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  • Something has shifted. Something between The East and The West. There’s a New Frontier and there’s a New Citizenship. L.A Tokyo Moscow London Shanghai Bucharest Bangkok Milan NewYorkCity Seoul Paris Zurich Madrid Berlin Beijing. Aserican are from Everywhere. Aserica. It's Asia - America - and the Whole World in between.

    EXCLUSIVE

    The Singer.

    The Singer, LA girl Zarina Nares photographed by Jenna Putnam.
    Photography by Jenna Putnam, Fashion Editor Ryan Rosewall, Make up by Sydney Costley.

    Zarina Nares is a singer and model based in Los Angeles, with undeniable talent. Her work is imbued in what could be described as a sweet sadness. Simple jazzy and bluesy riffs make way for the powerful yet subtle sounds of her voice, instilling her music with a youthful yet matured charm. Aserica had the pleasure to ask her a few questions about her personal background and her creative process.

    XP: Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

    ZN: I was born and raised in Tribeca, New York City.

    XP: What was your favourite thing to do as a kid?

    ZN: My older sister and I would put on talent shows or “fashion shows” (layering halloween costumes and bed sheets) in our homemade living room theater (a window seat with a thick curtain in front of it). When my parent’s friends would come over I would sit by the piano and start playing and singing (I’m sure dreadful) songs I wrote about whatever was going on in my five year old life, while they smoked cigarettes and half paid attention. I didn’t care that much for an audience, it never felt like a need for attention, though I am sure my sisters would argue otherwise but I used any excuse to perform. I did ballet for thirteen years and all the school musicals. I loved to be on stage, it always felt more comfortable than real life.

    XP: What got you interested in singing?

    ZN: I started taking piano lessons when I was four years old. At the end-of-year recital the last person to perform was a fourteen year old girl, who at the time seemed so cool and grownup. She sang an Italian opera piece. I don’t know the name of the song but I can still hear it in my head and hum the melody. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and heard. I remember the way it made me feel so clearly, every button in my four year old body was pressed by her voice. I had all the reactions, the goosebumps, the teary eyes, the jaw dropped. I never stopped singing after that. My mother insists I’ve been singing since I was born but that’s beyond my memory.

    XP: Who are your favourite artists? Which singers or people inspire you most?

    ZN: I could listen to only Billie Holiday for the rest of my life and live happily ever after. Actually Billie Holiday and 1960s Girl Groups. I grew up listening to a compilation vinyl called “Girl Group Greats!” Which included songs by Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Shirelles, The Ronettes, The Shangri-Las, The Chiffons, Martha and The Vandellas. I just adore all those songs, that perfect combination of doo-wop, rock and roll and pop. I can almost always enjoy anything that was written in the Brill Building and anything with Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound (thought not the biggest fan of Spector as a person). I am also inspired by Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters. The list and paragraph really could go on forever…

    XP: How has exploring your creative side changed you?

    ZN: Exploring my creative side has allowed me to better understand myself and my thoughts, process my feelings and take ownership of them. It’s taught me that I don’t need to feel guilty for expressing myself, especially as a young woman. It is also (slowly) helping me feel confident in the choices I make, artistically and in life.

    XP: I see you are getting into modeling too. What attracted you to modeling?

    ZN: I was so broke and needed to pay my bills...but modeling is fun! It’s like playing dress up for a living, playing house in a world created by someone else. And I have gotten to meet and work with so many amazing, talented individuals. I am very grateful for that.

    XP: What’s your personal style out in the world?

    ZN: Prints on prints on prints. Lots of color. I am either dressed extremely casually or dressed as if I am shooting an editorial. Always underdressed or overdressed, there is rarely an in between.

    XP: What do you hope for the world? If you could make a wish...

    ZN: That’s such a tough question because the world is so flawed in so many ways, on so many levels, so where do we begin? But if I could make one wish it would be a world of only acceptance, tolerance and coexistence. There are no “superiors” or “others”. Just a common understanding that we are of one race, the human race, existing in a system where we are all actually equal and entitled to the same opportunities.

    XP: What are your personal goals for the future?

    ZN: To finish this album I have been working on for (what feels like) FOREVER!