Born in a Syrian refugee camp after her family’s home was bombed in Kurdistan, Vivian Nouri and her family were granted refugee status when she was only three years old.
Now performing under the name of NOURI, the singer started developing her strong love of music not long after, and ate up the music of Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston, channelling her energy into her voice. Her family first recognised her potential when, still aged only 9, she received a standing ovation for her performance at her primary school talent quest, and her rendition of the Whitney Houston/Mariah Carey duet, ‘When You Believe’.
NOURI followed this up by singing at a number of local events, and entered singing contests, but what must have been one of the greatest experiences in her young life occurred in 2009, when she was asked to perform for then Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir John Key, at the Style Pasifika Fashion Awards.
Going from strength to strength, NOURI travelled to Los Angeles in 2017, where she worked with four time Grammy winning producer, Brian Kennedy, known for his work with Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Chris Brown. The then 24 year old NOURI received her big break when she got a call from Paramount Pictures’ Jason Richmond, asking her if she could record a song for the soundtrack of the film, ‘Daddy’s Home 2’. Speaking to The New Zealand Herald, Nouri said,
“He knew my vocal range but asked my if I could sing this Christmas song for a movie. I wasn’t going to say no whether I knew how to sing it or not.”
NOURI didn’t think twice. She dropped everything – the deal was that she had to record it straight away – and had the song learned and recorded within two hours. A week later she received word that her hard work had paid off, her song was in the film.
Now, NOURI has released her debut single, ‘Where Do We Go From Here’, accompanied by a music video. She’s also working on an EP, which is set for release in 2019.
‘Where Do We Go From Here’ comes with a music video, featuring model and skateboarder Bennett Jonas, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Leonardo di Caprio. NOURI’s strong and sultry voice fills the cip, which sees her and her on-screen love driving in the California desert, arguing, fighting, and eventually making up. There’s a male vocal as well, and overall the song is about working out what happens next, “if the feeling’s right but it’s not the time”.
Unlike a lot of videos nowadays, NOURI wanted the clip to reflect what was going on in the song, and this is done very well by NOURI and Jonas, who actively convey the strength of emotion in a relationship that is at a crossroads.
NOURI was very hands on with the music video, and she found Bennett Jonas by searching an online model database, and then contacting him via Instagram. She also edited the video herself, learning the craft by watching YouTube videos. She at times spent all night editing after working in the studio, but the end result is clearly worth it.