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Debonair gets up close and personal with singer-songwriter Nastasia Griffin, the sultry performer in residence at Q’s Bar and Lounge
Eduan R. Maggo
There are singers and there are performers. And then there are those who excel at both. Nastasia Griffin falls in latter category.
Currently in residence as Nstasia at Q’s Bar and Lounge at Palazzo Versace Dubai, the Haitian-American singer and songwriter works her way through jazz classics and songs off her latest album, New Religion. Her sultry voice and innate charm lends itself to both classics and new material, inviting a rethink of the songs you know and love and an introduction to her private life.
Performing in Dubai until September 8, Nstasia has written songs for the likes of Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson and Nicole Scherzinger.
Says legendary producer Quincy Jones: “This talented little lady has been one of the best-kept secrets in the industry, as a songwriter, for artists such as my lil siblings, Beyoncé and Usher, but now it’s her turn to take the stage... And I couldn’t be more proud to welcome her to our stage at Q’s Bar & Lounge! I’ve got no doubt that her high falsetto will take you to the next level and I can’t wait to hear what y’all think! Enjoy!”
Debonair plays a game of 21 Questions with Nstasia.
1. Tell us five qualities you love about yourself:
- I feel I’m a genuine person; I enjoy making real connections with people and this is reflected in my music.
- I’m very grateful for everything in my life; I learn to focus on what’s good in my life. It takes hard work, but I try and be grateful for something every day.
- I can definitely be a charmer!
- I love that I’m an emotive person; I feel this comes through my music and it gives me the ability to connect with the crowd.
- As well as being emotional, I’m a very compassionate and empathetic person with not only my family and friends, but with everyone around me. The world needs that!
2. What is the one thing you would tell your 16-year-old self?
I would tell her that this is the time of your life and to enjoy it! You’re worry-free and have no real responsibility — you can be whatever you want to be! Also I would tell her not sweat the small stuff; life is going to get pretty good!
3. If you could invite five people — living or dead — to the ultimate dinner party, who would they be and what would you serve?
Definitely Prince, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Jay-Z and Steve Jobs, in the hopes to get advice on my music career and to pick up some business tips.
4. Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Of course! Cheese and sweets.
5. What are three things you would save in a fire?
Apart from my loved ones, my computer, wallet and phone. My computer has my music on it, wallet has my money and phone has every number I need to get everything back.
Duke + Dexter
6. What would you title your autobiography and what would the first line be?
I’ve never thought about it before, but I would call it Becoming Nastasia, and the first line would be “Since the very beginning she felt there was something different about her.”
7. What’s the most treasured item in your wardrobe?
It would have to be the huge (slightly ripped) tie-dyed T-shirt I wear around the house.
8. How would you describe your personal style?
I wear what I feel at the time; sometimes it’s funky, other days it’s edgy or tomboyish. I let my style reflect the way I feel that day.
9. If you could raid anyone’s wardrobe whose would it be?
If I could simultaneously raid Rihanna and Erykah Badu’s wardrobe and mix them together, I’d be set for life!
10. Where is your favourite place in the world and what makes it so special?
Right now it’s my home. It’s my sanctuary — I can be as free as I want and not have a care in the world.
11. What is the most-read book on your bookshelf?
The power of Your subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy.
12. What character from a movie/book/series can you relate to?
I would have to say the lead character in the book The Celestine Prophecy. He has no name in the book, but the story is about him and his quest to find all of life’s insights. He ends up finding insights that are the key to happiness.
13. Do you listen to podcasts?
I don’t listen to them on a regular basis, but I do listen to Brilliant Idiots — definitely worth a listen on a long-haul flight.
14. What’s the most-played song on your playlist, and what makes it special?
There’s not one song that I’ve listened to more than others, but this month I’ve been listening to Drake a lot. Last month it was Erykah Badu.
15. What’s your go-to happy song?
It changes every two weeks! Today it’s “Smile” by Lil Duval.
16. What is your favourite lyric of all time?
“What’s love got to do with it?”
17. What’s the last song that touched you in some way?
“Prototype” by Outkast.
18. What song could be the soundtrack to your life and why?
“On and On” by Erykah Bady. It’s just powerful.
19. Tell us about your latest project. What highlights and challenges did you experience making it?
My album New Religion has a lot of true stories from what I’ve experience in my relationships living in Atlanta, GA. Highlights are me being who I am and saying what I want to say, singing whatever melody that comes to mind and choosing whatever music that feels best is pretty amazing. The challenges for me were picking which song to put on the album; all the songs I make become my babies so it’s hard to let them go.
20. Which song from your album means the most to you and why?
If I had to choose one song from my album New Religion it would be “Southside”. It’s the only song on the album that really speaks about truly hurtful experiences that I went through with someone I thought I loved.
21. What gives a man sex appeal?
Charm, honesty and self assurance.
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