Lila is born as the first child of Persian parents in Hamburg-Altona. Lila means „night“ in Arabic and her second name „Nazanin“ was given to her by her wonderful grandmother, she tells me proudly. A sonorous name for the future artist.
After our first meeting, Lila J. leaves me with the impression of a confident and pure personality adorned with long, colorful curls and a fun-loving smile.
At the age of nine, in addition to dancing, Lila J. discovered singing and drawing. Her first love and greatest role model to this day is Michael Jackson. The first record – Thriller! Lila J. remembers that she was given a blonde make-up doll for Christmas. The doll was so beautiful that Lila decided at that moment to become a stylist. That’s when she turned 10. Her biggest dream, however, she reveals in the interview with Finn, was to become an astronaut and fly to the stars. A year later, she takes up poetry and writing. At this age, Lila is still too reluctant to show her work to those around her. To this day, writing is her greatest artistic strength. „Sometimes I compose in my sleep and sing it drowsily on the voice memo,“ she tells Finn.
Back to school days. Lila never misses a choir lesson, volunteers to stay late for art class in the afternoons, and has her mother enroll her in Jutta Warnecke’s ballet school. At home, she watches ‚Flashdance‘ incessantly and tries to dance it until everything hurts.
Lila J. is a little embarrassed to say that she didn’t always pay attention in school and also was not concentrated. On dull days she just wants to go home, continue writing her poems and finish drawing her pictures.
And Lila’s passion is expensive. In order to afford the latest music magazines, she delivers newspapers, helps in the tea store, distributes flyers. With the money she earns herself, she buys her first concert ticket. For A-HA. The concert is the key experience for Lila. At that moment it became clear to her: she belongs on stage. So THIS is what it means to fly to the stars: „This is what I was born for. No matter if it’s in front of millions of people, in front of 100 or just for me alone.“ There she is 14.
Creativity is still her passion and her haven of peace. How hard is it to reconcile everything and always be fully involved, she is asked by Finn in conversation. „For me, there’s no such thing as standing still. That’s what drives me forward,“ she replies. Yeah, and she doesn’t like THAT either, as you quickly discover.
Lila J. reflects and answers that she is actually chaotic, but through the steep development a lot of structure has come in, which is very uncharacteristic for her. And to Finn’s particular question about what she would do if there was an elephant at the door, she laughingly blurts out, „I would sit on it and say go!!!“ And that’s exactly what she is. Just do it.
But it wasn’t always that way. In her youth, Lila J. has many self-doubts, almost gives up. But when she performs her song „Tell me“ with the HdJ- Band in the basement for the first time at 17, she lays the foundation for her musical expression and continues writing. After that follows a lot of vocal coaching. For this she travels, for example, from Hamburg to Neuss to her first mentor Homan Mohammadi and learns song lyrics by Toni Braxton and Mariah Carey on the train ride. He teaches Lila J. that she must break out, leave conventions behind, otherwise she will not reach her vocal goal. Because her standards for herself are high.
Especially in her early youth, Lila J. feels drawn to her oriental roots and whenever she can, she visits her family in Iran. There she listens to old Persian tapes of Haide and GooGoosh and dances with her cousins under mulberry trees. Her mother once tells her that when she was a little girl, at 5 years old, she suddenly got up at a wedding and started dancing. Just like that. As if she had always done it.
Lila J. loves ballet and also modern dance, but she decides to incorporate the oriental into her dance and learns the different styles of belly dance.
Lila J. teaches herself at the age of 19. First women’s groups and then youth groups. In 2006, Lila J. started the children’s group Mini Shivas after many requests. When she introduced herself in the Bramfelder Kulturladen BRAKULA and asked if there was interest in a course, the manager Uwe Schmidt spontaneously said: „Sure, why not“ and one week later the first Minis were already dancing there with their „Frau Lila“. Since then, Lila J. has been coaching children and teenagers at BRAKULA and also at schools through the BSV. She received her trainer’s license at the beginning of 2020 in order to be able to teach sport.
