I’ve done it and I’ve learnt that when the vibe comes to you that you gotta take that vibe and run with it. Live in that moment and become that moment. You will never get better songs than the ones that come to mind or to you while you’re living it’s that by accident song that takes you out of your comfort zone and your box. If you don’t have anything to write about it’s because you’re not living. Enjoy your life go and live and experience things the more we experience the more pictures we can paint with our lyrics.
Is acting something we will see you do more of after your role in the Top Boy series?
Oh, I was only in the Channel 4 series of Top Boy for 5 minutes lol I wouldn’t call myself Oscar-worthy just yet lol. But I also won’t say that you won’t be seeing me on your big screens again soon. Wish I could elaborate but there’s only so little I can say without saying too much. Shhh.
Tell us what your five favourite songs of all time are and why you like them so much?
1. Poundz by Brent Faiyaz this song reminds me of LA anytime I hear it I just wanna be on the freeway cruising with the wind in my hair.
2. Runaway by Kanye West because I love the piano in this but I mainly like to hear a man own their mistakes when they fuck up haha.
3. Dreams by Fleetwood Mac it was released 1977 my grandparents used to play it was a brilliant memory until TikTok ruined it lol.
4. Get You The Moon by Kina feat Snow I remember playing this song while on a boat ride in France during my European tour with a mud mask on while drinking a very expensive bottle of Domaine Leflaive Montrachet Grand Cru. Every time I hear that song I can taste that wine and remember the Sun and smell of French food.
5. Snake by Lil Keed I just love this song because it makes me feel sexy I love to dance around to it while doing my best version of a belly dancer which looks nothing like belly dancing may I add lol.
Do you listen to any artists at the moment?
At the moment I’m listening to so many artists I’m talking loads! But the first that spring to mind is Brent Faiyaz, On & On, Tidus, Her and J Cole I’ll remember more once this is published and be like oh sh*t I forgot so and so.
When it comes to your personal style, what inspires you?
I’m just inspired by life and feeling. Whatever vibe I feel is how I write and it’s usually the beats I’m listening to that evoke what’s relevant in me at the time and I try to convey that relevance into the song I’m writing. If my feelings change during the formulation of a song I step away from the song and go back when the vibe is right. Sometimes I’ll write a song in 15-20 minutes sometimes I’ll be writing one for hours. It’s all about life and feeling.
What is your go-to sneaker choice?
I love Adidas Nizza platforms but they’re boring with the colours tbh I’ve only seen the plain white ones and the black & white ones seem which I have already and have re-bought several times. I just wish they would make more colours lol so because of that I’ll have to go with the Airforce 1.
What can we expect from you in the next few months? Are we going to see more releases or live shows?
The next few months are going to be amazing. I’ve signed NDA’s for a few of the things coming up so I cannot announce these events prematurely but just stay glued to my insta @NolayOfficial or my Twitter @OfficialNolay and you really won’t miss the announcements the wait is almost over. I can say that I just signed a distribution deal in the USA and I can confirm that yes I will be touring again very soon and my brand new body of work/project drops in September this will be accompanied by some badass visuals. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about the next couple of months.