A soulful ballad called Ready exhorts you to give up. Have you ever wanted something or someone so badly that you couldn’t stop thinking about it, even though you had no idea how to get it? Now is the time to release control. Give up your desires, trust your instincts, pay attention, and let yourself be led. At least, that is how I have found it. You should be reminded by this song to follow this advice.
Dancer Caroline Mazenauer dances (backwards? ), and Nives moves around in a dress that was once someone’s wedding gown in this incredibly symbolic video. Check out the music video and the exclusive interview below:
1. Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how it all got started?
NIVES FARRIER: Well, my love relationship with music started with a 6-year old me in our living room dancing to Mozarts „Eine kleine Nachtmusik“ in an old dingy apartment in Vienna. My mother was a single parent and worked 3 jobs to keep us alive and I just wanted to dance, play the violin and sing. However, she neither could afford classes nor could she take me there, so I had to wait for more than a decade for my musical education. When I finished school and earned my own money, the first thing I did was is take singing, dancing and piano classes. I was so crazy about it, that I worked a job in sales so I can afford them and went to ballett point classes during our lunchbreak. The funny thing is, that all of my ancestors where musicians, but I didn’t meet most them in person, as we left Croatia, when I was very small. My mother on the other hand was an amazing dancer. I definitely inherited some talent, but I kind of had the feeling I had to catch up on knowledge and experience.
2. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
NIVES FARRIER: I actually work as a vocal coach now. But I only started out with classical singing lessons when I was around 20 and then switched to Popular music. My teachers still can hear the classical training. Once learned you never get it out completely.
3. Who were your first and strongest musical influences and why the name ‘NIVES FARRIER’?
NIVES FARRIER: Oh my god, I started singing because of Christina Aquilera. This amazing powerful voice and I still love dramatic powerful songs. Nives is my given name, but Farrier is kind of a translation of my real surname, which is Croatian and means something like „blacksmith“.
4. What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners, and how would you personally describe your sound?
NIVES FARRIER: It is super hard for me to describe my sound, because I only hear how it sounds when it is a finished song. Before that I just sing and express what is inside of me and go for decisions that feel good. I am working on details and in the end I am amazed what came out.
However, I love to tell stories with my music. Something people can relate to. I studies literature and I know how we can feel very alone with some situations sometimes. Listening to Music always helped me to feel understood. With „Ready“ it’s this feeling of giving yourself over to love, surrendering to some meaning thats bigger than you. You could take a higher power, if you like, but you could also just see a love relationship where you realize, that any kind of control would ruin the connection. Trust that what is coming is the best and only thing that can happen, and trust that it will be amazing.
5. For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style, which is known as POP?
Oh I definitely still am searching for my own style 😉 And I think I always will, because I get bored very easily. I prefer a thing I call „public learning“, where you give your „state of the art“ to the public and then you learn from what comes back- you learn something about yourself and who you want to be as an artist – you develop. I always loved so many musical styles and emulated different singers. I thought when I make my own music I will sound like this and that artist, but in the end, when I started to make music, I couldn’t sing like anyone but myself.
6. What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural, spiritual, and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative, and entertainment?
Good question! Oh yes, I think music can be anything from psychotherapy to political statement. In fact, I think as artists we do have a duty to be critical to mainstream culture and show other opportunities. But I think we do not need to express that in music. We could do it in interviews, social media etc. As a matter of fact, I was giving interviews during the lockdown for unvaccinated people in austria, criticizing governmental measures very openly. But with my music I want to make people feel good and empowered – which is also a political act in a way.
7. Do you feel that your music is giving you back just as much fulfillment as the amount of work you are putting into it or are you expecting something more, or different in the future?
Metaphorically holding the product of your work in hands is very fulfilling indeed. But the best part is the stuff you get and didn’t even expect. Especially when I get that amazing feedback from listeners. The best thing happened to me with my first song „Waves“. It was the hymn for a non-profit-initiative for refugees in a Hungarian town called Zahony. When the song was released they initiated a public viewing and the employees of the refugee camp cried together out of gratitude. I was then invited as a special guest by the major. So I do think I get a lot in return for the hard work. But thats also why I like to cooperate with people and companies, and also with other artists like dancer Caroline Mazenauer and videographer Emely Mair, who helped me make the video for Ready. So, I couldn’t be more grateful.
8. Could you describe your creative processes? How do usually start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song? Do you usually start with a tune, a beat, or a narrative in your head? And do you collaborate with others in this process?
I normally start with lyrics, thats where I come from but I try to switch it up from time to time to stay creative. My words always come with a melody. When I try to ignore them, they get stuck in my head. When I wake up with a phrase and melody that came to me the day before, I know it must be good. If it sticks with me, it will stick with anybody. Sometimes I don’t get them out of my head for days.
Another way that my lyrics come to me is by mishearing what other people say. I once heard a woman in the train say „I want to stay with your warm memory a little longer“ and I thought, wow thats deep, I will keep that for a song! She actually said: „I want to stay in the warm train a little longer“.
9. With social media having a heavy impact on our lives and the music business in general, how do you handle criticism, haters, and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
NIVES FARRIER: I have to say, my own answer to this question is really surprising me. I feel that the worst thing when you bring out a song is that nobody cares. And I think that social media can give you that feeling too. For me a „like“ or a „heart“ aren’t really doing the trick I – I kind of need some real feedback. So I’d rather have bad feedback than none. But I do realize too, that I am very sensitive, and negative feedback does drag me down. However, I know that the digital world is very forgiving. Most things are forgotten fast. That’s good and bad at the same time.
10. Creative work in a studio or home environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two options excites you most, and why?
NIVES FARRIER: Uh thats hard to say. I am very shy and detail oriented, so I appreciate working for a whole day on a piece of music, till everything fits. But when the song is released, I miss the direct feedback. This closeness to the audience is something that nothing in the world can replace. Especially when you are so used to your own work, that you don’t appreciate it so much anymore and then people come to you after an event and compliment you exactly on the things why you started working on that specific piece.
11. Do you think is it important for fans of your music to understand the real story and message driving each of your songs, or do you think everyone should be free to interpret your songs in their own personal way?
NIVES FARRIER: Oh I’d love everyone to have their own interpretation that suits them most. That’s the best thing about art and hypnosis: in best case it’s artfully vague and therefore fits everyone’s own life journey.
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Photo credits: Dimitris Tyropolis, Rea van der Liszt