Audrey Nuna is a rapper and singer who takes inspiration from hip hop legends like A Tribe Called Quest and MF Doom to create a signature sound and style that is uniquely her own. Making It—a co-production between In The Know and Complex—sat down with Audrey to discuss her musical journey, and the places that helped shape her distinctive artistry.
“The whole point of being an artist is to do what you want to do,” says Audrey. “If I wanted to do what other people wanted me to do, I feel like I’d become a, I don’t know, a doctor or something or a lawyer. Anything in that realm.”
Audrey describes her childhood as “kind of boring, in the best way.” The rapper participated in music programs at school, but didn’t fully explore making music until she got to college at New York University, where she was inspired by the diverse, creatively-driven student body.
“That was so different. Going from the suburbs to going to this place with so much diversity, caused an implosion in my brain cells,” she says. “And a lot of the music I made happened after that.”
Audrey had visited NYC numerous times while growing up, but living there was an entirely new experience. “Being around people who are like, ‘Oh, I make beats’ or ‘I make clothes,’ just like, we’re all in the same boat. That was really tight,” says Audrey.
NYU opened up a whole new chapter for Audrey in terms of making music, but the singer and rapper first started to broaden her musical horizons in high school. She recalls one moment specifically from her sophomore year, where she first noticed Kanye West’s Yeezus album on iTunes. Fascinated by the album’s cover art, she gave it a listen. “It changed the trajectory of the music that I started listening to,” says Audrey.
“I discovered A Tribe Called Quest from there, and like MF Doom and more,” she says. “And then I just started making what I wanted to hear basically.”
To Audrey, her unique approach to music is defined by the balance between her suburban “boring” upbringing, and the artistic path that she started in college.
“I think just growing up in a space in general where you’re comfortable being a part of two worlds. You’re comfortable walking that fine line between opposites. I think that’s really where the impact was,” says Audrey. “It’s just feeling most comfortable in a place where you’re a part of two things, or bouncing two contrasting things, I think that’s really what stuck with me and it still sticks with me.”
Looking ahead, the talented artist is both uncertain and excited for what the future has in store.
“I’m just so excited. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know what kind of room we’re going to be in. I have no idea what tour’s going to be like,” says Audrey. “I’ve never done this before, and I don’t know what to expect. So I’m just excited.”
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