Meet Music Artist Nana M. Rose
Rotterdam-based songstress Nana M. Rose writes beautiful, touching Pop ballads and light, bittersweet Indie Folk. Nana’s delicate, poetic lyrics explore the meaning of human connection in an ultra-competitive, individualistic world. As a child, Nana started playing the violin, the classical influence of which is still reflected in her carefully crafted melodies and arrangements. In combination with later inspirations like Adele, Lianne la Havas, and Matt Corby, a unique Pop-sound steeped in melancholy and weltschmerz has been born.
Nana discovered her voice when she was 15 and has shared her incredible voice with audiences ever since. At18, she spent 4 months in London, exploring the local music scene and gaining live experience. Through various open mics, she discovered her ability to convey emotion to her audience. Back in Rotterdam, she went on to study Pop vocals and songwriting at the renowned Codarts Conservatory and was awarded SENA’s public award Grote Prijs van Rotterdam (Big Prize of Rotterdam) in 2016. Her first EP, “MEUS x MEA” (as “Nana”) followed in 2017.
Before the pandemic, Nana toured the UK, New York, and The Netherlands. More recently, she has performed at various venues all over the Netherlands as part of the 2021 Popronde artist selection.
Her 5-track EP, “Morning Drops & Lemon Seeds’,” produced by Louis Souyave (Salt Ashes, Maddox Jones), was released in June this year and received widespread attention from music press, including tastemakers like Earmilk, Rolling Stone IN, and 1883 Magazine. It’s focus track “4 AM” has just been announced the winner of this year’s “Rotterdam Track of the Year” award and the official music video was broadcast on the TV channel “Open Rotterdam” as part of their NYE celebrations 2021/2022.
Nana has received major support from radio presenter Kevin van Arnhem, playing live on his show, “Parels van de Nacht” (3FM), on multiple occasions. She also performed live on the renowned radio shows “3voor12 Radio” (3FM), “Het Muziekcafé” and Giel Beelen’s eponymous show (both Radio 2).
2022 promises to become another exciting year for Nana M. Rose, as she continues to write new material with various collaborators from the UK and the Netherlands for her first full-length release.
With her single, “Dream,” out now, we took some time to hear more from Nana M. Rose. Read below to learn more about Nana M. Rose, the story behind her single, and what’s to come.
Hi Nana M. Rose! Let’s start with how did you get your artist name?
Hello! My official name is Nana, and I wanted to to keep this name because the music is very personal, so I wanted the name to be true to me. Nana isn’t the most easy name to find though, and my last name is very Dutch and not easy to pronounce in English, so I wanted to come up with my own made up last name that feels true to me. Since my mother is very fond of roses and they have always been a big part of my life, I decided to call myself Nana M. Rose — standing for “Mother’s Rose,” as I am in a way my mother’s rose.
What city are you from and where are you based now?
I’m originally from a small city in the south of the Netherlands called Hertogenbosch. When I was nineteen, I moved to Rotterdam where I still live. For the coming four months, I’ll be residing in London though, to work on new music.
At what point in your life did you decide to pursue a career in music? How did you get started?
I first got into music when I was 6 years old and started taking violin lessons. The main reason I chose the violin was because an older girl who I thought was really cool played the violin. So, when my parents asked me what instrument I wanted to play, I just yelled, “VIOLIN!” And, it was settled. I had played it for years when I started messing around on the keyboard when I was fifteen and started to accompany my singing. I always sang, but I never took it seriously or thought my voice was good in any way. As a gift, my father decided to arrange singing lessons for me to give me more confidence in my voice. I think that, unconsciously, the lessons also boosted my confidence, in general. From then on, I kept meeting like-minded people who were involved in music or other creative fields, and I found that I could be more and more myself. I’ve never stopped singing since and pursuing a musical career was just a natural next step. It really was the best gift that I’ve ever received.
