An emerging star, Naaz has been through a lot as an artist and even more growing up in a refugee household with the dream of pursuing her love of music. Despite gaining millions of streams, playing sold-out shows across Europe and receiving critical acclaim for her debut self-produced EP Bits Of Naaz and its follow-up the beautiful struggle, behind the scenes the struggle was very real. Coming to a head in 2020 Naaz was done with music and major labels, early retirement felt like the only option especially given the strain it was having on her mental health.
Picking herself back up, the only way she knew how, through her creative process and therapy, she went back to her roots, making music in her bedroom. Ultimately pouring every part of her journey into what would become her debut album; Dutch public broadcaster 3voor12 produced a documentary covering the production of the record, giving Naaz the opportunity to tell her story to the nation.
New single ‘Uproot’ goes back to the very beginning of that journey and touches on some of the restrictive experiences Naaz has overcome. “Imagine a fig tree placed in a too-small pot on a rooftop,” she explains, “just as a plant can only grow as much as its pot allows, people too can only go as far as their circumstances permit. ‘Uproot’ revolves around the desire to grow and reach one’s full potential, even in challenging circumstances.”
“The song touches on feelings of being trapped, loneliness, and sometimes having to do things you don’t want to do just to survive. Despite these obstacles, the longing to grow and break free from these constraints remains strong. The song emphasises resilience and the desire for freedom and growth, even if it means temporarily bending or doing things that don’t align with your values, so that eventually, you can “uproot.””
More than just an accomplished storyteller, Naaz’s musicianship shines through as her sound continues to evolve. Deviating away from traditional pop structures ‘Uproot’ thrives around a base of hip hop influenced drums, folk-inspired guitars and her Middle Eastern indebted melodies. Referencing the vast worlds which artists like Caroline Polachek and Rosalía inhabit, Naaz’s commitment to artistic expression and experimentation is palpable.
Paired with a self-directed short film, Naaz adds “this song humanises people who sometimes end up in criminality, women who can’t always follow the feminist path, and the dark consequences of hiding your true nature. It reminds us that everyone has a story and that growing and surviving sometimes means stepping outside of expected paths.” Off the back of an incredible year where Naaz has thrived as her authentic self, this growth really shines through with ‘Uproot’, its her own testament to life outside of that too-small pot.