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INTERNATIONAL NOVA | THE VOICE FOR THE VOICELESS

January 11, 2022

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

If you haven’t heard of International Nova, prepare to fall in love. Hailing from the Bronx, New York, the same city where Hip Hop was birthed, the recording artist creates nothing but straight vibes. On any given day, he can be heard fondly remembering listening to nothing but Tupac one fateful summer as a kid. Now, Nova draws influences from a melting pot of genres including Latin, dancehall, R&B, Afrobeats, and everything in between.

With his breakout single “Controla” featuring Petey Pablo, Nova had copious heads turning in the music industry and beyond. Upon listening, the feel-good anthem automatically ensues good vibes and will undoubtedly have you moving on the dance floor. Currently based in Atlanta, Nova is also an actor who recently had his newest single “Dale” placed on the show Covenant, found on AMC Networks’ streamer ALLBLK.

When it comes to fashion, Nova reveals his love for both worlds. “Fashion and music have always been intertwined in my eyes”, he states. “In 2022, I am aiming to further solidify the relationship between both.”

Flaunt caught up with International Nova via Instagram Live, who had his puppy by his side. Read below as we discuss his current state of mind, love for animals, being a voice for the voiceless, where he draws inspo, his song playing in Covenant, new single “Dale,” collaborating with Ne-Yo, love for fashion, his It’s Nova Baby merch, and more!

How have you been since we last spoke?

Oh man, we’ve been good. We’ve been really busy. The record has kept moving. “Controla” has gotten to be this big phenomenon of a record. We’ve been so busy doing photoshoots, magazine interviews, things like that. Just really lucky and really blessed at the same time, you know?

That’s where I’m at right now! Just filled with gratitude.

That’s the other thing right now. With Corona/Covid, we’re losing so many people. You have to be thankful to just be alive, which is crazy but it’s the world we’re living in.

What’s one thing you took away from 2021?

Honestly being thankful. Not only for what’s happening in my career but for life in general. With COVID, we’re losing so many people. You have to be thankful to be here because so many people didn’t wake up. I’ve gotten to a place where everyday that I wake up, I really want to thank God for what’s been happening in my life and my career. I made it a point to do that as much as I can because a lot of times, we forget and take for granted the simplest things in life.

I love that! How are you helping others?

I’m the brand ambassador for the LifeLine Animal Project. It’s the biggest animal organization in Georgia. I became the brand ambassador sometime over the summer. Their aim is to end unnecessary euthanization and to get as many dogs, cats, really all animals adopted and out of shelters.

Have you always had a soft spot for animals?

Yeah, animals have always been everything for me. My dogs are my family, they’re my kids. For me, I’ve always said that “I want to be the voice of the voiceless,” and I feel like animals are that as well.

How are you the voice for the voiceless in the music space?

First and foremost, if we’re not using our platform and celebrity to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves, then we’re doing a disservice. For me it’s always been about what can I do to take what International Nova is going to become, to help out my community? Help out my people, and our people.

One of the things we’re focusing on here is starting a non-profit geared toward kids and the families going through a lot of these tough times in these impoverished neighborhoods. I want to really focus and see what we can do for single mothers. My mom took care of me and my sister so for me, that’s always something I’m very conscious about.

Was there a turning point when you realized you could do music for a living?

Growing up, I was around a lot of music legends and I never thought that I could. I never thought I was good enough growing up, because I was always around such talent. We started doing music, released a couple records, and it got really big overseas. We had a record called “NY Swag,” that became a really big global phenomenon. That’s when I realized I can do this.

Is that how you picked up the International Nova persona?

It goes beyond a persona. First of all, Nova is my real last name. I’ve always wanted to make that a point to let people know. Because sometimes as artists, as creatives, we take on this persona and sometimes it becomes bigger than life. For me, it’s never about that because I’m Nova 24/7. I understand that it’s a job and I have to use the persona to give back and to help, but realistically, I try to be as close to who I am to a person, in and out of the music industry as possible.

Where do you draw your biggest inspiration from?

I try to, of course, always speak from my perspective and what I’ve been through. Whether it’s a party song or heartbreak record, whether it’s speaking about some of the tough times I went through in the Bronx. Whether I’m in the studio or outside, I love getting the perspective of what others are going through in their life. How can I speak on that and make it universal? Because everybody has a bad day, everybody has a great day. It’s those times in between that really define who people are.

Your music is straight vibes. How would you describe your sound?

Over the years, my sound has changed to being more universal. I’ve always thought outside the box. Having our little bit of celebrity run in Germany and the UK really put me in the mindframe to be universal, to think beyond the States. Now as an artist, I’ve incorporated Latin music, Afro, all these different Caribbean sounds to what I’m doing, but I’ve also still included Hip-Hop and R&B. It’s become a really unique mixture of not only two different languages, but all these different genres mixed into one.

Someone said you can dance your ass off?

I got a mean two step, that’s about it. [laughs]

How did it feel when your new single debuted in AMC’s Covenant?

Yeah man, shout out to Covenant. Shoutout to Tre(Ace). Tre(Ace) is a huge songwriter in the industry, he’s nominated for a Grammy. He’s doing a lot of music supervising when it comes to TV shows, things like that. Of course I knew my song got picked to be in the show, but it was funny because I ended up going to the red carpet for the debut of the show — not realizing that this is the show that my song is on. I’m literally sitting in the movie theater and out of nowhere, I hear my song playing.

