There is a serious lack of female voices in the regional hip-hop scene, and local artist Nicole Haverda is out to change that.

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There is a serious lack of female voices in the regional hip-hop scene, and local artist Nicole Haverda is out to change that.

For the past 18 months, the 23-year-old Winnipegger — who performs under the name Havs — has been quietly dropping tracks, building up her following and performing around town, including snagging a set at the Northern Touch Music Festival, a popular local hip-hop and R&B event, earlier this year.

And now, all her hustling has culminated in a new album, Distortion, released last month. It’s hip hop and R&B with a new-wave vibe; smooth production and bass-heavy beats hold up Haverda’s sweetly melodic vocal lines, while featured performers from all over North America contribute strong verses.

Havs has been releasing tracks for the past 18 months. (Supplied)

Havs has been releasing tracks for the past 18 months. (Supplied)

Lyrically, Haverda explores powerful terrain on Distortion, touching on ideas of the development of one’s sense of self.

"The concept kind of focuses on how two different people could have the same situation happen to them and they would see it differently. You can’t really choose what happens to you but you can choose what you make of the situation," Haverda says.

"So many of us are used to knowing ourselves in relation to others. This is about forgetting that and seeing yourself how you are. It’s about getting to know yourself and making decisions based on what you want and not what others want."

On Familiar, one of the standouts on the seven-song album, the topic of addiction is front and centre, with Haverda exploring the illness from the perspective of someone trying to be there for a loved one who is struggling.

Havs releases Distortion Saturday at Friday Knights flagship store at 223 McDermot Ave. (Nicole Haverda)

Havs releases Distortion Saturday at Friday Knights flagship store at 223 McDermot Ave. (Nicole Haverda)

"A lot of people in my life have experienced addiction. I never have, but I always find I’m on the other side of it, trying to understand it the best I can," she says of the track.

Haverda has already release a video for the title track and will host her official album launch Saturday, Oct. 13, which will be the first public event to support the new album.

Haverda has been lying a bit low with Distortion because the day it dropped, Sept. 7, was the same day one of her hip-hop idols, Mac Miller, died.

"(Miller) inspired this project a lot, from the actual songs to the cover art to the music video, so it didn’t feel right to be excited or advertise the album right away," she says.

"This album release is really the first time I’m promoting it really, so I’m impressed with how many people have hit me up about it so far… I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback so I’m excited to see where it goes from here."

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Manager of audience engagement for news

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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