We are not sure if we can keep up with her energy; her restlessness, eagerness and joy enraptures us. However Nil is not just that, these sides that are instantly recognisable are only one facet of the mirror. She is a perfectionist, for example. She knows exactly what she wants, and it’s better to keep away once she draws into her shell. Isn’t this normal though? We watch the side of her that is different from what people think or assume her to be, with awe…
If we had to guess, we picture your life like a musical; with birds folding your clothing and flowers bowing down to you every morning. Where does this positive energy come from? More importantly, how do you manage to stay up when you encounter negativity?
This is the one question I get the most, how weird! I guess it looks like I am always in a positive mood. Good, good. However it’s not quite like that from the inside. I am a tight-assed, worrisome and indecisive type all at the same time. With a little bit of joy and levity added on. Like sweet and sour sauce. But in order to understand that, I would have to let someone in, so naturally few people know me like that. The truth is whoever you ask will say that Nil is cheerful and optimistic. This comes from birth. Humor. Where we look at things from is mostly in our hands. If we understand that, we can set our lives on a sunny spot. That way, the darkness somewhat disappears.
We assume that feelings change about a song you’ve written once time passes by; for example “Rüzgar” used to be a somber song, but now you sing it with a smile on your face. How does your connection to your songs change through time?
They also mature, they change. They become teenagers. They leave the house. I’ve already said what I had to say. They are my reflections. If I’m smiling about them after a while, that means I am looking back at that state with compassion. It no longer hurts. It becomes a sweet memory. Like a delight served with coffee.
“Gençliğime Sevgilerimle” is full of advices that encourage people to change, not just only for 17-year-olds, but for anyone at any stage in their life. It’s amazing how you’ve written and thought of the knowledge that we tend to forget. I wonder what you’ll be telling your current self 20 years from now?
I wonder… hmm well-said. I shall think about this before answering. I probably won’t be able to come up with an answer now. I need to go out of what I’m in now. That’s difficult. But I would tell myself to ‘Calm down.’ I say that to myself a lot lately. I am such an excited and restless person. Although I would have loved to be like the DJs of Açık Radyo. Cool. Sure of themselves. Wise. Peaceful.
What kind of a feeling do you get when you hear the word “music”?
Tinkling of the universe. It captures us. It makes one cry, dance, regret, fall in love, accelerate, sleep, bring together, think, give up, isolate, connect, provoke; it tells everything in an instant. It’s something for the crazy. It also makes one crazy. I haven’t seen anything stronger.
Can you still perform music as a hobby with the job you have? Do you strum your guitar on nights with your close gang?
No, I wish. Fame makes you grow apart. The fact that it’s a job, the fact that radios decide to play some of your songs and not the others. The expectations people have of you. The question of popularity. Sezen Aksu once told me, ‘Don’t let go of the roots that urge you to compose, otherwise you might have to go into archeological in the future.’ I didn’t get it then. Now I do. I’m keeping those roots, I listened to her advice.
Your look like a day dreamer, however your words are very realistic. Those of us who aren’t as verbal with our emotions listen to you and think “Damn, that’s exactly what I’m feeling.” Doesn’t this kind of candidness scare you a little?
This makes me happy. If a songwriter can make one person say ‘That’s exactly how I feel,’ then the job is done. One can’t do anything by being afraid of candidness. Actually one can’t do anything, period.
Family constellations, breathing exercises.. Your connection with the “spiritual world” is strong. How does this interest influence your creativity?
I am curious about everything. The only thing I haven’t done is going to a fortune teller. If I’m there, it’s momentary. I am influenced by my experiences, not these things. Anything can become a part of a song. Anything with emotion is an inspiration. Even the sound of a snail you mistakenly step on in the rain. That’s emotion. What happened to it now? It was alive two seconds ago. Where was it going?
It makes one cry, dance, regret, fall in love, accelerate, sleep, bring together, think, give up, isolate, connect, provoke; it tells everything in an instant. It’s something for the crazy.
When are you in the now the most?
When I can concentrate. When I forget this stupid phone. When the moment is beautiful enough to capture me. I’m so happy that I wasn’t able to photograph or record many things. It means I was lost in the moment.
Where do your “weirdest” inspirations come from? For example did “Kek” come about while you were baking a cake?
No, I was sitting in my room. Inspiration is everywhere. It’s like the wind; it can blow from any direction. It’s not traceable. One cannot go after it.
How is the period of making and album or a jingle at the studio? Are there any Nil Karaibrahimgil rituals?
I don’t have any rituals really. Now, jingles are a lot easier than writing songs. Since it belongs to someone else, I wrap myself up with the spirit of that brand. I do a lot of them so I know the transformation. We have fun working at nilinişleri. There are all sorts of instruments. My latest jingle was done on Aziz Arif’s toy keyboard.
What was the jingle you liked the most that wasn’t used?
Buzzz. I talk about that on stage!
Now what? Do you ever feel like you’re out of melodies to compose and songs to sing?
Like Woody Allen said, I don’t know what ‘writer’s block’ is. If life isn’t draining, why would we be out of other things? Especially melodies, never.
Fotoğraf / Photography: Emre Güven
Moda Editörü / Fashion Editor: Pınar Aytaş
Saç / Hair: İbrahim Zengin / No.21 Hair Design Studio
Makyaj / Make up: Ali Rıza Özdemir
Fotoğraf Asistanı / Photography Assistant: Hasan Karaarslan
Moda Editörü Asistanı / Fashion Editor Assistant: Havva Yeşilyurt