What's up Leafers? Welcome to the latest edition of On the Rise where we interview upcoming hip hop talent. Today's guest is rapper, Reaching Nova. Nova reps Bronx, New York City. His songs echo the lush melodies of contemporary rap, with the punch and the lyrical honesty of the “Golden Age” - yet, he is true to self in every sense when it comes to laying his soul in the form of written music. With a focus on thoughtful lyrics over mood fueling instrumentals, ReachingNOVA creates songs with a smooth yet versatile lyrical flow, following in the footsteps of some of the greatest rap storytellers of all generations - from KRS ONE to Ma$e, Jay - Z or Drake, but he's also really inspired by people such as LeBron James, Michael Jackson, and Anthony Robbins.We can definitely see Nova performing on stages such as Coachella and Rolling Loud. The rising MC has been on our radar for a while so we had to tap in with him. Check out the interview below.
Westleaf Staff: What's up, Nova? Your sound is dope! When did you start making music?
ReachingNova: I grew an interest in Hip Hop music in 1994. It wasn't until 1995, age 9, when I'd first hear and memorize LL Cool J's "Doin' It". I became interested in practicing the art of rap at age 13 when I started hanging out more around friends who had taken an interest in rapping as well. They were older than me and far more advanced at the craft than I at the time. It wasn't until 2009 when I'd go legit and open a record label called Kings Legacy. Since then it's been a non-stop journey of musical releases, promotion, continuous learning, collaboration, rehearsing show sets, filming music videos, and live performances.
Westleaf Staff: That's dope! What city do you represent?
ReachingNova: I represent two cities - Bronx, New York (718) & Tampa, Florida (813). I call that the 71813.
Westleaf Staff: Shout out to NY and Florida! So how did you create your stage name?
ReachingNova: ReachingNOVA, the stage name, was created with the idea of the artist being a concept more than an actual brand. NOVA is an acronym for No One's Victorious Alone - a mindset of unity in hopes of us as a collective coming together to make life more pleasant for all and to leave the world better than it was when we arrived here. ReachingNOVA, the stage name, reminds us as a people to reach such mindset collectively.
Westleaf Staff: That's dope and unique. So how did your early life shape your interest in music?
ReachingNova: 1994 when my Uncle Richie would drive from New Jersey and back we'd listen to Wu Tang and Busta Rhymes along with other rappers, but those names specifically stand out to me. That's when I'd learn what Hip Hop music was and quickly grew a hunger for more, but it was 1995 when I'd learn my first rap song, "Doin It" by LL Cool J. From there on I drifted deeper into the sea of Hip Hop. I remember holding a ruler as a microphone and performing live from my bed (the stage) for an imaginary audience - haha.
Westleaf Staff: Cool! I love LL Cool J. So who is your biggest Musical influence?
ReachingNova: Biggest music influences for me are Puff Daddy, Jay Z, Ma$e, and Eminem. I listen to all genres of music from Hip Hop to Classical, but those named artists are who I'd unconsciously being my mold from. From there I'd find myself over time and evolve into what I am today - ReachingNOVA.
Westleaf Staff: Dope! I feel that. Those are some legends! What's been the defining moment in your music career thus far?
ReachingNova: I have three solo albums: It's About Time (2016) , It Was What It Was (2017) , and Becoming Timeless (2022) - which I consider to be defining moments in my career because each album is a staple and representation of my artistic growth.
Westleaf Staff: That's dope! Congrats on your accomplishments. So what makes you a unique artist?
ReachingNova: We as human beings are each as unique as a finger print - no two the same, despite similarities. What makes me unique as an artist is that I choose to explore myself introspectively and relay that into the music I create with hopes of listeners relating back, as opposed to writing on common subject matters which are known to 'work'. I want my music to impact listeners the same way music impacted me as a young boy, but in a massively impactful way.
Westleaf Staff: Dope! So what does art mean to you?
ReachingNova: Art to me is a form of creative expression. Some people write music, poetry, some people draw out what's in their mind. There are people who choose dance as a form of artistic expression, and so on - all creative forms are equally valid yet unique. Art in a way is its own language and can be even more mentally stimulating than the words we use daily to commonly communicate because each art form takes thought to decode.
Westleaf Staff: That's deep! Where do you see your music career going over the next few years?
ReachingNova: Over the next few years I see ReachingNOVA releasing more music, from albums to singles to collaborative efforts with other artists worldwide. Perhaps I will acquire more accolades and awards, but that does not drive me. I see myself mentoring another artists with hopes they will take it farther than I ever will. Definitely more of everything I already creatively do now.
Westleaf Staff: I wish you much success! Before we go, describe music in three words.
ReachingNova: Music in three words... hmm: Riveting, Exhilarating, Magical.