Sun | May 31, 2020

I am not a dancehall artiste – Nordia Mothersille - But she stirs up a lot of talk like any female deejay would

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2020 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer

This singer says she is not here to make any trouble, but already, Nordia Mothersille is stirring up a lot of talk as the first female to be signed officially to NotNice Records. Discovered by the record label’s owner, Ainsley ‘NotNice’ Morris, through a competition held on social media, Nordia’s backstory to becoming the lead female is not what anyone would expect.

“I came last in the competition,” she said shamelessly, “but he saw potential in me.”

Nordia said that one spark NotNice appreciated has switched on to the bright light that people see.

“He recognised something was there that he could work on and make it into what you currently hear from me … that’s how I ended up getting signed in August of last year and have a song on the Kyng Midas album,” she shared.

Nordia may not have formal music education, but she has proven to NotNice she doesn’t need it to deliver note-perfect songs that speak to her love for the art and deepest desires. She’s honest in her description of who she is and what her music is about, quick to admit, “I like dancehall, but I am not a dancehall artiste. Me cyaa deejay, I tried and it doesn’t work for me … when I do, it just sounds really weird. My sound is soft and emotional, and in singing more, I have become more aware of my sound.”

Avoided raunchy themes

She says she is not trying to come off as perfect (the most trouble she’s given is crying when she didn’t get what she wanted), but has avoided raunchy themes in her music. Nordia’s debut track Ice Cream and Chocolate Bars, produced by Reef Records Productions in 2018, and Sorry, from the Kyng Midas album, both sound like postmodern Motown Records love songs one would find playing from a jukebox in the 1960s, but easily compete with R&B-soul singles of the 2000s featured in the Billboard Top 100 charts.

In the collaboration We Rise, with dancehall dons I Waata, Jafrass, Daddy 1, Quada and Intence, the 22-year-old singer has stirred up even more chatter since the start of 2020, because of its hardcore message, which she sings, “For all who doubted me, I use that energy. The more you fight, the more we’ll rise. You can’t stop a star from light.”

Her soulful voice is one of the four heard in the latest uplifting track, We Are, inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic. But that’s not all. Nordia lends her songwriting talent to the single which features established reggae/dancehall entertainers like Tarrus Riley, Sanchez, Richie Stephens, Etana, Jah Vinci, Maxi Priest, Julian Marley and Tessanne Chin, among others.

“NotNice and Kram [Medley], manager of the label, discussed making a song which could act as a motivational channel based on what is happening now, and while in studio creating the rhythm, we started writing the song. When I finished writing the song, then listened to the demo which was sectionalised and sent to various artiste, I just felt an air of positivity blow over me and anticipated it to do the same thing for everybody who would listen to it,” Nordia expressed.

The St Mary-born and -raised singer said she never imagined being in a studio recording, let alone contributing her songwriting skills to a song that would feature award-winning acts “like Tessanne, who I obsessed over while growing up; or Sanchez, who my grandparents are obsessed with”.

“I couldn’t wait to hear everybody together because there is a voice representing for every type of music lover. Honestly, I was just super excited and more passionate about it, because some persons are experiencing worse than others and the partnership with a charitable foundation – “we are” able to help, “we are” able to inspire,” she said.

Nordia is missing the stage simply because she gets to exercise her performance skills, having impressed the audience at Hennessy Artistry last November and the Unity Festival in St Kitts in February, but she’s still honing her talent in studio.

“If I wasn’t singing, I know I’d still be writing – for a peace of mind – probably doing social work, which is what I studied at the Moneague College in St Ann, or just at home during this very time, like everybody else, trying to find things to entertain myself,” she laughed. “I must say that though it feels like it is going to last forever, it won’t. For the time being I am steering the production of my EP, which is going to be an effective body of work in terms of bringing out the ideas put in.”

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com