What is it that drives people to create?
Of course it’s never just one thing, but the journeys of two artists from the other side of the Atlantic help shed light on the forces that can drive us to not only make music, but also cross oceans in pursuit of a dream.
Singer and multi-instrumentalist Nino Arobelidze combines a world of influences with a voice that has been compared to jazz artists like Billie Holiday. Arobelidze moved to the U.S. from Georgia as a teenager and later studied music at DePaul, forming her latest group Girl Named Nino with her husband, guitarist Pablo Gordy.
Arobelidze said that although she didn’t get much formal music education as an underprivileged kid in the “City of Crossroads” of Giblisi, Georgia, that only inspired her to work harder for it.
“It does seem like when you’re less advantaged as a kid it makes you that much more creative and then once you have the resources it makes you unstoppable,” she said. “You’re so hungry for it.”
Arobelidze said that as her musical career began, her voice helped pave the way as it allowed her to pay her way through musical scholarships. She said her journey taught her that success comes to those who work for it.
“When you follow your personal legend, the universe converges to support you,” she said.
But it’s never easy, she said, “because the reality hits and you have to fight for things you’re passionate about.”
Singer Ana Munteanu was raised among the epic ballands and ancient lullabies of her native Moldova. Munteanu’s music draws heavily upon that musical tradition, with soulful, dynamic vocals often set against a single classical-style guitar.
Munteanu seems to be an artist that is driven by faith in her instincts. Case in point: the story of her journey to Chicago.
After spending some time working in Pennsylvania, Munteanu was in the process of moving to Florida when she stopped over in Chicago for what was meant to be a temporary layover. She said after walking the streets of Lincoln Park in the fall, something just felt right.
“I said, ‘I really like it – I think I should stay here,'” she said.
After calling a friend who was going to give her a place to stay in Florida and saying she wouldn’t be coming after all, Munteanu said spent the night in a 24-hour Starbucks. But she didn’t doubt her decision.
“The brain creates fears – but the heart knows,” she said. “It has some sort of intelligence – inner intelligence.”
Luckily, she was able to find a place to live the very next day. She’s spent her time in the city learning more about the folkloric traditions of other cultures.
“It’s been very tough but now it’s becoming rewarding,” she said.
Whether they’re driven by a hunger to succeed or a trust in their instincts, these two artists brought their unique backgrounds together for their Stars Align session, as you can hear in the player below.