Interview: 2015 Joint Best Breakthrough Jungle MC Winner – Nãnci Correia

Interview: 2015 Joint Best Breakthrough Jungle MC Winner – Nãnci Correia

As an MC duo, Nanci & Phoebe took the jungle world by storm. Their fresh take on hosting DJ sets breaks all conventions and created a new eclectic sound, mixing hip-hop flows, powerful and provoking lyrics, booming bass lines and stringent bluesy harmonies.


We caught up with one half of the duo, Nãnci Correia who together with Pheobe, won the Best Breakthrough Jungle MC award in our 2015 awards.

Thank’s for taking time out… I know you’re super busy at the moment, so how was your 2016?


2016 was a year of discovery for me, of myself and my music. I have been so blessed to have fallen into so many amazing opportunities and travels that I am so happy to finally feel like it’s time to take what I’ve learnt and use it for my own personal and musical adventure. So 2016 overall for me was like the end and beginning of a cycle of complete change and progression.

And from winning the award last year, how has that impacted on your career?

Honestly, I think awards are flattering and make you feel like your work and efforts have been recognised but really I’d be just as happy and where I am now with or without an award, I hope that doesn’t sound too conceited.                            

So you have been working together since 2009, how would you describe your working relationship?

We’ve worked together now for around 6 years so I’d say by now our working relationship is as solid as stone. I’d say we’re pros at performing for our lives despite what is going on off the stage but I suppose performing does tend to literally make you switch off and take you to a place where only sound and energy exists for a moment. Also, it’s been great to have experienced this all with a friend instead of alone.

In January 2011 MTVBase added your release with Congo Natty, Tenor Fly and Daddy Freddy “Get Ready” to their video playlist and the single received airplay from Annie Mac, David Rodigan and Mista Jam…. was that a career highlight?

I am the worst person with these kinds of questions because literally I don’t even think I realise the scale or notice what it means to have a moment of success. It’s when people mention it to you it sounds so impersonal, it’s like your not talking about me. Plus, I can be a worrier so I’m always trying to do more and more to reassure myself but I guess it’s not such a bad way to be because if I stop too often to lust my achievements I might just stop all together and get distracted by the buzz that isn’t tangible or even that important in the grand scheme of things.


Not to deny or take away from anyone because it is of course humbling. I see it like a form of encouragement, a little push to say ‘Keep Going!’ 
Although hearing Toddla T saying your his favorite ‘dancehall’ vocalist on radio is pretty exciting, I remember when Nick Grimshaw played ‘Notorious’ on air the first time, he introduced us as “Nanci & Phoebe, they sound like your crazy aunties”. We kinda are in our own rights and Phoebe really is an aunty, I’m not..


Going back for our readers and those that don’t know, how did the collaboration with Congo Natty come about?

I worked upstairs at Brixton Jamm where there were all kinds of offices, studios and a even a hostel at the time. Madness occurred that winter with all sorts of artists and creatives always running around in that space; Alabama 3, all the Outlook crew and the Congo family too. I had just finished studying at London Music School and had a couple recordings on Myspace the I showed to a friend (Lionpulse) who at the time was involved in Congo’s management. He kindly showed my songs to Congo who later told me that one day we would make music together. Naturally after some time myself and Phoebe ended up in the studio, I believe it was because Phoebe was singing and playing ‘Notorious’ on the guitar, then called me over to sing harmonies which was also the first time myself and Phoebe ever sang together.


I was extremely shy and still can be when it comes to singing. We recorded the acoustic version and straight after that came the remix and single Notorious, remixed by Congo with our added verse. From then I recorded Get Ready and most of the tracks on Congo’s ‘Jungle Revolution’ album that I’m on. Congo started inviting us to shows with the invitation to jump on stage whenever we felt comfortable. Phoebe definitely managed to pluck up the courage to get on stage quicker than I did but with the help of some tracks from the album which sounded quite different at the time, we finally went from Special Guests on the lineup to getting our names finally on the posters and flyers.

What projects have you been working on recently?

I personally have been finding my sound. I haven’t got the best equipment but I really love and revel in the idea of underproduced music. Something that catches a moment and isn’t so polished or prim. Of course I like the sound of a well produced song too but I almost lust that ‘The Weekend’ sound, where vocals are used as instruments and layers to create an atmosphere while the beats are generally simple and a bit grungy. I call them my soundscapes and I use garageband to experiment and express that style. 


I am also currently working on a live acoustic show with an amazing guitarist called Rory Duncan. We’re writing a lot together while doing a few shows to get the show practiced and perfected. My personal aim is to bring in a specific kind of band and record it. Our next acoustic show will be at Horizon Festival in Andorra this March.