I’m looking around like “who’s playing my song? Not realizing that it’s on the screen. My bro Bishop said, “Nah dude, that’s on the screen!” I thought “this is crazy.” I started texting my manager because again, I didn’t realize that this was the show that my song was on. It was an amazing feeling. Whenever you hear your music on the radio or TV, no matter how many times it’s happened for you – every time you do it, it’s an amazing feeling of “wow, I’ve made it.”

Talk about creating your new single, “Dale.”

It’s funny. People hear “Controla,” it was an amazing record that did amazing things, but “Dale” is completely different from “Controla.” I’m rapping more than I’m singing off this record, versus “Controla” being an R&B Afro record really. It’s very uptempo, it’s a club. Every time I play the record, it reminds me of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Creating the record was fun. It was one of the nights man, 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. Bored, trying to figure out what to do, just putting out some ideas. My manager walks in as I’m working on the record and asks, “Hey, what is that”? I said “it’s just an idea, I’ma go to the next one.” He said, “Nah, let’s finish that.” And “Dale” ended up being what it is.

When does it officially drop?

Feb 4th, we’ll be dropping “Dale”. It’ll be available at midnight on all platforms. We’re also going to be shooting the video to “Dale” at the end of January.

What can we expect from the video?

I love movies. We’re going to be showing some love to a couple of old school classics. I don’t want to give it away too much because then I’ll be giving away the whole video, but there’s going to be some dancing in it and of course, the signature sexy vibe I like to bring to my visuals.

I heard you have a collaboration with Ne-Yo in the works?

Shout to my partner Keyz Da Mogul. Ne-Yo has a TV Show coming out on Starz called Step Up. It’s Ne-Yo, Channing Tatum, Christina Milian, and Faizon Love. They’re going to be in the show and it will debut at the start of this year. We produced the theme song with Ne-Yo. We’re hoping and we think it’ll be as big or hopefully bigger than what Power was. Shout out to Ne-Yo, shout out to that whole camp man. Shout out to my brother Columbus Short as well, for his album and TV show coming out as well. Right now, things are really moving in a positive direction and I’m so happy.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

My fashion style is a mixture of urban of course, but I’m trying to get more of a taste of high-end fashion. I’ve always been a fashion guy, first of all. Me being a New York guy and being Latin and being Dominican, I always added my own flavor to things. 2022 is going to be a lot of that: a lot of styles that I haven’t done before. Some of these most recent photo shoots will have people pleasantly surprised.

 Where do you get your fashion inspo?

Oh man, New York City. I’m a Bronx kid. You can take the kid out of the Bronx, but you can’t take the Bronx out of the kid.

Any specific people that influenced your fashion?

No, I like to take bits and pieces of different eras. Growing up, I was a huge Michael Jackson fan. I used to love how he rocked them hats, his sense of style was different. Being unique is being you and that’s what I want to be always; Nova. Even if I borrow or have inspiration from other people, other artists, other models, I want to give it my own twist and my own flair.

Who’s your favorite Spanish artist?

My favorite Spanish artist is Daddy Yankee. The dude is legendary. There’s so many different Latin artists that I as an artist myself gain inspiration from. Daddy Yankee is one because not only is he a dope artist, he’s really big on giving back to his community and that’s one of things I’m really big on.

Talk about your new Nova merch.

“It’s Nova Baby” is my new merch. For a long time, people were asking me to come out with a merch line and different things. For a while, I didn’t know if people were going to be interested in that, but they are. Since we put it out, it’s been flying off the shelves. If anybody wants to get “It’s  Nova Baby “merch, we have sweaters, tracksuits, t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, you name it. Hit me in the DM or my page. We have an email account as well: BuyNovaBaby@Gmail.com.. Trying to be as creative as I can. People don’t realize that I do all the merch myself. I’m physically picking up the shirts and pressing the shirts, doing all that stuff. It’s pretty cool.

Hit me in the DM or my page. We have an email account as well: BuyNovaBaby@Gmail.com..

 What can we expect next from you?

Everything. One of the biggest things I’m excited for is these foundations we’re looking to set. Shout out to my publicist Lesley Logan! We’re really looking into creating a music school in the Dominican Republic. We’re very early in the stages of it, but I really want to make it an effort to really give back to our people this year. I want to do my part and help. That’s really what I’m looking for. I’m really looking forward to doing the music thing, but as that flourishes, these foundations are things I want to do.

Where does this desire to help others come from? Respect.

Honestly, it came from my mom. She was a nurse. My family’s full of nurses, she was one of those who were very unselfish. She always gave back to the community. She’s the local mom that everybody went to. She’d feed all the kids in the neighborhood. I remember one day, we got somehow caught up in a shootout in the Bronx. I remember when we were ducking for cover and trying to stay safe, the moment that last shot ran out, my mom ran. What she ran to was to help one of the people that got shot. Her being a nurse, she knew what to do medically. I will always remember that. When everyone else was running away, she was running towards danger and was looking to help. That’s always been something that’s been stuck in my head. If she can do that, then I can at least do my part.

What does mom think of your music career?

She’s super happy. She just moved back to the Dominican Republic and retired over there. She’s working for the president currently. She’s one of my biggest fans, if not my biggest fan. Coming up with her own song lyrics that she wants me to flip and interpret, I get a lot of inspiration from Mama Nova.

Anything else you want to let the people know?

Thank you everyone tuning in. I’m really, really, really appreciative of all the support. “Controla” wasn’t supposed to be what it became. It was supposed to be a teaser, a gift bag to my fans to let them know “hey, I’m still here.” It became this huge thing for me, and became the biggest record of my career. I want to thank the fans because without the fans, without my supporters, there wouldn’t be International Nova. I always want to thank the fans first and foremost, and my team. Thank you for supporting me and believing in me, and people like you for giving me a platform and a chance to speak.

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