Those who are nostalgic for the fun spirit of all-girl groups in the 1990s and 2000s need look no further than NADUH, a modern group of girl bosses who celebrate the feminine through hip-hop and R&B.
The dynamic super group formed out of Vancouver in 2020 with five members – Rosita Alcantara, Giorgi Holiday, Larisa Sanders, Jenny Lea, and Tee Krispil— who all contribute exceptional musical talents. Since their first single ‘Mawnin, a sensual tune about morning sex, came out, the group has boldly explored themes of sexuality, unapologetic feminity, spirituality, queerness and friendship.
“Basically Venus the goddess hand-picked us all and made us meet here in Vancouver and eventually the insatiable desire to connect and create art overtook us one by one and this supergroup happened,” member Rosita Alcantara said.
NADUH write, engineer, and produce all of their music, combining the talents of women who each came from their own successful musical backgrounds and worked together in different ways before mixing themselves into their potent potion of dreamy harmonies and ethereal, soulful and rhythmic sonic landscapes.
The group also does their own choreography, channelling their fun sisterhood energy, and embraces plant medicine and astrology. Watching them and the fun they have together makes it easy to conjure up memories of teenage liberation.
“We just stand in front of the mirror and see what looks good,” Holiday said. “Venus shows us the way.”
“It’s literally just feeding our inner child,” Lea said. “You know, the ones that used to sing in the mirror with the hairbrush, and work towards their sixth-grade talent show. It’s really nurturing that inside of us. It’s pretty beautiful.”
NADUH has frequently been compared to the Spice Girls, a comparison they themselves welcome. They’ve actually even talked about who would be who (Lea’s ginger, Alcantara is Scary, Krispil is Sporty, Sanders is posh and Holiday is baby). The Spice Girls got their nicknames from a lazy journalist who couldn’t remember their names, but the artists of NADUH channel their own Spice Girl energy with self or group-given characters/nicknames.
For instance, Tee Krispil, who as an individual artist was on the west coast leg of Ghostface (Wu-Tang) tour, is known as Chefboii. Not only does she cook up the production as the group’s producer, but she also cooks up her own herbal wisdom through her tea company, FLEURS. Larisa Sanders is known as Chiba.
“Chiba is kind of funky and will take you to the cool spoken word party, but then get you drunk after and not let you leave till the lights go out. We’re here to support.”
Since forming, the group has released four singles, three music videos, an EP, been nominated for R&B Artist of the Year at the WCMA’s, secured a sync placement in Prime Video’s, The Lake, and garnered over 450k streams on Spotify alone. What makes it all the more impressive is that they’ve done it on their terms, putting friendship first, something that seems to resonate with their fans.
“I think that’s what we’re trying to show the world in a way, is that women can do it,” Alcantara said. “There’s all the famous groups that we know and love … they’re contrived to be a certain thing and not in a necessarily negative way. But this is really organic on our side. And we actually are friends first and then the creation stuff comes after.”
“I think it comes across to our audience which gives them permission and maybe even a sense of empowerment to develop closer relationships with their girlfriends,” Lea said.
“I’ve had some women that came up to me and said ‘You healed my friendships because of watching you guys perform, I just want to go home and call them and say I’m sorry,’” Sanders added.
While they tend to focus on messages of girl power (for instance, their latest single Legacy expresses the awareness that women have as womb carriers), Lea said their audience is about half men and their lyrics resonate with both genders.
“We’ve had some really interesting messages from men, very long letters of gratitude for helping inspire them in learning and in activating their divine feminine energy as well. It’s something that we actively want to help work on, is healing the divide between the feminine and masculine access, instead of creating more separation and pointing fingers. [It’s] been really special,” Lea said.
The members of the group said that they still experience sexism in the industry but they feel as though it is improving and it is one of their goals to bring more representation to the music scene.
“The session musicians and the musicians that they choose are definitely male-dominant and the industry is very male-dominated,” Sanders said. “And the sound techs and the producers … the peripherals. So, that can be challenging because that’s who we’re working with mostly. Our peers, there’s a lot of women and they’re amazing and it feels really good to have those people around us.”
“And having the switch up in Canada where they made that – it was like by 2022, they were working towards having bills on festivals be 50/50, or at least more diverse. It has helped a lot. But I will say that still on most headlines, there’s more room to grow,” said Lea.
“There’s a lot of energetic shifts of the men that are around us that it’s like there’s a difference whether or not there’s like a physical representation there yet,” Sanders said.
“How we’re dealing with it in general is we’re here to support each other. We know our worth and our value and we stand up for ourselves as gracefully as possible,” Lea said.
“We do work with a lot of different presenting type people so we’re just trying to open up the gate so it’s not just like one of this and a lot of it,” Alcantara said.
“Yeah, we don’t really care as long as you’re a good person,” Holiday added.
The group recently played Phillips Backyard in Victoria, B.C. and are set to perform at Rifflandia in September. They are also releasing a new single called Shotgun on Sept. 8.
“It sounds like a diss track. But it’s actually us talking to our own inner critic who’s too loud sometimes,” Krispil said. “It’s about your Higher Self taking the steering wheel, not your lower consciousness, trying to run you up.”
“It’s also kind of like a fun summer bop,” Alcantara said.
“We try to approach all of our subjects like with levity, so even if they have a deeper meaning for us, or the message has a lot more depth, we always try to make it approachable and make it enjoyable for everyone,” Lea said.