Nabiha Bensouda has topped the charts in Europe and performed for the Queen of Denmark, but she never meant to become a singer. “I got into band in school and I started playing drums and completely sucked. The music teacher was like, ‘OK, play keys.’ And that was even worse. So then he was like, ‘Try singing.’ I did, and he was like, ‘Do more of that!’”
Since then, the Danish-born performer has kept crooning (going by just her first name), pairing her knockout pipes with a combination of pop, urban, and electronic music. She has her parents—whose eclectic music tastes meant that everything from reggae to R&B was played on the radio while growing up in Copenhagen—to thank for sonic mélange. “I try not to make barriers for myself, I try not to put my music in boxes,” says Nabiha. “I will mix it up and give it my own thumbprint. It’s always very playful, and I hope that you can hear that—we tend to have a lot of fun in the studio!”
That translates onstage, as well; although she collaborates with a handful of different producers and songwriters, when it comes to playing live, it’s all Nabiha. “I just love being onstage—I guess people can expect a lot of energy from me and from the band. I will be looking at the audience, I will be trying to tell my story, but it will also be fun and good energy—that’s what it’s about,” she says.
Listeners stateside will finally get their chance to do just that, when Nabiha makes her US live debut in New York and Los Angeles next week. Then it’s back to the studio, where she’ll be working on the follow-up to her inaugural release, Cracks. “I think I always knew that I wanted to do something creative,” she explains. “I was dancing when I was little, I was drawing a lot, but for some reason, singing just came to me. It was really natural to me. I just feel the most joy when singing and songwriting.”