With her debut EP Highly Flammable, Nadia Rose executed a powerful statement of intent. The 25 year old Londoner had been making waves through 2017 with an intoxicating flow and biting lyricism; singles including ‘Skwod’ and ‘Breathe Slow’ indicating that she was only just getting started.
Even over the phone, Rose is deliberate and thoughtful with each word she speaks. A young artist with an enviable work ethic, Rose knows the path she is on and how she wants to tread it.
“When I was growing up, all the artists I was listening to, I really appreciated how raw and uncut they were.” she says. “This is what you were getting, and I could relate to that. I definitely want to continue to use that energy. I think there are a lot of people who are that way inclined. There might also be people who feel like they want to be more that way inclined, but they don’t have the confidence to. I want to be that voice who is like, ‘You know what? Say what you’ve got to say, do what you want to do and be.’”
November sees Rose bring the EP out to Australia for a tour that includes dates at Melbourne Music Week and Meredith Music Festival. She’s already introduced herself to Aussie audiences last year, but the rapper admits she’s stoked to be returning for another bite of the cherry.
“I can’t wait to come and show you what we’ve been working on. Since last year, there’s been a lot of improvements and it’s in a better place. It was great last year but it’s always good [to level up].”
Highly Flammable’s release certainly has positioned Nadia Rose as a name to watch. The BBC cottoned on quick, naming her on their ‘Sound of 2017’ shortlist, but Rose will also be the first one to tell you that she doesn’t let such nods pause her hustle.
“I feel like, just with anything, there are peaks and troughs.” she says. “There have been moments that have exceeded my expectations and there have been moments where I’ve thought, ‘I want to be doing more’, in a particular area. There’s been a bit of both in both recording and just normal life.”
Taking the end of this year, for example, though she’s got a long overdue holiday booked, Rose is seeking out creative opportunities to be thrown in the mix. The momentum just does not stop.
“I’m really about my business and about my work, so sometimes it’s quite hard for me.” she admits. “I might want a break but then there’s this opportunity or there’s this other thing I want to do. I have had a flight booked to Jamaica for quite awhile now, though! We’ll see what happens.
“For inspiration, I’ve always wanted to expand everything about my knowledge; I want to keep exploring different things. I will catch that break at some point soon.”
For now though, Nadia Rose is going to continue riding the wave of success Highly Flammable has built up. All eyes are on London for some of the most exciting new names in rap, R&B and grime at the minute. With the wins artists like Ella Mai, Octavian, Flohio, Skepta and of course, her cousin Stormzy, have been having across the board internationally, Nadia Rose is in great company pushing the genres forward.
As with her music, Rose keeps it open when it comes to the pressures that come with pushing herself to excel with each new release. The accolades are one thing, but evolution and striking while the iron is hot is crucial.
“There’s definitely been moments where I’ve had self doubt,” she says. “I’m my biggest critic. I always want to do better, and sometimes I [over] push myself. I feel like those moments are completely normal. The beauty is in how you deal with it.”
Nadia Rose plays at ACMI as part of Melbourne Music Week on Saturday November 24, and will take to Meredith Music Festival from December 7-9.
Written by Sosefina Fuamoli