Amidst the swirling news surrounding the banning of immigrants from entering our country and the possibility of a wall being built to protect our southern border, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the impact foreign culture has had on America, and more specifically, in the Metro Atlanta Area.
For this feat, I teamed up with the lovely and talented Nori Amada for an eclectic photo shoot in Downtown Decatur. Nori is the descendant of an immigrant family who has since established their roots in the Atlanta metro area. In an afternoon of pure spontaneity, we found ourselves sipping tea in Java Monkey, posing against art murals painted on brick walls and recreating classic scenes from James Bond films under the famous blue gazebo.
It wasn’t until we stumbled upon Jeri's Splendid Ice Creams where she put on an impromptu concert that I realized that, Nori’s beautiful spirit is what draws others in and allows them to connect with her. So kind and generous, it’s hard not to want to see her succeed.
Similar to many who move to the United States to create a new life, Nori is in pursuit of her dream and is working diligently to carve out her space within Atlanta’s growing music scene. Fresh off a performance in Las Vegas and recently featured as the muse for Baylee, a fictional character in the book Infini, she is charged up and ready to let the world see the depths of her personality.
Jonathan Tease: For the record, how do you pronounce your name?
Nori Amada: Nori Amada. You have to roll both the “R’s”
JT: *Rolls tongue*
NA: *laughs* Exactly! You got it!
JT: Tell me about your music. How long have you been doing it?
NA: Professionally, I’ve been taking this journey for about a year and a half.
JT: And unprofessionally?
NA: Since I was 5. I would close the door to my room so no one could hear me. Obviously, they would still hear me, but I would sing my lungs out basically. That was something I would do every day. It was my favorite past time.
JT: what would you sing?
NA: I used to sing a variety of different genres. My favorite artists at that time were Selena and Whitney Houston. When I got a little bit older I also sang Aaliyah and Destiny’s Child. I used to listen to a lot of pop music, and rock, and country, and dance like techno so all of that. Oh! And salsa and reggae, of course, because that was what was played in my house.
JT: Tell me about your roots.
NA: I’m Panamanian. Both of my parents were born in Panama. My grandma on my mom’s side was born in Costa Rica. On my dad’s side there’s some Jamaican lineage so I grew up having a background in Caribbean & Latin roots I guess.
JT: How does being in downtown Decatur reflect your everyday life?
NA: Well I’ve always loved Downtown Decatur. In fact, when I moved here from New York I lived in Decatur so I’m very familiar with the area and I’ve seen it grow… A lot! It’s brought in a lot of demographics and a lot of people. I love it. It’s like a little city of it’s own.
JT: It definitely feels like a different city
NA: It’s not Atlanta, but it’s still nice and quaint and I love that. They have events going on and there are plenty of shops you can go to.
JT: It definitely has a buzz of its own, and it screams creativity.
NA: It does! I think it’s very artistic!
JT: So is there anything that you want to capture as we go shoot?
NA: I want to capture the free-spirited side of me. I haven’t shown people that I laugh, I make jokes, and do crazy things. That’s why I say that I’m really mysterious because you don’t know what you are going to get. I want to be able to step out of that shell a little bit more, and I think music has done that for me tremendously.
JT: The pursuit of the journey?
NA: Yes! I was afraid of singing in front of people. That’s why I would close my door so that even my family wouldn’t hear me. But once I started pursuing my music, then obviously people would ask me to sing and of course I’ve been on stage. So I’ve definitely opened up.
JT: Alright, well let’s go capture your alter ego
NA: *Laughs* alright, let’s go!