The first time I saw Nisa Addina perform live was when we both shared the same stage at Comic Fiesta 2014. She was performing with her band Pretzel Heart and I was doing a solo acoustic guitar set of Final Fantasy, Studio Ghibli and Chrono Trigger music. Later on, we again shared the stage at No Black Tie for her performance with the band Flourescent Collective. Although we’ve been on the same stage, we have never performed together, yet! It’s been interesting seeing Nisa’s work especially since she embarked on her journey studying at Berklee College of Music. Let’s learn more about her:
Born on the 27th of October 1996, Nisa Addina is a contemporary violinist hailing from Malaysia. Having been born and raised in the city of Kuching from the state of Sarawak, Nisa represents East Malaysia and its culture through her music, having played various differing styles to a broad audience in various parts of Malaysia and the world. From wowing a small crowd at private functions to impressing audiences in sizable auditoriums, Nisa brings about a flavour or musical taste that is both intriguing and unique.
Nisa Addina emerged as the Junior Grand Champion in the instrumentalist category at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, California in 2011. She has also played with the Permata Seni Music (PSM) ensemble of Istana Budaya from 2010-2011 under the tutelage of principal conductor Mr Mustafa Fuzer Nawi. While studying in Berklee, the young violinist has performed and recorded for many compositions and arrangements and has gained experience from recording techniques to jazz vocabulary.
Some of her other achievements and milestones include, but are not limited to:
- Represented Permata Seni Muzik during the launching of the Permata Ekspo at KLCC in December 2011
- Youngest representative of Malaysia to the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), 4th Marketplace of Creative Arts (MOCAFEST) in Bandung, 2012
Youngest representative of Malaysia to the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), 5th Marketplace of Creative Arts (MOCAFEST) in Johor, 2012
Some of her notable performances include, but not limited to:
- Fluoroscent Collective in the Borneo Jazz Festival 2017, Malaysia, May 2017.
- Performed the Sarawak Sukma theme during the launch and closing in Sarawak, 2016
- Sound of Music 2.0 Charity concert featuring South Norfolk Youth Band and 2nd Runner up of Korea’s Got Talent, Sung Bong Choi, 2016
- Performed in the Jacob Collier Project Orchestra with Jacob Collier (Youtube) at Kresge
Auditorium in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Dec 2016
- Johor International Music Festival 2012
- Launching of Asean International Film Festival Awards (AIFFA) 2013
- Global Women Summit 2013 dinner at Istana Negara
- Launching of Malaysia’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, 2013
- Global Women Summit 2014 in Paris, France
- Nisa has released a debut EP “Yakina” produced by Syafiee Obe and an album dedicated to the Malaysian music icon, Tan Sri P Ramlee produced by Azlan Abu Hassan & top Malaysian Berklee Alumni Helen Yap, Aubrey Suwito & Jenny Chin.
Playing the violin as her primary instrument, Nisa holds an Associate Performer Diploma in Violin from ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand Cultural Arts Limited), as well as an Associate Diploma in Violin Performance from IMEB (International Music Examinations Board).
Prior to holding these qualifications, Nisa received tutelage from Mr Marcus Leong, her first violin teacher from 2003-2013. She also complemented her violin education with masterclasses from Ms Lynnette Seah of Singapore, and the late violin maestro Mr Idris Sardi of Jakarta.
Nisa was a student at International College of Music (ICOM) under the Berklee Transfer Program in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is currently studying jazz and doing a double major in Performance and Contemporary Writing & Production (CWP) in Berklee College of Music, Boston, USA.
1. What’s your latest project?
I did a P.Ramlee tribute album with producers Helen Yap, Aubrey Suwito, Azlan Abu Hassan, & Jenny Chin.
My latest project was Iced Gem Biscuits. It is on Spotify via alias Lyrit Embrium. This song was a final project for my Electronic Production class in Berklee. We were required to upload our final projects on Spotify. P.S. during the bridge I included the Datun Julud motive (traditional sape tune) as a shoutout to my homies in Sarawak!
2. What inspires your music?
The musicians around me inspire my music. Seeing my hardworking friends out there motivates me to do the same. But more importantly, most of the time my music is heavily influenced by my feelings toward a certain situation I’m going through, or at least try to relate as much as possible to my music so I could give it the feel it needs.
