Interview with Niaz Nawab
Niaz Nawab is an accomplished multi-instrumental musician, singer, songwriter, composer, and music teacher. Niaz was born in Tehran, Iran, and currently resides in Paris, France.
Niaz started her career in music at an early age. She started her training in piano and in classical violin at the age of 10 at the Tehran Conservatory of Music. Prior to her formal training in France, she competed in a musical competition in London and she was awarded a diploma from the Trinity College of London.
Niaz was accepted at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris after graduating from high school. Five years later, she received her Brevet d’Exécution in piano. Following her graduation, she continued her studies of Piano under Ms. Jacqueline Bourgès-Maunoury and received her DEF from Créteil Conservatory in Créteil, France.
Niaz has years of experience from teaching music to composing music for the cultural branch of Radio France. In addition to her continuous work with students and various organizations, Niaz is also involved with many musical events and festivals. Her music, including her famous album Hafez, is widely available on iTunes and other popular major music vendors.
ZH: Thank you very much, Niaz Nawab for this interview! We would like to start with you telling us more about yourself and how you became interested in music?
At an early age, my family noticed that I have a talent for music. My family encouraged me to take music lessons. At the age of 10, I was sent to the conservatory of music in Tehran focusing on classic violin for 6 years. After graduating I continued my education in Paris focusing on piano.
ZH: You were born years after the passing of your grandfather Hossein Yahaghi. Have you ever had any training with Parviz Yahaghi?
I was able to sit with him for one short lesson and that was it! As much as he was a talented artist, he never had the patience to give lessons.
ZH: Growing up what kind of music you were listening to?
I was open to listening to all sorts of music that moved, from classic rock to electronic music. If I had to pick a favorite genre it would be soul/funk.
ZH: You majored in music and later you pursued it professionally. What are the instruments you play and which is your main one?
I play the Piano, Violin, Guitar, Tombak, Setar. I could say I have studied the piano the most but use other instruments to write.
ZH: To achieve your musical skills, you left the Tehran Conservatory of Music to continue your education in France. How did you become a singer?
I started singing French, English cover songs and slowly started writing and singing my own.
ZH: You grew up in a family that was well known in Iranian classical music. And later you studied western classical music in France. How did these two different styles of music affect and inspired the music you create today?
The combination of both worlds of Iranian traditional music and western music helped and directed me to write and express myself in a unique way, in which Hafez was born as a result. “The Conference of the Birds” is a collaborative project with the talented artist Hamid Reza Javdan which was a musical theater comedy.
ZH: What inspires you the most?
Life, pain, happiness. Sometimes a simple interaction with a human being will trigger a thought or an idea for a song.
ZH: What made you collaborate with Erwin? and can you talk about the making of this mellifluous song of ” Charkhidim” with him?
Erwin contacted me for a show he produces in San Francisco called Let Her Sing. Unfortunately, due to visa complications, I wasn’t able to attend the show, but instead, by our first phone conversation, we realized we have a musical connection. He soon showed me the song he had written called Charkhidim and we decided to record the song remotely.
ZH: And this cooperation continued.
Yes, we performed together in Vancouver at Tabestoon Festival in 2018 without ever meeting each other and have not stopped ever since.
ZH: Tell us more about your recent and upcoming projects in this Quarantine time.
This global situation hasn’t changed me personally, I am used to staying and working from home. We actually had a performance in Toronto (Tirgan Festival) and decided to stay here in Canada during this period and finish a bunch of new tracks.
ZH: Thank you for being with us at ZH.
My pleasure, thanks for having me and helping artists like myself showcase their art.
In collaboration by ZH media
Cover Photo by PHOTOGRAPHY CAMERON
Special thanks to Sherry Sadati