JUICE Interview (Feb 2010 Issue)

My name was spelt wrong. Like always, I'm used to it. It's either a missing H for Nadhira or a missing A for Nishaa. I thank my mother for spelling my name that way! Love it :)

It was a good and fun session. You guys should really check out Lynda Chean's tattoo shop in ss15 Subang Jaya called PINK TATTOOS
She makes awesome jewellery and does some rad tattooing. Awesome stuff!


Here is the UNEDITED featured Interview.
What’s in a tattoo? For Lynda it’s everything and more. A design freak since she was a kid, Lynda owns Pink Tattoos which sits strategically above skate shop Wheel Love. JUICE could’ve easily paired the opinionated skin inkier with another from her field but the gods bestowed upon us another female individual of equal indie-cred – Nadhira who is silently brewing a storm in the local music scene. An ex-metal singer and overpowering vocalist who brings more to the table than just a fierce attitude. Born in the same year and under the same signs, JUICE kicks back and let them take over.

Nadhira Interviews Lynda

So what got you into tattooing?
I’ve always been fascinated with tattoos. Even when I was still underage, I’ve always liked art. I used to curi-curi go online to look at tattoos. After I got my first one, the passion never died. But of course life and college got in the way. I went to art college as well so I was still drawing. I graduated in graphic design and advertising but I did copywriting when I came out.

Sounds familiar... All these phases…
Really? I just did it but it wasn’t fulfilling. I was going to get tattooed with someone else and then at that point I was like, “I need to change. I need to something else.” And then this person was ready to teach and I was willing to learn.

So what age did you start?
I only started tattooing about 2 and half years ago. I took a fulltime apprenticeship and quit advertising. For anyone to start you must really know how to draw. You must at least have that base where you want to learn how to draw. It’s something that comes naturally and when I’m designing or drawing, I’m very happy.

Define what art means to you in 3 words?
Passion, life and vision. My life has always revolved around art. If I didn’t have the passion I wouldn’t be doing it today. I started at about age 3 or 4. But I formally started when I probably could pick up a pen or marker. Go look at my parents’ books and passports, they have doodles in them.

So do are parents supportive?
Yes. Actually at first when I did the switch I was like err...  My mum is easier to talk to. She was shocked but she was ok. But my dad was a bit… I was a bit scared to tell him but I eventually told him. And surprisingly he said I don’t agree with everything but I support you.

So why don’t you get into piercing as well?
When I was working in my old shop I used to assist a lot in piercing. But it’s just something that doesn’t interest me. I just feel like there is no finesse in piercing, it’s just flesh and impaling. Some people get the kick out of it. I just don’t get the satisfaction. I have nothing against piercing. My ex-boss told me to learn and pick it up cause it’s an easy way to earn money - a piercing normally cost RM150 and it’s very fast. But it’s just something I’m not into.

I love piercing. I used to be fully pierced. But I took it all off. I guess I just grew out of it. Is the tattoo business here more male dominated? And how do people perceive female tattoo artists?
I think generally the industry is and has been male dominated. To some, it may be kind of a novelty to be tattooed by a female artist while others may fantasize being tattooed by a bikini-clad tattoo artist (ala Kat Von D). I'm pretty fully clothed while working… Haha. The common perception when a female ventures into a male dominated industry is, "Can she really do it?" With tattooing though, your skill is something tangible immediately through your artwork and portfolio. So, I'm sure some doubt arises at first but once you show what you can do, everyone is on par. There are many well respected female artists around the globe.

Do you get more female clients because they feel closer to you or want a more feminine touch?
I would say I get a pretty equal amount of male and female clients. Most female clients definitely feel more comfortable with a female artist especially when working on more private areas of the skin. But I am, as clients have told me, more approachable and I suppose you can say that I add a feminine touch to tattoo designs when needed.

