Touted as ‘the one to watch’ and ‘the up-and-coming breakout star’ by PopDust, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Emirates Woman and Cosmopolitan Middle East, music sensation Nouri’s extraordinary story is one of empowerment and inspiration, emerging from her challenging experiences to blossoming into a global music star. Yogalife talks to her about her journey that she attributes to positive thinking.
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” (Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist).
This is one of my favorite quotes from ‘The Alchemist’ and something I live by. I was born in a Syrian refugee camp to Kurdish parents who fled civil war following the bombing of their home. So, right from the time I was born, I’ve had to defy the odds. My family were granted refugee status in New Zealand when I was 3 and from that age, I spent almost every day plastered to the television watching music videos by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera and trying to mimic their singing voices and dance moves.
So, you could say I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to be an international recording artist. It was just a matter of when I was going to make it happen. By that I mean, when I was finally going to drop everything and leave the life, I knew behind in New Zealand to make my dream a reality. That time came in 2016 when I sent a cover of Rihanna’s ‘Close To You’ to Grammy-Award winning producer, Brian Kennedy (who produced the track) on Instagram. Brian told me that If I was serious about singing, I needed to come to LA, which is exactly what I did.
After saving up some money I landed in LA with only my suitcase and my dreams. I didn’t have any family or friends in LA when I first got here. I connected with multiple people in the industry through Instagram and networking at events. I believe in the law of attraction and that positive thoughts bring positive experiences into someone’s life. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was asked to lend my vocals for a song which was to be used in the Paramount Pictures film, ‘Daddy’s Home 2’. Next thing, I was performing the US National Anthem for an NBA game at the Staples Center. The funny thing is that I stayed across the road from the Staples Center when I was 17 and told myself “I’m going to perform there one day”, and I’ve performed the US National Anthem twice there since.
Not only was I meeting all the right people and getting opportunities I could only dream of, when my debut single ‘Where Do We Go From Here’ dropped, it earned chart success in New Zealand and on Anghami, which is the largest streaming service in the Middle East. Even though I didn’t have a budget for the music video, I had this vision for it and was going to make sure I executed it. I ended up finding the male lead for the video on a modelling website and contacted him through Instagram. It turned out that he had the exact car I dreamed of for the video. Everything literally just fell into place.
That doesn’t mean things always go my way, but I do not let the bad stuff affect me. The day before we were meant to shoot the music video, the director called to say he couldn’t do it. I told my team that I was going to shoot the music video regardless and asked my photographer friends if they could come along and help me shoot it, and we got it done. It’s your response to negative events that determines the outcome. Plus, I’m not worried about setbacks because everything happens for a reason and I know God has big things in store for me. Every time I do come across a roadblock though or things don’t go according to plan, I always say “don’t worry, this is all part of the Grammy speech”.