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Nur-D on ‘Trapped In My Room,’ a new EP he ‘MacGyvered’ alone at home

Nur-D performs at First Avenue, January 2020. (Helen Teague/MPR)

Local hip-hop artist, Nur-D, was originally scheduled to co-host the Morning Show with Jill Riley for one morning recently, but due to current events, that was postponed. Instead, Jill Riley got a chance to catch up with Nur-D over the phone to discuss the release of his new EP, Trapped in My Room, as well as how he keeps a positive mindset in the midst of a global crisis.

Jill Riley: Nur-D, how are you going?

Nur-D: Doing good as can be expected, the most common phrase I hear.

Let’s start with something really positive. What was the thing that you did with the Paisley Park stream?

Just last Saturday, I was with Paisley Park for a little pop-up concert. It was very cool. They had reached out to me because they had seen my “Quarantined World Tour” that I did not too long ago. They wanted to be a part of helping raise money for local artists, and putting on a show and putting on beautiful music. Me, my DJ, and my background singer all stood six feet from each other in the studio and did a whole concert livestreamed on their Facebook Live.

Now you weren’t at Paisley Park; you were at your own studio, right?

No, we were not at Paisley Park, because they shut down, along with everything else. They wanted to do the next best thing, which was putting it on their online presence, the online Paisley Park universe.

We’re kind of in this time of postponements where some musicians are choosing to delay the release of their new music. Some musicians are pushing up the date and saying, “Let’s get it out there.” Do you have anything to share, as far as new music goes?

Yeah, actually one of the things that I announced on that livestream with Paisley Park was that I have a brand new EP called Trapped in My Room. I started writing it as soon I realized that all of my shows were either cancelled or postponed indefinitely. I was like, “I need to do something with all this creativeness.” I have other projects that have been working, but I can’t really afford to go to the studio right now. There’s not a whole lot of work for me to do, so this was like a return to roots. I got to get with my pad and pen, and record everything in my room, write everything in my room, even editing and mixing. It was like a MacGyver of how to make a great record with just the stuff you have around you. It’s been fantastic, so I’m really excited for that to drop.

So Nur-D, where can people find it? Where can people find you on the internet?

You can find me at @nurdrocks on Instagram and Twitter. There’s also nurdrocks.com, it has a little bit more information about everything I’m doing. This is going to be dropping on Bandcamp exclusively, for now. Then we’ll work on getting it to all the streaming services, but one of the things that is streaming now is my new single, “Chi-Chi,” that I released a couple weeks early. I wanted to make sure people knew there was still music coming from the Nur-D camp.

Can you describe a Nur-D show for anyone who hasn’t seen you live? Give people something to look forward to when we can all gather in a room again.

Yeah, when we’re back together again we can get this jukebox rocket back into the air. Let me tell you, a Nur-D show is, at least I think, something you’re not going to want to miss. We’ve got my whole horn section, guitars, bass, drums, singers. We’re dancing. We’re moving. We’ve got little choreographed dance moves, a little hip-hop, a little rock, a little blues. It’s really just a culmination of all the things that we like as musicians. It’s really fun to play with a group of friends who really get how weird I am, and are a part of it.

What do you do to keep yourself in a good state of mind, personally?

Something I do personally is create, [which] is always helpful. I think one of the best and easiest ways to continue to have a positive outlook is finding ways to help others. I know sometimes it’s tough when it’s just you alone with your own thoughts, and you kind of lose sight. You know the saying “I have great advice for everybody’s life but my own”? Sometimes when you focus on helping other people, whether it be in a small way or a large way, you tend to look for ways to be positive because you’re looking to help someone else. That does trickle into your own mentality and your own mindset. That focus really does help turn things around.

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