Nao Mali was born in Wisconsin to Swedish and Filipino parents and grew up in northern Sweden. Having roots spread across three continents left Nao feeling caught in between worlds. Their way of coping was to create an own place to belong. That place is EURASIA – Nao Mali’s world where culture, sexuality and identity are not restricted, but something to play around with. Here, every day is a new opportunity to reinvent yourself. After establishing themselves with a rich and vibrant array of releases throughout the last year, including their highly praised debut effort ‘Ken Doll’ and follow-up ‘Little Black Jockstrap’, Swedish new queer Gen Z artist Nao Mali is now looking to cement their progressive legacy to date with the release of their eagerly awaited debut EP ‘EURASIA’, alongside the new lead single ‘High Fashion’…
How has the creative process been when making your debut EP?
Life has been intense, not gonna lie. Struggling internally with insecurities and at the same time with everything going on in the outside world had me feeling overwhelmed and I just needed a break from all the misery. Some sort of escapism. I had to create my own little universe where I only focused on the things I really enjoyed about life, love, music and fashion. In that process I unlocked a new character within myself, a superstar diva that exudes confidence and wittiness.
You’ve mentioned the themes of sexuality, Gender and societal expectations play a big part in the project. Could you touch more on this?
I’ve come to terms that I will never quite fit in. Even in the lgbtqia+ community there’s boxes people expect you to fit into, but I can’t minimise myself to do that. I have a desire to always reinvent myself and keep unlocking new characters in my artistry, and if i would be completely honest I don’t know who or what I am yet! So therefor I eliminate “the box mindset” and fully commit to being a slave to my own creativity. Call it what you want: Multiple personality disorder, Delusion or complete Freedom?
The four-track EP is, in your own words, a perfect mix of comedy and glamour. What do you hope listeners take away from it?
Since these songs have helped me to gain that extra confidence in my everyday life, I hope the EP has that same impact on the listener. I just wanted to have fun and I think my sense of humour really shines through in the lyrics. But since I’m a Virgo I also have that perfectionist behaviour so everything I do needs to have a sense of polish therefore the combination of comedy and glamour.
What direction are you thinking of taking next? What does the future hold in store for you?
I’m literally just getting started! The next era is even more freaky and “out there”. So hopefully in the near future I will spend more time performing on a stage and not in my bedroom, Haha!