Divine Magazine is happy to welcome NAVI . She is a Romanian composer and singer. She has been performing and writing songs for more than half her life. She is best known for her single “Perfect Picture” which she performs while tied up in bondage.
Tell us something about the woman behind Navi. How would you describe yourself?
Just starting and you’re on with the tough questions already! I like to think that NAVI the woman and NAVI the musician are one and the same, strong, stubborn, a small-town girl that started from nothing and dreams bigger every time, unafraid of working her ass off. Yes, that’s pretty much what I am: a dreamer with a plan.
How does a typical day look for you?
This particular day goes like this: black coffee, big mug + this interview + quick breakfast and replying to e-mails, then I’ll prepare myself a hot bath and head to the studio. We’re tracking guitars for two new songs today and I can’t wait for it!
Chocolate or vanilla?
If you could have done anything else but music, what would it have been?
Probably writing, in some form. I’m a little too lazy to be a writer, though all my close friends keep thinking I’ll write at least one book in this lifetime (and they SHOULD fear my autobiography) :)) Or maybe journalism, that I studied and practiced during college, to support myself until my musical career even had a chance.
You are a singer and songwriter who has worked with some famous Romanian names. What was the most surprising experience you had working with them?
We’re all people in the end, no matter how talented or famous or whatever. You know, I always say that writing a song with someone is maybe more intimate than sex, it’s a unique experience that binds two or more people together in a way that you can’t perceive or understand… until you actually do it.
So, back to your question 🙂 one of the recent surprises I’ve had is Bijou, a young singer that used to live in France and released two singles or so in Romania, a couple of years back. She was caught up in this huge media scandal for not wearing panties on national TV – and sang pretty much the “standard”, dance-pop, cheesy songs we’re all accustomed to and sick of. Many of my peers didn’t think much of her, mainly because there weren’t even live performances to create an opinion of, but I just… saw something in her, I felt there was something more there. One day I stumbled upon a recording of her, on Daily Motion – of all places – and I was stunned. She had recorded herself singing “All the way” by Frank Sinatra / Celine Dion. I invited her over to the studio and my colleague, NMC, and I were both blown away by her crystal-clear voice and magnificent interpretation. He went on to write her comeback single, “Another Try”, and we co-wrote her next one, “Aproape Impreuna” (Almost Together – in translation), which will be released soon.
If you could work with anyone in the world, who would they be and why?
Celine Dion, because she’s been my idol since childhood. It would be my biggest accomplishment as a songwriter to write for her. I couldn’t actually sing with her, I don’t think so, I’d be too caught up with all the emotion and probably crying all through it :))
If it were to change one single thing about your life so far, what would that be?
From the things that I decided, I wouldn’t change ANYTHING. I have no regrets and no secrets, no shame in my past or my past decisions. Of course, I would’ve preferred an easier life, to have a family, to grow up in a beautiful house with a piano and have the world laid down at my feet… but then again, that wasn’t up to me and, in the end, what we go through shapes us as humans and makes our soul stronger for the long run. So, yeah… things are good just the way they are.
You are the first Romanian to mix BDSM and music. In fact, you are the first one to sing while in suspension bondage. How difficult did you find it?
It is, as you may suspect, quite a challenge. I took Pilates for quite some time and I am naturally flexible – and my love for Shibari (Japanese bondage) in my personal life has made it easier for me to perform in rope. I also have had the luck to be among very professional and talented riggers, like Drysin (who accompanies me during my Shibari shows) and Dark Shibari (who tied me up so beautifully in the “Picture Perfect” video). As for as I know, I’m the only singer in the world who does this live – and I feel lucky and privileged to have an audience that enjoys it.
Your song, Perfect Picture made such an impact on the Romanian audience, it was forbidden by most local television stations. How did you handle their decision? Were you expecting this outcome?
That was quite a surprise, actually! You know, there are literally more violent and explicit imagery on the 5 o’clock news and yes, the video was sexual and provocative & all, but having it banned was not my list of expectations. I thought people were going to be shocked – and hell yes, they were. The video got reported so many times that Youtube made it viewable past 18 only. The television channel Kanal D was brave enough to invite us over for the “Wowbiz” show and discuss the issue and my involvement with the BDSM community, but even there (after midnight) the video was shown blurred.
For four years, up until 2012, you were part of a duet. What made you start on your own?
Here comes the creepy part. I’ve been very open about my personal life until now, obviously, but talking about Alexandra & Alec doesn’t come easy. It’s actually the first time I’ve said anything and I am doing it because I feel there are so many young women out there who get tangled up in situations where they feel they can’t make it on their own or that there is no life after a huge, painful breakup. Long story short: I was in a band with the man I loved and, for four years, we had it all – the life, the love, the dream house, the black cat with green eyes, jam sessions with friends, big plans, concerts, a record deal. We never even argued and everyone thought we were the perfect team.
Then one day, seemingly out of the blue, he packed up and left. From one day to the next. No explanation. One day we were fine, and the second day he doesn’t love me anymore, he wants out of the record deal, out of our life, out of everything we had built together. And my world crumbled. Fast forward some painful and dubious years later, I am making music again, stronger than ever, being my own woman and finally having the courage to love someone else – I am still hurt, still puzzled, still broken up inside about an injustice I didn’t understand.
Alec has gotten married and he’s turned to religion almost in a fanatical way, he’s tried to erase any and all traces of Alexandra & Alec off the web (impossible, of course) – but, out of a really sad and cautionary tale, the beautiful music remains. For those of you who want to listen to our EP, it’s right here, free to download & enjoy: https://soundcloud.com/alexandraalec/sets/alexandra-alec-little-dreams-ep
It feels creepy indeed to have lived with someone in the same house for four years and find out you didn’t know him at all. It hurts to have lost a big part of myself, my innocence, my blind faith. But then again, I am stronger and more cautious now, standing on my own two feet and looking at life and music with new hope.
There IS life after a breakup, ladies. It hurts like a motherfucker till you get there, but you will.
Perfect Picture, your first single, was a bold move, especially for the Romanian market. How did you come up with the idea behind it?
Thank you! I don’t think it’s necessarily bold, but who I am. It was my producer and director, NMC, that came up with the idea of the video and going all the way, doing what we felt and using BDSM to build a story. “Picture Perfect” was written in 2012, originally, and we waited over a year to have a powerful, pertinent idea for the video. We took our time, yes, as we do with the album now, but I’d rather be asked “When?” then “Why did you rush?“.
What comes next for Navi? What are your plans for the near future?
Oh, there are plans, there are stories to tell, there is a world of dreams out there for the taking. For now, though, I take it one step at a time and I am telling you this: something big and beautiful is coming!
Thank you, Navi, for your time and let us wish a warm Happy a little belated Birthday from the entire team at Divine!