I received an email in early April from Nandita Dias, a full-time teacher and an accomplished jazz singer, telling me a bit about her upcoming album, “Let Us Lose Track Of Time.” I clicked reply and typed that I would love to learn more about her, and it would be a great idea if we met.
That was in early April.
Over the course of 2 months, we tried to meet up, but our schedules never seemed to come together. We were either busy, under the weather, or unavailable. It wasn’t until June 3rd, that we were both able to devote a couple of hours for the interview. We both acknowledged that life gets in the way sometimes, but it was great that we could finally make it happen.
Seriously though, she has to be the most patient person I’ve ever met! Thanks for waiting 2 months for the interview!
It was such a thrill finally hearing Nandita’s voice after the 20,000 emails that we sent each other over the course of 2 months! Her voice is bubbly, cheerful, and instantly put me in a pleasant mood.
I was sooo curious to find out more about her story. I was astounded to know that she was able to teach full-time (she teaches grade 8), tutor, PLUS pursue her singing career. #Superwoman
She believes that if you have dreams, NOTHING can or should stand in your way. All you need to do is put in the work.
Wanna know more about Nandita? Keep reading.
Hometown: Born in India, moved to Dubai, and grew up in Mississauga, ON, Canada
Astrological Sign: Taurus
Fun Fact: She is fluent in Spanish, French and Portuguese
Fun Fact 2: Travelled to and sang in 25 countries!
Years teaching: 7
Singing career: Has been singing professionally since the age of 19
How long have you been interested in music?
Since I was 17 years old, it’s been pretty much all jazz until the last 5 years where I started mixing jazz along with rock and pop.
When did you fall in love with jazz?
Jazz is my favourite thing in the whole world! Nothing I like more.
When I was little, I studied Indian classical and after that Western Classical (opera). When I was in vocal class in high school, I was told that I had to check out the school’s jazz band. A teacher ended up taking me to see the jazz band perform at the library. I remember walking into the library…a piano was set up and this kid was on the piano who was crazy good! I sat down and looked at him – taking it all in. I never really heard anything like it. A teacher asked if I would sing for the jazz band and I said sure!
How do you juggle your music career and teaching?
I tend not to think about it too much, ‘cause I love doing everything I do – so I don’t ever feel bogged down or stressed out. I love the energy from the kids. I honestly think the energy from the kids keeps me young….keeps me current!
Teaching them helps me to feel comfortable in front of audiences, also helps with my stage presence. Kids are so honest, they don’t pretend. If they are bored, they’ll start looking bored. That’s my cue to change things up. A lot of the work I do with them informs what I do as a singer.
How do you work in performing into your already busy schedule?
A lot of the gigs I do are sometimes on a weeknight, but most of the time on the weekend. A lot of the things I do are corporate gigs, or sometimes NGOs have a gala dinner/fundraiser and they’ll call me in because they like the fact that I speak 5 different languages and that I am able to sing in different languages.
What do your students think about your other life as a singer?
They like my music and are impressed that their teacher is a singer. They always ask me, “Miss, are you famous?” I tell them that I am not famous. I sing, but I’m not famous.
Tell me about your album Let Us Lose Track Of Time.
I wrote the album with my dad (her father Franky is an author and wrote “Buddha in Rush Hour). There are no covers on the album. I wanted to make the album accessible for my students. Something they’d like. The entire album is rock and pop with a few elements of jazz.
There are two overarching themes on the album- the quest to find fulfillment in relationships and leaving a better world to pass on to the next generation.
Did you have the students in mind when you conceptualized the album?
They like my music and are impressed that I am a singer, but at the same time, they couldn’t connect with some elements of my music because it wasn’t what they were used to listening to. I started to keep them in mind and tried to write things they wanted to hear.
They led me to have that mental shift. I wanted to write lyrics that are meaningful and have a message. They are both the inspiration and critics of my music.
Wow, wouldn’t it have been cool to have a teacher like Nandita when you were younger? She genuinely loves teaching and singing. But what I think is the sweetest thing is that she generously thinks about her students when she creates her music. #thoughful.
Thanks for the chat, Nandita.
For more information on Nandita Dias, please visit the following links:
Facebook: Click here
YouTube: click here
Nandita’s album “Let Us Lose Track Of Time” is available on ITunes and CD Baby.