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Nadia Ali Set to Open PHX's Monarch Theatre

Published: Friday, May 25, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 16:05

Nadia Ali

Courtesy of Halsey Management

If Nadia Ali sounds familiar to you, that’s because she probably is. The Pakistani-American singer-songwriter from Queens, New York, is perhaps one of the most recognizable vocalists in electronic music today.

Her career took off in 2001 when she formed half of dance music duo, Iio. The release of their single “Rapture” thrust them into the spotlight and to the top of the UK dance charts, but Iio’s success with “Rapture” would also propel Ali’s career into a whole new direction. 
Her lush and entrancing vocals put her in high demand by DJs, including Sultan & Ned Shepard, Serge Devant and Starkillers. Collaboration after collaboration, Ali took the electronic music world by storm. 
Despite her years in the industry and her massive international following, 2010 was the first time Ali received any recognition for her work when Morgan Page’s remix of her song “Fantasy” was nominated for a Grammy under the Best Re-mixed Recording. That was only the beginning for Ali.

At the start of 2011, Ali launched her aptly fitting Queen of Clubs tour and the electronic music dame has been hard at work on a new album. This Saturday night, she’ll perform for the grand opening night of Phoenix’s newest electronic music hub, Monarch Theatre.

College Times chatted with Ali via e-mail, and she brought us up to speed on her path to EDM success as a singer-songwriter and her upcoming album. 

College Times: The last couple years seem to have been a whirlwind with you being on tour and working on your own music. Do you feel like you are finally getting recognition for your solo work?
Nadia Ali: Absolutely. I feel like I'm in a unique position with the amount of support that I have from a diverse group of DJs in all different sub-genres, from trance to house. I'm blessed to get a lot of respect and support from them all.  

You don't meet a lot of singer-songwriters that go down the electronic path. How did you end up going in that direction?
It was a fluke, to be honest. I was a club kid, and I loved listening to dance music since I was a teenager. I was working with my producer on more hip-hop driven beats, but I asked him to try a dance song for fun. We recorded one, and it turned out to be a huge hit. That song was "Rapture."

Tell us a little bit about what it’s like being a female singer-songwriter in the EDM scene and not an actual DJ.
It's a double-edged sword. On one hand, I stand out because I'm a female singer-songwriter. On the other hand, I am also treated as competition.

How is life on the road for you?  
I basically live out of a suitcase 10 months out of the year. Life on the road is always crazy and hectic, but it's so worth it. I have amazing fans and I absolutely love performing for them.

Are you currently working on an album? What can you tell us about it?
I am! I'm currently in the studio working on my next artist album called Phoenix. It's going to be a dance album, but not in the traditional sense. I'm working with very talented producers that are adding such a dynamic twist to the tracks. I can't wait for my fans to hear it.

Do you plan to continue with your collaborations? Who would be your dream collaboration?
Yes, collaborations are always fun and exciting. It's great to get to work with other amazing artists in this industry. My dream collaboration would have to be with Bono. I have loved his voice ever since I was a child and he's been a huge influence in my musical career.

You are very gifted vocally. Have you ever thought about going in a different direction, musically, or doing something not so electronic influenced?
Are you a mind reader? I actually had a meeting with my manager and agents today to talk about my future direction. I'm looking at incorporating some live instrumentation into my follow up album to Phoenix and experimenting with some more traditional indie sounds. I'm excited!

Nadia Ali, Monarch Theatre, 122 E. Washington Street, Phoenix, Saturday, May 26, 9 p.m., $10-$20

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