3. What are your 5 Desert Island Albums?
My 5 Desert Island Albums are:
Discovery by Daft Punk
Snö by Snail’s House
Wallflower by Jordan Rakei
Cosmic Messenger by Jean-Luc Ponty
Voyager by Moonchild
4. Who’s one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don’t know of?
I’ve been telling my friends about An Endless Sporadic, they’re a progressive metal band. One of their songs is a bonus track in Guitar Hero 3 called Impulse. They had Jordan Rudess featured in they’re latest album Magic Machine.
5. What’s an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts?
I wish someone told me that music has no boundaries when I just started out. I was really anxious about my music because of all the rules out there. I realized later that there isn’t really a right or wrong, it’s more towards if it works better or not.
6.As a a violinist, what has been your biggest challenge in your work? How did you overcome it?
As a violinist, it was hard to relate to other common band members like the typical rhythm section. I struggle with being a bandleader most of the time. When I first started out performing with a band, I didn’t know other violinist to look up to who did the same thing. After playing with so many people, I tried to observe how they would handle a group of people and manage them properly. Another challenge is blending the violin tone with a band. I had a lot of trouble getting the right tone, especially when the violin is plugged in, the natural acoustic tone is sacrificed to a certain degree. I tried a few pick ups, had to splurge and found that the DPA was best for the natural acoustic sound, but I also kept my Schatten bridge pickup on because the DPA isn’t suitable outdoors. I also realized how important it was to have my own DI and effects pedals, like how guitarists handle their gigs too.
7. How do we reach you?
Other Website(s): https://soundcloud.com/lyritembrium
Read the recent [Creative Fridays] interview:
[Creative Fridays] #14 : Taylor Roberts
7-String Solo Guitarist
[Creative Fridays] #16: Scott Murphy
Saxophonist and Composer
[Creative Fridays] #18: Jake Shimabukuro
Coming up August 3 2018
[About Creative Fridays]
The original Creative Fridays was an interview series I did back in 2012. Published on my website, www.azsamad.com, it explored the musical influences of various musicians from all over the world. Relaunching this now in 2018, there are some cool add-ons. For a super obvious one, we’ve now added Spotify and YouTube links whenever possible for the Desert Island Albums list.
This to me is amazing because you can actually immediately listen to the recommended albums. Coming from a generation that used to make trips to the record store to check out new music, it still boggles my mind that we can immediately listen to the records that is recommended here. Imagine if you listened to the 5 suggested albums – how much could you learn from it?
Also, in addition to the original questions from the series, I’ve added a new question into the mix asking about the biggest challenge each individual has faced in their work. I’ve found that we all can benefit by learning from one another. Let’s share and grow together!
If you know a musician who you think could be a good fit to be featured in Creative Fridays, please contact me with your ideas. The focus is in diversity for music, cultural background, geography, age and experience. It doesn’t matter where you are around the world, if you’re a creative making interesting music on an interesting journey and have something to share, please reach out to me. Please do note, due to this being a weekly series, the interview may be featured later in the year depending scheduling.
Thank you! 🙂
[The Original Series]
Season 1: Every week for 13 weeks, published from Feb 2012 to April 2012.
[Creative Fridays] #1 : Kevin Broken Scar
(Melbourne Singer-Songwriter/Sound Engineer)
[Creative Fridays] #2 : Deborah Crooks
(SF Bay Area Singer-Songwriter)
[Creative Fridays] #3 : Dylan Kay
(UK/Auckland Jazz Guitarist)
[Creative Fridays] #4 : Azmyl Yunor
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/College Lecturer)
[Creative Fridays] #6 : TragiComedy
[Creative Fridays] #7 : Candelaria
(Oakland Cumbia-Dub Band)
[Creative Fridays] #8 : Pete Teo
[Creative Fridays] #9 : Lori McKinney
(West Virginia Bandleader/Festival Organizer)
[Creative Fridays] #10: Helen Sherrah-Davies
(UK/Boston Violinist-Composer & Berklee faculty)
[Creative Fridays] #11: Adam Everett
(SF Bay Area Drummer-Composer)
[Creative Fridays] #12: Julian Chan
(Malaysian Jazz Saxophonist)
[Creative Fridays] #13: Sharon Chong
(Malaysian Keyboardist and Vocalist]
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