From The Detroit Free Press:
Local Artist Spotlight: Nadir
WHO HE IS: Jonah Nadir Omowale records as Nadir Distorted Soul and makes waves with poignant, politically minded funk music. He’s celebrating his new album, “Workin’ for the Man,” which is ripe with political commentary, with a CD-release party Saturday at the Jazz CafÃ© at Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts.
AGE: 40. (40 is the new 20 – Nadir)
ON HIS ROOTS: Nadir grew up Elizabethton, Tenn., where he was a member of the church choir and played in the school marching band. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in recording industry management. Nadir played in various bands around Nashville and toured with rapper Me Phi Me in the ’90s, opening for Public Enemy and Arrested.
ON DETROIT: He moved to Detroit in 1999 to focus on his personal music — largely based in classic funk. “Detroit ended up being the perfect market with the history of funk and with the great stock of musicians,” he says. Nadir’s band Distorted Soul includes Yaminah Brock on vocals, Kamau on bass, Brandon Holland on keyboards, Rudy Washington on drums and guitarists Kris Kurzawa and Chris Sego. His debut album, “Distored Soul 2.0,” won a Detroit Music Award for outstanding urban funk/hip-hop recording in 2005.
POLITICS: Nadir is an avid (and liberal) political blogger (distortedsoul.com), which resulted in a blog for MTV that led up to the presidential election. Read it at: http://think.mtv.com/profile/Nadir. “If you don’t like what I’m writing about, then you probably won’t like my music either,” he says.
He combines his music with activism on the song “Guantanamo.” “I played it outside the White House protesting,” he says. “I think that every American and should go to Washington, D.C., and lobby for a cause they believe in to get an understanding of how laws are made in the country.”
ON HIS STYLE: Funk, layered with hip-hop flair, and lyrical composition. “Everything that I play has a lot of different influences. Funk is the one music that allows you to use the influences, a combination of R&B and soul and gospel,” he says, adding that politics is paramount to his current material. “I’ve been involved in the political movement to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney.” One up-tempo song, “Impeach the President,” explores this theme.
UPCOMING PROJECTS: Nadir is recording a new album for 2009 release that will show a more intimate side of his musical persona, focusing on love songs.
“You can think about what’s going on the world and you can still have fun and dance while you’re doing those things,” he says. He is also working with 1440 Studio Collective and is helping to launch Detroitmusic.tv, a site featuring video performances by Detroit-area bands.
By Tamara Warren, Free Press special writer