Name, where are you from?
My name is Nayana, I go by Nayana IZ (I-Z) - as my name means eyes in Hindi. Born in London, made in India.
Describe your style in three words?
Pretty. Boy. Swag.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
When I was 15 I went to Tyler’s last gig in London at the roundhouse, brought my mum with me, she was in the mosh pit too. Was sick to experience that with her, she fucked with it too lol. That day I felt she finally understood why I was making the music I was making. Which was like a ton of bricks lifted off me, most of the things I do are for her.
If you could be on the line up with any two artists in history?
DOOM because he inspired my music from a young age in such a beautiful way, which made me break down any barriers I was giving myself in my music. He’s also my favourite rapper.
And Lil Ugly Mane. His project - 'Mista Thug Isolation' has songs that I’ve been listening to on repeat for a long long time. To hear those tracks played live (which I never have) and then to have the honour to play my music on that same stage, on that same day would be a blessing to me.
Which subcultures have influenced you?
Indian classical music - my country’s music is so beautiful. I feel as of late a large amount of the recent music I’ve heard from my country has got a heavy western influence, not all but a lot of it. I am making it my goal to learn the ways, scales and instruments of classical Indian music to bring back the original beautiful sounds our grandmothers and mothers would play to us as kids. It’s so important for me to carry this on, as I feel it really shaped who I am as a musician today. Embedded in this music is such powerful healing energies from its frequencies. I still have so much to understand, but learning about my countries music and the history of it is so fascinating to me. I’m determined to learn lots more about it and share with whoever’s fucking with me. Through my music.
If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
DOOM. this man is one of the main reasons I started rapping. I have so many questions to not only ask about his music and meanings of lyrics. But life advice as well. Been looking up to DOOM before this bandwagon started. Did my English GCSE speaking on him.
Of all the venues you’ve been to or played, which is your favourite?
It’s crazy I dropped out of school a little over a year ago having done no shows except the annual school concerts in the lunch hall with my band. Never would’ve thought I would have played so many venues by this point in time. I’d have to say my favourite was ‘Brainchild Festival’ - last summer. Was my first time playing a festival, was out there with my collective - NiNE8. Was so sick because it was the first time performing a solo song to a big crowd and when the track finished these fat flames started shooting out the side of the stage hahaha, will never forget that day.
Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
My grandma - She was the top female Tang Ta Dancer (Manipuri sword dancing) in the whole of North East India. She would sing and fight people with swords at the same time. Her voice was like gold. She was so humble and selfless, taught so many girls and boys in our village how to fight and sing. All for free - despite having very little money, she did this all out of her heart. Even though she’s not here today I still feel her guiding me. She was a true heroine to so many people. RIP Grandma.
Nayana IZ is a member of the London based arts and music collective NiNE8. Listen to Nayana's track 'Pusha' from NiNE8's debut mixtape 'No Smoke' or her feature on Mac Wetha's track 'Pls Stop' from his mixtape 'Mac Wetha & Freinds' below.