Nadia Tehran is the only name you need to remember for 2016
In recent years EVERYONE appears to be ‘the next big thing’. Hell, we’re all guilty of it. Sadly only one person can be the one, and this year it looks set to be Nadia Tehran. Sorry anyone else applying for this, the position has been filled!
After listening to her debut EP Life is Cheap Death is Free you know everything you need to know about Tehran. The Swedish musician who makes politically charged high energy hip-hop and electronica. Imagine M.I.A. working with Atari Teenage Riot while Omar Souleyman remixes it. The beats are hard hitting, the bassline dubby and then WHAM! Tehran infuses it with her Arabic background and everything takes on a totally different cultural context. This doesn’t even take into Tehran’s visceral lyrics, that not only highlight what it’s like not to be a W.A.S.P. but a female too. But before you start thinking “Hmmmmmmmmm, not sure about this one thisyearinmusic” everything has a delectable pop sheen to it that hammers the EP into your subconscious.
Lead track Superstars has a cinematic vibe to it, that the previous four tracks don’t. It is grandiose in its composition and its Bond-esque hooks are gargantuan. The lyrics are just as massive however. Lyrics like “They would kill to be like us”, “We’re cool as winter. We’re as far as the moon” how that Tehran isn’t interested in telling a simple story, but there is a positive vibe running through the track with a chorus of “I’m a daughter of Venus, You’re the Sun of Mars. Baby don’t you know that we belong with Superstars” and repeated like a mantra “Baby you are my superstar” continues until swells of strings and keyboards wrap us in a silky blanket until its luscious outro fades into oblivion.
What makes Tehran such a vital voice in 2016 is that, quite frankly, she has something to say. She isn’t content to write songs about falling in and out of love, far from it, she has a bigger story to tell. She is discussing issues of migration, religion, gender, race and everything else in between. Yes you can say “But it’s just pop music?” and yes it is, but what better way to reach the masses that by wrapping your point in effulgently catchy and thought provoking music? What a superstar!