Q

'Sadness is universal': Safia Nolin on how her new album transcends language

Nolin's haunting new ballads tell stories of anxiety, body shaming and unrequited love.

Nolin's haunting new ballads tell stories of anxiety, body shaming and unrequited love

Safia Nolin performing in the q studio in Toronto, Ont. (Vivian Rashotte/CBC)
Listen20:27

Originally published on October 26, 2018

In 2012, Safia Nolin released a YouTube video of her singing Igloo, the first song she ever wrote and recorded. Nolin didn't know it at the time, but Igloo would become one of the most popular tracks on her first album, Limoilou three years later.

In many ways, that video was the first step in a journey that would see Nolin win critical acclaim, fans and a number of awards, but also, a lot of attention that she never asked for. In Quebec, Nolin found herself at the centre of a conversation about freedom of expression, body positivity and sexism in music.

While Nolin says that anxiety has been her constant companion, even through the most successful and happiest moments of her career, she insists that music has given her a reason to live. 

With her new album, Dans le noir out nowand as she prepares to embark on an international tour, Nolin stops by the q studio for a performance and chat with host Tom Power. 

Safia Nolin performs Je ne comprends pas from her new album Dans le noir LIVE in the q studio. 2:56
Safia Nolin performs Miroir from her new album Dans le noir LIVE in the q studio. 3:05

Listen to the full conversation with Safia Nolin near the top of this page. 

Produced by ​Saroja Coelho

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