photography by Nusa Hernavs, Joanna Legid and Elif Güney
Nalan means something like “tear of emotion”. And indeed, the music of the singer and songwriter with Turkish roots has something incredibly gentle, sometimes melancholical deep. She already changed her artist name a few times, and is also known for projects such as slimgirl fat and part of the group Gaddafi Gals, but now will finally release her own much-anticipated debut album – “I’m Good. The Crying Tape” – at the end of this year. The opening single “I am Good” is a catchy tune about a break-up. In our interview Nalan tells us why the main character of the song isn’t actually feeling that good after all but still finds her way at the end and why she is so emotional about the video shot in magical Istanbul.
Hey dear Nalan, thanks for your time to answer some questions! We love the track! It came into being on the very first day of the lockdown. What do you want to bring across with the song?
Hi! Thank you for the interview. I wrote this song within a really short time. It just happened and this is always a great sign. I wanted to write a non typical break up scene. The main character who is fooling herself to be „Good“ in a repetetive way but actually isn’t. But this doesn’t immediately show because the beat is so happy and spreads this certain feel good vibe. If you listen closely you won’t miss that the main character cares about the person who just left. And that she’s on her own now -lonely. So she creates her own little movie. At the end I wanted to keep it open to the listener. I wanted the main character not to be weak & sad after the break up but also not strong enough to continue like nothing had happened. This in between thing is more interesting to me. At the end she finds her own way out. As we all know, break ups can come and go and after weeks they are forgotten like the pages of the book you read last week.
The video is awesome too and was shot in Istanbul. It has such a unique vibe. How long did it take to shoot it?
I am glad you like it. It actually took us two days to shoot the whole video. But of course behind the scenes we were working for 2 weeks in total to get the concept, idea, locations (also from the distance, Berlin – Istanbul). It was a really spontaneous idea to shoot in Istanbul. It was an over night reaction. I haven’t had holiday in a while and my friend and director Umut Şilan Oğurlu called me over soooo many times. Then I came up with the idea to shoot a video with her. Within 2 days we had the whole music video crew and then I flew over (one way). I stayed 2 weeks. This city is magic. I wanted to put my feelings towards the city in film. That´s what we did.
“I wanted the main character not to be weak & sad after the break up but also not strong enough to continue like nothing had happened.”
How have those difficult times influenced you as a person and as an artist?
I guess like many others I had a lot of time to focus on music. But before this happened I did nothing. I was watching Tv series, cooked a lot and just calmed down. I kind of collected energy that then was transformed into music.
How did the collaboration with director Umut Şilan Oğurlu come about and was the concept of the video beforehand totally clear or some ideas emerged while shooting?
Umut Şilan Oğurlu and me have known each other for so many years (since 2013). We met on a roof top Party in Istanbul. Back then I was living there. Since we met we kept visiting each other every year. The concept was an ongoing thing and took as (as you can read above) around two weeks (which is definetely not a long time for a music video production). We had the final concept one day before we shot. Haha.
I assume the video was shot after the lockdown, right? How was the feeling for you while filming it?
It was shot in July 2021. Turkey wasn’t in a lockdown then and I think it still isn’t (yet). It took a lot of effort and time but we had a great time shooting it. It is my first music video that was shot in Turkey. I was super emotional about that and still am. I always wanted to connect with the city and people over there. I am so happy that the whole team is based in Turkey. Shoutout at this point to the whole Crew!
“You can have tears of joy and feel bad even if you claim you are good. I wanted to play with the curtain in front of the stage.”
Your debut album is due to be released in November. “I’m Good. The Crying Tape”. Is it an album that deals with coming to terms with the past year?
I think we changed the release date into December – haha. But yes. The title was kinda clear before the pandemic but I changed it by adding „I’m Good.“ to the „The Crying Tape“. This album is definitely dealing with my emotional roller coaster over the past year. But you can translate it into the good and bad times we all go through in our lives. Topic-wise it is timeless. I mean we know that „I’m Good“ doesn’t automatically mean what it says. Same for the „Crying“ part. You can have tears of joy and feel bad even if you claim you are good. I wanted to play with the curtain in front of the stage.
Who are your musical influences?
I have a lot of influences. I am super interested into sounds/tunes that sound fresh to your ears. I always love it when musicians play with genres and their voices. I love Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Billie Eilish, Soap and Skin, Tyler the Creator, Tame Impala and Abra. The list is super long. I grew up with RnB, crashed into Indie music while I was at highschool, found myself in singer songwriter music and ended up in a mixture of all.
Tell us three important details about yourself?
I hate to be wasteful. I go by bike everywhere. I have a bad time management.
What makes you happy?
Seeing my plants grow. I really love to watch them for hours.