The mesmerising pop-noir star looking towards the future.
NUUXS – pronounced “Nooks” and short for her real name, Anouk – has a story unlike any other. Born in France, she moved to the UK with her family when she was 10 years old when her mother ended up marrying an oppressive cult leader (told you it was unlike any other) and she was banned from any kind of life outside of his tyrannical rule. Growing up not listening to music, with no friends and her only source of literature being the Bible, she would steal the family radio in the dead of night and listen to the music she had been forbidden to.
Finding solace in the music, she eventually garnered the strength to escape at 15 and headed to London. There NUUXS began diving into the music world, forming an indie band and writing hooks for grime artists, all while planning her own rise to the top.
And now she’s fully ready to take her place in the spotlight with her brand new EP “Red Tape, Vol. 1”. A stunning piece of shimmering pop-noir, the four-track record flits between darkness and light in a completely mesmerising and effortless way. And we caught up with her to find out just what it’s all about…
How have your early years influenced what you do now?
I think with anything, once you’ve been through something and you look back and think, “wow how did I manage to get through that or get here?” You just get on with it, life is always throwing curve balls at you from personal to work situations even doing an extreme sport – I’ve never skied or wakeboarded before until quite recently and never thought I ever would, yet here I am still all in one piece! I’m so grateful to have a career in my passion and I look back on my life not as broken but as a whirl of experiences that give me strength to keep going.
What was it like to have free access to music after not being allowed to listen to it for so long?
It was weird because I’d talk to new friends not having shared my past and would have no idea who’d they’d be talking about sometimes and had to get googling fast. In a way that helped me discover the classics as well as newer artists. When I first listened to “secular” music I had this weird surge of guilt as if I had done something wrong, it took me a little while to get over it.
Who has influenced you musically since then?
I’ve always loved R&B because of my sister, she’d listen to Usher, Aaliyah, TLC, Blackstreet. I also love Sting, after I’d first watched Léon it was the soundtrack they played at the end, I love that film – and I love my deep house and a bit of garage just reminds me of good times. One of my favourite bands is Phoenix, they were introduced to me when I was in France by some old friends and we all had the best time.
What role did music come to play in your life?
I have always loved music, my dad would sing a lot of Lao karaoke with the family when I was little and my mum was a ballerina and she would love to dance and listen to Gloria Estefan, Bon Jovi, Elton John. I remember having my first lead role in a school play when I was nine as Blousey Brown from Bugsy Malone and I just felt this light inside of me, something of my own, my own voice that no one could take from me. I then started to write short poems and I remember my younger brother asking “Why are you writing random words?” Because it didn’t actually make sense as I’d brainstorm words across the paper because I was embarrassed that people would read them, so I’d write them on different pieces, almost like a puzzle so it stayed private.
So you started out writing hooks for grime artists, do you draw on that experience when you write now?
For sure, I mean, I love that moment when everyone can sing along. I’m always forgetting songs I hear and the verses but there’s always that moment when everyone can sing along and I’m definitely not an MC.
What made you want to become an artist yourself?
I just want to share what I have like so many other artists have with me. I’ve done quite a few shows and I feel like I’ve connected with people in such a deep way I couldn’t explain really. It’s special for sure when you know you’ve sung for someone and it’s helped them in some way.
Congrats on your new single “No Good For Me”, can you tell us what the song’s about?
This song’s about getting real with yourself and no longer accepting people that use you. If people hold you back over and over again and there is a pattern it’s up to you to change it.
How would you describe its sound?
I would say it’s alternative with a sassy groove, feel good vibes with a bit of 90s R&B, it’s a real mix. It’s NUUXS.
What do you want people to feel when they listen to it?
Empowered and not so guilty about making that break for themselves and hopefully get their heads boppin’ a bit too.
How does it compare to the rest of your new “Red Tape” mixtape?
I’d say it fits in really well, it was the first song I wrote that sparked this new direction of sound. I love experimenting, I love new music, learning about older songs, digging deeper. Variety is the spice of life.
Can you tell us anything about the other tracks?
They are fun, a little quirky and personal too. They’re definitely individual in their own right too. I’m really excited for everyone to hear them.
Why do you think people relate to your lyrics?
I think I just say what I have to say as if I’m saying it to a friend, I wouldn’t turn around and say “thou art the complexities of my immortal soul.” It should go like “you’re just no good for me right now” if it’s coming from me.
What are the aims for the future?
I want to tour and share my music with as many people that love what they hear as possible. My headspace right now is also gearing up to a first album which I really want to take my time with and enjoy to the fullest. Get even more creative and collaborate with like minded artists. I’d love to have a song on a big film one day, of course a Bond film would be the dream.