Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Sydney’s NORA. Together we discussed their relationship with music, Sydney, traveling, their newest single “Nicotine”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you doing?
Great thanks! Stoked to be chatting to my favourite condiment.
2. Mustard wonders what your relationship with Music was growing up?
Music has always been a massive part of my life. I’ve loved singing as long as I can remember, always in the school choir and eventually convinced my parents to let me have singing lessons at about age 10. Probably slightly different to most pop singers, my first professional singing experience was as part of the Children’s Chorus in Opera Australia’s La Boheme, after my first singing teacher told me to go along to an audition and see how I went. Being on stage at the Opera House really made me realise I wanted a singer and I’ve never turned back. I was also super lucky as a kid, I went to so many concerts from a young age with my dad, Kylie Minogue, Bon Jovi, Coldplay and Simply Red were some of my first.
3. You’re from Sydney, Australia. For those who have not been how would you describe Sydney? What are some of your favorite things to do?
I know there’s always a bit of beef between Sydney and Melbourne as to which is the better city, and while I do really like Melbourne, I personally love Sydney. Sydney just has so much variety, we’ve got the beaches, personal favourites include North Curl Curl and Bronte. Yes lots of people will tell you Sydney’s nightlife could be better, but we do an afternoon/Sunday Session really well with our beautiful rooftop bars and beer gardens. Finally Sydney has a really great and supportive gigging scene, particularly in the Inner West, there is always something on for all tastes any night of the week whenever you feel like a spot of live music.
4. Is there a song or album that had a significant impact on you?
God narrowing that down to one song/album is a hard task. Music is so integral to my life and I feel like there are so many songs that have really heavily influenced me over time. To name a few I would say, ABBA’s greatest hits was my first CD at age 5 or so and I would spend hours singing and dancing around the living room to it on repeat, I think a lot of my love for music was born from that experience. Another really important artist in my musical life has been Taylor Swift and I think her ‘Red – Taylor’s Version’ album came out in what was a pretty tough time for me and I think how vulnerable and honest her lyrics are has always really spoken to me and is something I aspire to in my music.
5. Who (or what) influences you?
I listen really really broadly and draw influence from a lot of very different styles and genres from Techno to Folk, i think all styles can offer inspiration. More specifically, as I just mentioned Taylor Swift is definitely a big one, her relatable lyricism is really something I aspire to as well as her versatility, there’s a reason she’s so successful. Other pop powerhouses like Carly Rae Jepson and Dua Lipa are also really core to my inspiration but there are so many artists I love Chloe Moriondo, MUNA, Ethel Caine, Sigrid and Mallrat to name a few. My lyrics are generally influenced by real life experiences and moments which I turn into stories, I want to create songs that are honest and relatable while also being catchy and fun.
6. What is your songwriting process?
I don’t really feel like I stick to one specific song writing process as such, but I think my most successful writing comes from a moment of inspiration when I’ll come up with an initial idea a hook or lyric idea. When this happens, I’ll immediately record it (thank you voice memos) or write it down and when I next get the opportunity sit down at my piano and expand that idea to create a chorus and then a whole song. I generally write alone but will then take my song to one of the amazing producers I work with to make a song out of what I’ve come up with as a collaborative process.
7. You have a performance degree. Which type of performance do you specialize in?
I actually specialised in Classical Voice for my degree, I thought my dream was to be an Opera Singer for a long time. I had always loved singing pop as well but just didn’t think I’d make a career out of it. In lockdown thought I decided to try writing my own songs and fell in love with the creative process.
8. During lockdown you began posting cover videos. How did this help you during lockdown? Do you have a favorite cover you did during that time?
I tried to do anything I could to keep myself motivated during lockdown and posting covers was definitely a big part of that. Potentially my cover of ’She will be loved’ by Maroon 5, I think it’s just such a beautiful song and something that always makes me feel better singing it.
9. It looks before and after lockdown you are a big traveler. Do you have a favorite destination? How does your travels help with your music? What is some travel etiquette you recommend everyone use?
Yes, I love travel! Last year I did over 4 months around Europe and a little bit of Africa and Asia, an incredible experience that I am so grateful to have had. I found that last year I was able to find so much writing inspiration from the amazing places I saw and people I met. Not only this though, I found that particularly after 2 years of minimal life experience in Lockdown, it really reinvigorated my passion for what I did and I returned home really ready to work hard and make some music. I think my favourite destination from my most recent travels would have to have been Turkey. The country is so beautiful and varied, the food was incredible and the culture so different to anything else I had experienced. 10/10 would recommend. My travel etiquette tips include do not play tiktok videos out loud in your hostel room at 3am, no body likes that person and try to learn a bit of the language of anywhere you visit, even if its just enough to say hello, please, thank you and sorry do you speak English? People really appreciate the effort and are much more likely to be friendly if they can tell you’re making an effort.
10. 2021 saw the release of your debut single “Don’t Make Me Found.” What was the inspiration behind this single?
Don’t Make Me Found, was inspired by the moment where you realise someone could be more than a friend, and that maybe they feel that way too. I wanted to depict that moment as this euphoric feeling that you get lost in and everything else doesn’t matter for that moment.
11. Mustard wonders why did you did not want to be found during this time? Are you okay with being found now?
Hahahah I’ve had lots of questions about what the song title actually means but quite phrased like this. I don’t mind being found right at this moment, but allowing yourself to get lost in a moment can be pretty magical, and I’m sure I won’t want to be found again.
12. You recently followed up “Don’t Make Me Found” with “Nicotine.” Is the subject of this song the same human from your debut single? Could you share more about your newest single?
I have been waiting for someone to ask this and I will chose not to comment x The song is about still being in love with someone after a break up and watching them move on. Having had someone there for so long, we can become reliant on them or addicted to them and it’s hard to just suddenly no longer have them there, potentially pointing to things that were toxic in the relationship to begin with.
13. Have any tobacco companies reached out to you after the release of “Nicotine?”
Hahahaha they have not, maybe one day
14. A human gets the chance to see you perform. How would you describe one of your shows?
If I had to describe my shows in one words it would be fun! They are full of opportunities to get up and dance along or maybe shed a tear or two to the occasional sad song. I work with an absolutely incredible band and they really bring my songs to life, we give you heart felt indie pop, club bangers and everything in between.
15. What is next for NORA?
This year I’m hoping to get a fair few gigs under my belt and release another single or two, maybe an EP in the not too distant future, we’ll see. No set dates for releases yet but I’ve got quite the catalogue forming and I’m keen to keep sharing it with the world.
16. Where can readers listen to your music?
Nicotine and Don’t Make Me Found are out on all streaming services now, spotify, apple music, amazon, you name it its there! If you’re keen to see my live check out my instagram @___noramusic for updates on all upcoming gigs 🙂
Thanks so much guys!!! Really appreciate the opportunity 🙂