Girl Named Nino is not here to make you feel comfortable.
But she is trying to tell you how to push. 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,” due out next week, Nino Arobelidze — who emigrated with her family from her native Tbilisi, Georgia, when she was 14 before settling in Lake County — looks beyond the struggle and parses out the process buried within her plans.
The buoyant “Let’s Ride” draws you in with a 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 tortured.
“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 thing 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 isn’t about to lose sight of it, even if it’s part of a different race than everybody else is running.
“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. And gratitude.
“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 just the start of Nino’s upcoming “Au Cinema” story, a collection of music, videos and imagery connecting her history to her present. And while that full project won’t be out for a while, fans of Girl Named Nino can experience her new music when she plays Sunday afternoon at the Lakeview East Festival of the Arts with her band Pablo Gordy, Greg Artry and Brendan Bott.
More than 150 fine arts and craft sellers will be on display over the weekend, along with food and drink vendors, kids activities and two stages of music.
Girl Named Nino is making her second appearance at the fest; she will play the XRT Garden Stage (at the intersection of Roscoe and Broadway) at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
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Lakeview East Festival of the Arts
When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 12
Where: Along Broadway between Hawthorne and Belmont
Tickets: $5 suggested donation for admission; find more info at lakevieweastfestivalofthearts.com
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