You have explored other genres of music in recent years. How has does your work in jungle relate to these musical projects?

At the end of the day I am a singer so at the show I am a flavour added to an already delicious meal, call me seasoning haha. Everything I have ever been influenced by comes out in that live moment of expression during a performance. Jungle for me may not be ALL of me but its a solid part of me. I’ve always said this, the vibe, the people, the message are all the things that make it about love and understanding for one another, I believe we are all human and therefore life happens wether we like it or not so the most valuable thing to me is what we make out of any situation and jungle for me is a valuable piece of love. I am honoured to be a part of it and have been hugely influenced by it. Jungle got me on stage, it gave me a confidence I still to this day am trying to grow and learn more and more. Jungle showed and continues to show me the world, for that I am hugely appreciative.


What’s been your most memorable gig over the last 12 months?

It’s probably not the greatest memory to repeat but to be honest the most memorable show in the last 12 months was Sonar Festival in Barcelona 2016 because that was the day I found out Tenor Fly had left us, in this life. We performed without being able to tell anyone and that truly broke my heart, we all cried for the endurance of that set but his presence felt strong throughout.

And the most memorable all time?

The most memorable show for me was Poland Woodstock Festival 2015. Performing to 500,000 people with Congo Natty, Congo Dubz, Phoebe and Tenor Fly was special. We were all overwhelmed and honoured to be performing to so many people. I remember fly saying “remember this moment, because it will never happen again”, how right he was. 


Your a huge fan of Lauryn Hill…. what is it that is so inspirational and do you idolise any jungle artists?

For me its the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album. I guess there are certain artists growing up that I listened to that I feel taught me to sing, gave me my sound, so she was one of those artists. More importantly her message was beautiful and honest and not too clean or shiny that it had my thoughts stagnant. It’s the beauty in naivety that I like, you can hear it in her voice. That influenced me more than anything in terms of my singing and where my voice comes from. Plus its about Love, the one most powerful thing on this earth. It’s funny when I was younger and unexperienced haha, I said I’d NEVER write a song about love but as an adult its probably one of my favourite topics to write about because it can be so healing. I don’t think I idolise anyone as such but I have been and am influenced by each and every person I have met over the past 6 years and am still meeting through music all over the world today, the personal journey really is been the most influential thing out of all of this.


Talking about Jungle, what are your all time top 5 jungle tunes?

Sigma – Rudeboy 

Congo Natty (X Project) – Walking in the Air 

Shy FX – Original Nutter

DJ Hype – Ready or Not

Chopstick Dubplate – Worldwide Traveller ft. Top Cat & Mr. Williamz 

…to name a few.


We Love Jungle is more than just an awards process, we are all about promoting jungle music 365 days of the year. What do you think about the project and the success of the jungle community working together more for the future?

In the music world, arts world, in fact any world, support of some sort is so extremely necessary. Anything we can do to spread peoples thoughts and creativity or share their ideas and ideals to me is what makes life so enriched. Sharing is caring. 😉


Also Jungle is becoming more accessible and popular which is great. Recently lots of sounds from London are gaining popularity which is great because we’re getting the chance to tell our story again. I fully support the spreading of knowledge, of course.

What gigs are coming up that we can catch you at?

Got a couple gigs with Phoebe coming up in January and later this year so follow my Nãnci Correia page for updates. As I mentioned Horizon Festival in Andorra, I’m doing an acoustic show in the mountains which should be atmospheric. And something coming up that I’m excited to see is the Outlook Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, it’s a 20 piece orchestra orchestrated by BASCA award-winning composer Tommy Evans and hosted by Annie Mac, my mums well excited to meet her haha.


If we see you out, what are you drinking at the bar?

Generally you can’t go wrong with a glass of Prosecco or Champagne but if your joining me a shot of vodka with half a bottle of Tabasco and a squeeze of lime would be perfect 😉


Anything else you would like to share?

Perfection is ugly just LOVE LOVE LOVE and get off tinder kids, fall in love again! <3

Any shouts and thanks?

I would like to thank Congo Natty for being that jungle influence in my life. He is someone I call family, everyone in that family is and to be honest I don’t 100% know what my role or purpose is but I have had one hell of a ride thanks to that man. Life has throwwwwn itself at me and out of it I feel like a SOLDIER for real. I’m ready to share, I almost want people to become sensitive again, cry and love more. We have to deal with our stresses to grow but lets do it together so no-one’s alone and all that sappy fluffy stuff 🙂


ALSO A THOUSAND THANKYOU’S to EVERYONE that voted and got me and Phoebs the title of Best Breakthrough Jungle MC’s 2015. Humbled.. thanks Jungle Awards!


WORDS BY : Aliina Mayes AKA Missrepresent

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