Nadia Nakai on finding healing through music

Rapper Nadia Nakai has big plans for the year. Picture: Instagram

Rapper Nadia Nakai has big plans for the year. Picture: Instagram

Published Mar 4, 2024


Nadia Nakai has had a tough start to 2024.

The renowned rapper and singer had to endure the heartache of commemorating her late boyfriend Kiernan “AKA” Forbes’ 36th birthday at his graveside in January.

Together with his parents and daughter Kairo Forbes, they showered the late icon with 36 white balloons and flowers at his gravestone.

February also marked one year since the rapper was shot dead outside Wish restaurant in Durban.

Last week, news of arrests in the rapper and his friend Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane’s murder case were made public, with five of the seven suspects appearing in court.

As Nakai continues to grieve over AKA, she has since released two tribute songs in his memory.

One is titled “Never Leave”, and the second track is yet to be named, is set to feature Grammy award-winning artist Zakes Bantwini and “Suited” hitmaker, Shekinah.

The musician explained that while it was an emotional process to put these tribute songs together, she has found some sense of healing while working through her grief with music.

Nadia Nakai and AKA. Picture: Facebook

“I have really just been working on music since Kiernan passed away and I saw what he did when he was going through something difficult, so I tried to follow a similar process,” she told Independent Media Lifestyle.

And while her latest tribute song is yet to be released, “Never Leave” has received widespread praise from the music community, including the “Megacy” as AKA’s fans have affectionately become known as.

“I am grateful to everyone who has shown the song love and for those who resonate with it and have been finding their own healing from the song.”

“It feels good to know that the song has been a source of comfort for people.”

Nakai added that she has not yet decided if it will be a full tribute album.

She explained that she started working on new music a month after AKA died, as she continues to work through her grief.

“I am excited about the new album,” she admitted, adding that it will include some new sounds that her fans have yet to hear from her.

“I am also nervous about dropping a whole new album and I am rethinking about it being a full tribute album per se.”

The musician explained that this is because it would be too emotional and overwhelming for her.

“It's tough to revisit those emotions when the songs are released and the whole process is heartbreaking and painful.”

She added that releasing such songs is difficult because she is forced to be vulnerable.

“Sometimes I want to reserve those emotions for myself as I go through the process of healing, and it is tough when everyone can have an opinion on it.”

Apart from the music, Nakai has also been busy with several other ventures.

Last year, the “Naaa Meaan” hitmaker launched her app, “Bragga World”, which gives fans an exclusive look into her life.

She also established a podcast called “Hello Bragga” in November, which is available on the “Bragga World” portal.

In addition, Nakai released her make-up range, “Naked Without”, a line in which she seeks to commit to authenticity, redefining beauty standards and catering to a diverse range of skin tones and textures.

She explained during the time of its launch that the brand embodies her mantra of beauty “knowing no boundaries and for everyone, regardless of age, race or gender”.

When asked how she juggles all these ventures, Nakai said that she has a great support system and team behind her.

The media personality also features on the Netflix reality show “Young, Famous & African” and said that she is proud of the way she came across on the series.

“On the show, people got to see how normal, honest and real I am, and I think that this is the case with musicians because they can't have a façade and they have to tell the truth through their music.”

She added that working on all these projects helps keep her busy and distracted from her grief.

She also cleared up rumours that she has teamed up with her reality TV co-star, Fantana, to form a new DJ duo.

In January, she took to Instagram to post, “New DJ DUO. @iamfantana. Guess our name?”

Nadia Nakai and Fantana joked about starting a DJ duo. Picture: Instagram

But Nakai has since admitted that she and the fellow musician, whose real name is Francine Kouffie, were just “trolling fans”.

“It was definitely a joke, and we just had the same hair colour so we thought it would be fun to post,” she admitted.

And with all that she is involved in, Nakai said that what she is most proud of is “just surviving”.

“I am proud that I pushed through the really dark and scary times and that I am trying to survive and find new meaning in life,” she added.

For the rest of the year, Nakai said that fans can expect “more honesty” from her.

“I want to be real in everything I do, from music and business ventures, and I also want to focus on myself and go for everything I want because life is short.”