nasimiYu Leads Us Through the Magic of “P O T I O N S” Track by Track
After a seven-year hiatus, the dancer/activist/musician returns with ten glorious tracks.
It’s been seven years since nasimiYu has released music—seven years that the musician/dancer/activist took to stew her latest album P O T I O N S, which bursts with intimate self-discovery and innovative reflections on dreams and magic. nasimiYu performed, recorded, and produced all of P O T I O N S at home during quarantine.
Some tracks simmer, while others bubble with transcendent clapping and a wandering bass line. nasimiYu showcases her vast musical knowledge—an integral part of the music scene in NYC and New Orleans, participating in bands Baeb Rxxth, Sharkmuffin, and Kalbells. The movement on P O T I O N S ranges from patient to jovial, with tempos and rhythms weaving together harmoniously, drawn from her background in dance. “Dance is the only language that I speak fluently. Everything that I write and everything that I communicate in my daily life is just me trying to translate that,” she explaines.
Today, she walks us through these ten captivating tracks. Listen to P O T I O N S below and read her words on the album.
I chose it as the opener because it’s about the awakening that sparked everything else on this album. When I say “I’m in my feelings,” I’m talking about every color on the emotional spectrum, feeling and purging all of it, and thus experiencing humanness as intensely as possible.
This song is absolutely about how dreams can span generations, and how humbled I feel to be a part of that. The opening is in Swahili. It’s a prayer I wrote to the ancestors.
3. “White Lightning”
White Lightning is dopamine. As I was writing it I was looking at relationship cycles through the lens of addiction. I recorded that song on the Wurlitzer organ in my living room. I played the parts directly into my laptop’s built-in mic—that’s how it got that cool lo-fi sounding distortion. The song does this thing where it uses the same melody for the verses, but dramatically different chords. I felt like that highlighted the way that the same story can seem sweet or horrifying depending on the backdrop. And that was my experience of living out the relationship I described in the song.
My favorite magic ritual is using dance to extract hidden wisdom from the body. Going so far with it that my mind is just quietly observing while my body tells its own incredible stories.
This song is definitely about getting trapped in a cyclical pattern. The flute on that song is a small bamboo pan flute I picked up on one of my many visits to Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s normally just a decoration on my mantle, but it’s cool that it got to make such a notable cameo on the record.
When coming up with a new song, I like to start differently every time. It keeps me from getting stuck in ruts. This song started with the bass line. From there I added harp, then a little piano. I finished most of the music production before I started coming up with the lead vocal idea. Then lyrics came last. The line about bravery was in reference to that moment in therapy when you realize you’re not as evolved as you thought you were.
It’s ultimately about surrender. I wrote that song in the middle of song-a-day week. My therapist had called to break up with me that morning. I was a wreck after that. So I put it into this song.
8. “Who Are You” / 9. “Ceremony”
I have always been drawn toward mediums that deal on a level of invisible connectivity. From being a kid and mixing what I saw as magic potions and spells, to later running away to New Orleans and working in a voodoo shop. Magic is very much a part of this album because I see every song as casting its own sort of spell. I think there is a great deal of power behind the sung word and I don’t take that power lightly. When making this record, I really felt the need to honor that power by using it only for what is true and sacred to me.
I wanted to end on the note of coming full circle in my healing journey, to a place where I was at last ready to be accountable for the ways I’ve been hurtful in the past. Writing this song was an exercise in personal growth. It was me pushing myself beyond my comfort zone into the deepest vulnerability I could find, and then learning to sit with myself in that space.