What is your name?
What is your genre of music?
Alt Rnb – Soul – Afro pop
Give us a little bio about you.
Nora Toutain is a Moroccan-French singer/songwriter based in Montreal. Her brand of synth-driven R&B seamlessly moves across genres like neo-soul, funk and jazz with hints of afro rhythms; a direct reference to her diverse cultural experiences and musical upbringing. Her love for these traditional styles and contemporary sounds elevates her music, offering a fresh and unique sonic experience. Wherever she performs, her ease and energy on stage charms crowds.
What made you go into music?
2 things: The early blues guitar jams with my father and brother at home when I was a childThe discovery of Kalmunity in Montreal
Who are your influences?
Gnawa mentors, Oumou Sangaré, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Pink Floyd, Zero 7, Sarah Vaughn, Beyoncé…
Are you signed?
You released your new album ‘Grounding Place Vol.II’ , tell us more about the album and the meaning behind the title.
Volume 2 is presented as the contrasting completion of what was expressed in Volume 1, with a pensive and introspective approach to my songwriting, production and performance.
While Vol.1 had vibrant energy filled with light and celebration, Vol. 2 explores themes that are more personal and sensitive to me, such as self confidence, communication with people close to me in my life, as well as betrayal and sensuality.
If Vol. 1 is the sun, then Vol. II is the moon. The colour palette of this album is much darker, and my voice is a lot more calm and less explosive than the first album. It feels like Vol. 1 really has that “debut fire” energy I was naturally bringing in the studio and in my writing, while Vol. 2 showcases another level of maturity where I take the time to sit down and tell more of a vulnerable story, both literally and musically.
Describe each track in two words.
Words: Endless gratitude
Harbour: Let the body talk
Something personal: Dancer, dark, water, intimacy
Boxes: old notebook
Grounding Place: First baby
Fool: Vulnerability is sexy
Safar: Friendship & adventures
What was the writing and recording process like?
The writing process was pretty smooth and effortless. Because every song is anchored in a real life experience, the lyrics are easily channelled. I would come to the studio with the songs pretty much already written, and then my producer Chris and I would polish the tracks together. The recording process took a bit more time for some songs. I remember “Something Personal” being quite challenging technically, and “Fool” was very challenging emotionally. Because this song is about a betrayal wound I was still carrying, so there would be a pain in my stomach every time I got close to the mic and had to sing it. It took me several tries and ultimately a shelf period before I was able to get it done.
Who did you work with on the album?
An incredible producer and dear friend of mine, Chris Vincent. He not only produced the whole album, but also composed some of the instrumentals for songs like “Harbour” and “Bad at Love”. We really shaped this album together from A to Z and it was one of the most incredible collaborative creative experiences I’ve ever had.
Will we see any music videos for any of the tracks and if so what can we expect from the creative process?
Absolutely! There’s a video for “Words”, where you can experience beautiful cinematography around an incredible invocation and expressive concept that was co-created with dear friends and family members. MUST WATCH! Then there’s “Grounding Place” that showcases my hometown neighbourhood, my city, the sun and the ocean that raised me.. And last but not least, “Harbour” – a video I directed as in an invitation to unapologetically celebrate the expression of female desires, in all their shapes and forms.In the clip, I wanted to translated this with shy and blurry movements behind a veil, that later become exposed, explosive, and assumed. If you like to dance then it’s for you.
What else can we expect in early 2023?
The first single off my next album!
Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Living back in Morocco, signed with a label, touring, producing my work and other people’s work, continuing artist vocal and songwriting coaching.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
Impossible is nothing
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Connexion to my roots
Water + warm up
An apple 🙂