For Lila J., dance, music and acting are all connected. She found that out for herself in sixth grade. After the performance of the musical „Oliver Twist“ at Margaretha- Rothe Gymnasium, she is determined to continue her work in theater. But dance is also to be included. For the time being, Lila J.’s everyday life is determined by a lot of practicing, practicing, practicing.
Of course, acting should bear fruit just as much as music and thus, at the age of 18, she plays in a black-and-white short film project and has since been booked for various film and music video projects. In 2015, Lila J. completed her additional training as an actress with the Sanford Meisner certificate and is eager to continue with acting.
„And what do you think,“ asks host Johann in another interview, “ which star do you resemble?“ „I think you know her from Miss Undercover,“ Lila J. answers with a smile. „No, unfortunately I don’t know her.“ She takes it with humor, noting, „Today’s youth!“ And they both have to laugh. „Is there anything you still really want to do?“ Johann asks her pretty much at the end of the interview. „Yes, I really wanted to learn another instrument. So I started taking guitar lessons a few years ago. That was the best decision.“
I ask her, „Is there a very special moment in your life?“ Lila J. replies, „Yes. The birth of my daughter. When she was laid down next to me and I heard her breathing, I felt completely at one with nature for the first time in my life. I firmly believe that we are hanging by an invisible thread and are connected to the Source, but we are not constantly aware of it. I found myself in spirituality a long time ago. Even as a child, I never felt alone.“
During the rehearsals in 2014 for the big artist event „Mini Shivas and friends,“ where, among other things, vocal pieces were rehearsed with pianist Behzad Dehghani, a student asked Lila J.: „Why do you only dance, Ms. Lila? You have such a beautiful voice. Why don’t you sing?“ Yes, in fact, why not?
After several recordings and productions (such as with Ingo Hauss) as well as collaborations with other artists, Lila J., after a long period of self-discovery, dared to take the step of publishing her own songs and lyrics in German, English and Persian. Among other things, the quite housy pop EP „Sunshine“ was released on 20.06.2020 with the label „3 Stock Record“ and the Iranian-German dance track „An diesen verdammten Tagen“ was released. A German-language mix album will hit the music market in 2021. With the Hamburg indi label „Alster Records“ their first German pop song „Für dich“ was released and very well received. The beautiful song with a pinch of Latino and Orient instigates to dance.
In the interview with the presenter Bedo from the station Hamburg1, the two talk intensively about Lila J.’s favorite production, the ballad „In Rooza“. This Persian song is created in 2017 together with Ahmad Dashti and Ayad Diris, who became aware of Lila J. through Instagram.
Ayad incidentally also becomes her main producer and „In Rooza“ remains Lila J.’s most heartfelt song to this day. The script for the video was written by Lila J. herself and she also played the role of „Julia“ with her acting colleague Ahmed Vegas in Chemnitz. The music video for it by Johannes Rupf can be admired on Youtube.
In 2021, as already announced, the German album will be released. Talking to Finn, Lila J. describes that all the tracks are self-written and they reflect the personality, experiences and thoughts of Lila J. The album will be a surprising mix of 80s pop, EDM, ballads and a touch of Orient.
Corona, of course, has complicated the presence of all artists, but has also given Lila J. the opportunity to look inward and reinvent herself. Lila J. is just waiting to finally be back on stage to present herself live to her audience.
I appreciate Lila J. as a very multifaceted artist. I like the funky sound of her songs, especially „Love is the only“ and „Sunshine“, which remind me of my childhood in the 80s. For me she is glitter, retro and mystical at the same time. She is a gorgeous blossom that opens up to the sunshine and thus – the longer you know her – becomes more and more beautiful. In the interview of Oriental Night and on her Insta-page lilaj.official you can learn even more about Lila J. and even hear her sing live.
And Lila’s name really is Lila, as Bedo correctly notes. Written like the color named after the hit song „Delilah“ by Tom Jones. Now it’s time for you to fly to the stars, now Lila Nazanin!
Author: Katrin Jopp
Translater:Wouter Mayeur, DubcrowdLondon
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