From Tattoos to Tunes: The Evolution of Nari

Last November I had the pleasure of meeting Nari, a Kentucky-based Indie-rock artist with a friendly personality and a heart of gold. Her angelic voice and whimsy aesthetic were something I haven’t forgotten since our encounter at her music video shoot. With her recent single release “Dan”, I wanted to catch up and learn more about Nari as an artist. 

Nari tells me that she’s still pretty new to music, only entering the scene about a year ago. Initially, she never saw herself as a musician. She grew up doing competitive dance, but injured her right knee twice which resulted in her having to stop. As dance was extremely important to her, having to quit made her feel lost. Through this period, Nari tells me she began to get into music, as the rhythmic nature of it aligns similarly with dance. Additionally, for a career path Nari saw herself as a tattoo artist, wanting to get an apprenticeship. Through tattooing, Nari got the opportunity to meet a wide variety of musicians such as Hot Flash Heat Wave and Okey Dokey. 

With the combination of tattooing musicians, a nasty breakup with her ex-boyfriend, and moving to Kentucky, she decided to officially pursue music, and tells me that “If I hadn’t moved to Kentucky, I wouldn’t have done music”. When she first moved, Nari noticed a lack of an active music scene in her area, so she felt that making music could bring a piece of home with her. She also jokingly tells me that she had told her ex “I’m going to write a song about you and it’s gonna slap”, which helped prompt her early songs.  

At her start she tells me that her musical style was more lofi R&B, posting earlier releases on Souncloud. Over time however, Nari tells me that she’s been pushing herself to be uncomfortable and try new things, and she began the switch to more of a folk-style at the end of 2019. 

The folk element reminds me of her residence in Kentucky–I briefly ask about the music scene there. “The Kentucky music scene is very tight-knight, and it was initially weird as an outsider”. She mentions that most of the music is very blues-like. 

As well as the music around her, I ask Nari what other things inspire her work. Almost immediately, she tells me her friend, Julia. Nari wrote an entire song dedicated to her, and I was able to witness the music video shoot in which they reunited, so this answer did not come to me as a surprise. Additionally though, she mentions her boyfriend, Dan; he’s a musician as well. She tells me with Dan around “there’s always music playing in the house”. She mentions the band Okey Dokey, as they’ve inspired her since High School and they were one of her first collaborations. Nari notes that they really helped her jump more into music, and mentions “it only takes one person to believe in you”.

Those words really stuck to me–she’s so right. 

Each musician is so unique in how they observe the world around them and create with these experiences, so I ask Nari what her creative process is like. 

First and foremost, visuals are important for her. She tells me that she has synesthesia, where hearing certain sounds invokes specific colors in the mind. She uses her observation of colors to determine the sound of a song. She then focuses on the instrumental, laying down a loop, adding guitar, and lastly, the lyrics. For writing, Nari tells me that she journals in a “free-spit” style. She also mentions that she writes from other’s point of view, explaining that in the single “Dan”, she focused on her boyfriend’s point of view in the relationship. Many musicians tend to focus on their perspective through events, so I found this to be a very interesting take on things.  

I ask about her favorite single so far; Nari tells me it’s “Dan”, because it was the first song made with her bandmates as well as the use of live music. 

Her dream collaborations are Julia Jacklin and Faye Webster. 

From meeting her initially in November 2019, Nari is a very passionate, bubbly person. She tells me that she is “introverted but open, and pretty transparent”. 

As a closing note, I ask her if she has any advice for individuals getting a start in music. “Follow your dreams, push yourself, and make yourself uncomfortable”. 

Nari’s music is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music, and she posts regularly on Instagram! She will be releasing a new single in September.

Interview Conducted & Written By: Alexa Terry