Girl Named Nino lays out a clear path with fresh single, upcoming project
Girl Named Nino is not here to make you feel comfortable.
But she is trying to tell you how to push for what's yours. To inspire you to step up and do the work. And to enjoy the life that comes from it.
In her upcoming single "Let's Ride," out Friday, Nino Arobelidze -- who emigrated with her family from her native Tbilisi, Georgia, when she was 14 before settling in Lake County and attending Lake Forest High School -- looks beyond the struggle and parses out the process buried within her plans.
The buoyant "Let's Ride" draws listeners in with the beautiful grittiness in Girl Named Nino's jazzy vocals as she slyly observes, reflects and lays out her path. Sure, wispy hints of Amy Winehouse dance throughout the indie-soul track, but the song is undeniably Nino's. Through her music, she makes real a lifetime of challenges: balancing ties to her upbringing while adjusting to a drastically different culture; striving to succeed as a woman in the music business; and building a happy family life counter to the myth that artists must always be suffering.
"I am aware of how blessed I am to be alive and to have a place to live and to have a family, so that really grounds me. And the things that I didn't want to follow that I found with a lot of people I admired musically is the world told them if they have music they couldn't have other things like family or a happy balanced life because art requires suffering and struggle. And that's a myth," she said. "Life will kick your butt, no matter what. Enough has happened to me that I don't seek it out to be dramatic and have a rock 'n' roll life. I think it's a really dangerous place musicians get put into in what they're told, what we hear and what we see with some artists."
Nino, a classically trained graduate of the DePaul University School of Music, knows her perspective on life is unique, and she revels in that nonconformity. She knows where her North Star is, and she isn't about to lose sight of it.
"Got a little wings and heart/Meant for bigger conversations/Round and round the bend we go."
Through "Let's Ride," she puts a face on self-empowerment and resilience.
"I feel like there's a lot I have to constantly tread through to find my comfort in being who I am and living in a world that's constantly directing you to be something else," she said. "And that's something that everybody can relate to, no matter where they're from or what their story is. I find that's my blueprint. I write my music in my identity, which is this person who has had a lot of change in her life and found a way to be grounded in being really excited about just being alive. I'm so grateful."
"Let's Ride" is the start of her upcoming "Au Cinema" project, a collection of music, videos and imagery connecting her history to her present. Fans of Girl Named Nino got a taste when she played the Lakeview East Festival of the Arts last weekend with band members Pablo Gordy, Greg Artry and Brendan Bott. But the rest of us will have to wait a bit for the full project to unfold.
"It's coming out in a way that's an experience, like bits and pieces of storytelling, kind of forming and reforming the artist's identity that's totally congruent with myself as an artist and not just a persona," she said. "I don't have an alter ego. It's me making the stuff, right? So trying to figure out where the boundary is. How do you narrate your life and share yourself without it being too reality TV-like or too self indulgent and self-important?"