Lynda interviews Nadhira

How did you discover that you could sing?
I guess probably when I was like 4 or 5 and I kept on singing. People would think I was a crazy kid because I used to sing all the time. Growing up here, I liked Sheila Majid. It was just a natural thing and I developed it. I didn’t take classes. It took me years to find my real voice and to actually know what songs suit me. Real singing comes from your diaphragm and that’s your real voice. You have to recognise it so you don’t change it while singing.

I think that being able to sing it is an amazing gift. Well noise can come out of my vocal cords but it’s not a beautiful noise.
It’s funny because I used to have a metal band before this. My friends who knew me as a singer were like, “What the hell are you doing? Why are you up there singing hardcore music?” It was an Indonesian band, something like Cannibal Corpse. There’s a technique on how to growl and not screw up your voice.

So how many bands were you in before u became a solo singer?
I use to be called the band whore because I had so many bands. At one point, I had 4 bands. And this was all in Indonesia. I lived there for about 3 to 4 years. I grew up overseas and now I’m back here. It’s the longest time I’ve been in a country. When I came back I was in 3 bands. I join bands for different things. Like, I play the bass and guitar and all that. My most sacred instrument since I was a kid is the piano.

Why did you leave all your bands?
When something holds you back, you end up doing nothing. Everyone just went their separate ways eventually.

So how long have you sang on your own?
I’ve always been singing on my own regardless of what band I was in. But I’ve become more public lately with what I’m doing and my music. I use to hide it a lot.

Why did you hide it?
Maybe because I didn’t feel that it was time for me to show it off. It was always something on the side. I appear in magazines here and there but mostly off the radar.

So you have a new album coming up?
Yeah, I’m trying to plan it. I do hope it will happen soon enough.

That intrigues me. You said you wanted to keep it in private. How did you come about? Did you meet certain people or were you scouted or head-hunted?
I think when you make your own music, you have something to show. Some people heard me and then they wanted to produce something for me to sing on. I had different types of music thrown my way. Trying to choose what suits me was the hardest part.

That’s a good problem to have…
Sometimes it’s not cool because then it makes it seem like you don’t really know yourself.
Pop music nowadays seems to project female singers as sex icons. What do you think about this and how can we reverse the trend?The only way to reverse the trend is for new influential female singers to present themselves in a way that does not symbolise sex. You can always be a singer and sell your image through good music and just by being yourself instead of using sex as your selling point. Your USP should be your personality, not your boobs and a$$. Not that I’m saying that because I have no a$$. Ha ha!

Do you think it's wrong to be revealing? And how far is too far?
There are many levels and ways of being revealing. You can be revealing in a slutty, cute or classy way, and it all really depends on how people carry themselves. So I can’t really answer this question because what a person wears depends on where they are at that time and what the culture of that place is. How far is too far? I guess when you wear hot pants that show your butt cheek, tucked around your a$$ so tight until pubes and camel toe can be seen is too much. Or when someone’s top is 1cm close to showing their nipple. Or even when guys wear jeans so tight that you can see the shape of their crotch. Hey, I did answer your question!

Good enough! You've sung in many bands from different scenes. In your opinion which is the most female-phobic?
Hmm…..does female-phobic mean males being vulgar to you when you are on stage? If so, I would say the crusty punk scene in Jakarta. I still remember going up on stage and have bunch of boys shouting ‘Bugil! Bugil! Bugil! Bugil!’ It’s like they have never seen a girl before or they tease you just to irritate you because they don’t like seeing you up there. I’m sure most girls have experienced standing in a performing crowd with guys taking the opportunity to grab or even touch their boobs and a$$ just for a second to satisfy their… god knows what.
Would you ever sign up to a major label?
Not unless I have the freedom to express my own being. Or at least write my own lyrics!

Hit up Ira’s tunes at MySpace

Anyhow, my song is #8 on FLY FM Campur Chart. Hope it lasts...otherwise Aur Voir!!! 

Peace and Love, Nadhira

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