Has your upbringing played a role in shaping who you are and defining your sound today? If so, how?
I look back at my childhood with warm feelings — always playing outside, climbing trees with my brother and friends in the neighbourhood. Our family (parents, my brother, and me) have always been really close. My parents never learned how to play music, so they really encouraged my brother and me to make music from a young age. I’ve always felt really supported, and I think that’s why I feel very grounded in this world, which I’m very grateful for.
At home, we would listen to bands like The Dire Straits and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but also to the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, to classical music, to opera singers like Pavarotti, and to cabaret singers like Charles Aznavour or Jacques Brel. I think all these different influences are still within me today.
How would you describe your sound to readers who may not be familiar with you?
I would say it is a mixture of the stirring style of Adele and the ethereal sound of Lana del Rey.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? What do you do to stay creative?
My biggest relax-moment of the year is festivals. Some people get home exhausted, but for me, it’s so energizing. Festivals are just one big playground for me. When I get back home after 3 days of dancing, running around, discovering new places and new music, and have so many laughs with friends, I just feel more alive than ever.
Next to this, I love to go to museums to watch modern art. I also read poetry a lot because it really inspires my style of writing. My favourite poetry book, at the moment, is Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong. I also love Amsterdam poet Menno Wigman because he is so straightforward and real in his poetry. I love to read as well. My favourite books are The Secret History by Donna Tartt (it’s such a mystical world you dive into when you read it, full of ancient history and symbolism) and The End of Loneliness by Benedict Wells (it paints a picture of how loneliness can takeover someone’s life and can really creep into a person on deep, deep levels — beautifully written).
I also go hiking lots, and I love to try to go to places where there’s no cities, no big roads nearby, and I can really smell the fresh air and end the trip with a craft beer in a small inn somewhere in a small village.
Who are some of your main musical influences?
I think I’m mainly drawn to statuesque, powerful woman with big voices and a very distinctive style, like Adele, Celeste, Jorja Smith, Amy Winehouse, Angel Olsen, and Lana del Rey.
What are some of your future music career goals?
For now, I’m working hard on releasing a new record. The main goal would be to be able to make a full living out of making music, sell out my own shows, and by doing this, meeting new people and seeing new places.
Now onto your release, “Dream.” What inspired this song?
I was playing this ongoing chord progression on the piano, and although, it’s a very simple chord progression, it just really put me in a very emotional state of mind. This song emerged from that.
What is “Dream” about in your own words?
“Dream” is about how roles between parents and their children change once the parents grow older. My parents are getting older, and I see our roles changing — about how I’m now also helping them when they need me and how we grow into equal adults. My parents have also been the most dedicated parents that I could have wished for, and I love them so much, so this is kind of my love song to them.
What is your favorite lyric in “Dream” and why?
“All your love is saved behind my eyes,” because it portrays the core feeling of the song so spot on for me.
What message do you hope fans take away from your music and from “Dream?”
I hope this song can console people and make them feel in touch with the people they miss.
What’s one of your proudest moments of your music career so far?
Doing my first gigs on national Dutch radio were really big moments for me. It felt like taking my music career to the next level and getting the recognition that I’ve hoped for.
But, I also toured in the UK a few times and one time in New York. Although, I didn’t play the most massive venues at the time — I felt really really proud and lucky to have been able to organise those tours myself and being able to travel the world that way.
What would you say are the greatest lessons you’ve learned so far?
It seems very obvious and cheesy, but I feel like it’s very important and true: stay true to you. I’ve often had times (and still have them) in which I overthink my music and am looking at other artists music way too much. But, this is distracting myself from the music that I want to make, and it makes me very insecure. I felt the times that I was really doing what I wanted to do were the times that things started rolling most.
What’s next for you? Are you working on any upcoming projects that we should be on the lookout for?
I will be living in London for the next 4 months to work on a new record, so I hope to be able to share new music with you soon!
Where can we follow you on social media?