Sound Off! takes over MoPOP in just a little over a week, and we’re getting pumped to see all of this year’s incredible talent in action.

We took a moment to get to know each performer a bit better in advance of the Semifinals. Now you can get to know them, too!

Drawing on influences from traditional soul and blues singers, atmospheric indie and electronic music, and his East African heritage, NËSTRÄ creates a unique R&B sound filled with smooth vocals, atmospheric synth, and rhythms that seep inside your bones. As a first-generation immigrant, his lyrics reflects the raw emotion of growing up in a country and culture foreign to his family while navigating love, the loss of family to Africa, and the determination to succeed.

Check out this clip, and then read the whole interview below.

What does being part of Sound Off! mean to you?

It’s a great responsibility, because you have to prepare yourself for something that’s very Jurassic and big. The judges and everyone in this program expect a lot from you. It means a Jurassic amount of responsibility and execution on stage.

Nestra profile

Why do you make music? How does creating make you feel?

Music is the only thing that makes me sane. That’s what I say. I have a really hectic life, so music is definitely like therapy. It’s therapeutic for me. It’s like a personal journal, for example, when I’m writing music. It’s like storytelling. It’s always there, and that’s why I write music.

What do you hope to achieve through your music?

I want to change how R&B is perceived. Most R&B artists don’t really use live bands when they perform. I want to change how R&B’s translated. I want to fuse a lot of genres together like R&B, Jazz, Soul, [and] Blues all together into one genre. My goal is to create a genre. And that’s what I have to offer.

Nestra medium closeup

Describe your music using only emojis.

That’s a good one. A wave emoji, because I’m wavy. Meaning, it’s going to make your head nod when you listen to it. An alien emoji because I feel like my music is not just for earth. And a globe emoji because I do want my music to be international.

NËSTRÄ performs at Sound Off! Semifinals #2 on February 16. Don’t miss it.

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