Berlin based R&B singer Novine will release her latest track Full Moon this month – and so we talked to her about her life in music so far, and her ambitions for this intriguing new release.
Hi Novine, nice to talk to you at indieberlin. Could you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you ended up in Berlin?
I’m actually from Heidelberg, in the south west of Germany. My parents are German and Jamaican. I moved to Berlin more than three years ago to study music. I finished my Bachelor’s last year and have been working on some musical projects, I released two E.P.’s and will now release a new single ‘Full Moon’.
Who did you work with on your E.P.’s?
On my last E.P. I worked together with my guitarist who is also my boyfriend. He has his own project as well and we co-write a lot together. He got pretty good at recording and mixing so we recorded it at home and got someone else to master it so its mostly just the two of us. With this upcoming single I worked together with my guitarist and also a producer from Paris, Loris Geisen. We actually found each other through Instagram, when I released my last E.P. he said he was interested in working together on my next song so he produced it.
So ‘Full Moon’ was also co-written with your boyfriend?
Actually we thought the song was already done and we wrote it, we mixed it and just before we mastered it I showed it to the producer. He said he thought it really had big potential but he would love to put some more into the production and so he put his vision in it too. It turned out great so I was really happy about it. So we recorded and wrote the song in our home studio in Berlin and he added the production, arrangements and sounds in his studio in France.
Who are your influences and the artists you’re inspired by?
I’m definitely really inspired by Prince, Sade, Anita Baker. Bob Marley as well because I grew up listening to that… Actually not many contemporary artists if I think about it.
With an artist like Prince, is it his music itself or also his approach to making music that inspires you?
I would say all of it. Prince is a very special and unique artist. I started listening to him pretty late, maybe like five years ago I really started digging into his music. Before that I just knew a few songs. Especially the really soul-ly, R’n’B stuff spoke to me as well as his style and his attitude, just everything together. He’s so special, I wish I could’ve seen him live…
You mentioned Bob Marley, did the Official Bob Marley Instagram not post a song you covered?
Yes they did! In summer 2017 I did a small acoustic cover from a Bob Marley with my own style, we recorded it at home and put it up on Facebook and YouTube. The reggae community are very supportive. First the Bob Marley fan page posted it and it got a lot of views and then a year later the Official Bob Marley page posted it. That was just four or five months ago and was really a surprise for me. One of his sons, Julian, wrote me a message that he really liked it.
That’s quite an endorsement!
Yeh, he said he loved my voice and followed me and so I guess maybe one day we could work together. I really like the Marleys, they have a great strong message and music.
I really enjoyed your last E.P. ‘Solitude’, you obviously have a great voice but I was wondering what it was that drew you towards R&B?
I grew up listening to this music, to reggae and R&B and soul and I guess it just spoke to me the most. It’s a really emotional raw thing with the vocals and how you express your feelings. Thats not only in R&B but I guess it was those artists that I listened to that inspired me to do that as well.
Whats the story behind new single ‘Full Moon’?
I wrote it last summer in a bunch of songs. I can’t remember how I created it or what made me do it but it came out of a feeling… Its really hard to explain. I think on the surface it sounds like a love song but I’d love for people to find their own meaning and story, whatever vibe they get from it.
And what are your ambitions for the release?
I really hope to get some more exposure and to reach more people than I did before. It’s really difficult, I had cover songs that got attention but it’s really difficult to make your own songs reach people. I just hope to reach more people and to have more gigs because thats not happening at the moment. It’s quite difficult with this type of music in Berlin.
Have you been playing recently or do you have plans coming up?
I’ve been trying to get support gigs but its difficult, most people don’t answer or if they do they just say ‘maybe’… The chances are so low. One thing that was quite special was a partnership I have with Libratone, who do Bluetooth speakers and headphones. They have a ‘Free the Sound’ project where they have a few artists from Berlin they work with and then we went to Copenhagen in February to play there for Valentines Day.
And do you plan on getting a band together again?
Most gigs we’ve had so far have been acoustic because thats easier, but I would actually love to play with a band again, its been so long. It would be really nice, so I hope to get some great musicians together that love this style.
And in general what are your aims in the next year and what would you like to achieve?
Definitely to make a living from my music, because I’m not there yet and thats really something I’m trying to get to right now. After finishing my studies and being able to stand on my own two feet, I’d just love to live from my dream. Maybe tour with my own stuff, but I guess that takes time and I’ve got to reach the people first.
Novine will release her new single ‘Full Moon’ on April 12th.