“Who We Were Before,” a gentle, glowing acoustic ballad, is Yvette Nacer’s debut single, but it’s far from her first foray into the music world. She’s had the kind of roles in musicals that many would dream of—namely, Vanessa in the first national Broadway tour of “In the Heights” and Cha Cha in Fox’s “Grease: Live.” She also starred as Kiki in The Fresh Beat Band, a Nick Jr. show that brought music to a completely different audience—preschool-age kids. The Cuban-American singer has now transitioned seamlessly into a career as a solo artist, revealing new depths of herself through sincere lyrics.
We recently had a chance to send Nacer a few questions over email. In her answers, she talks about the making of the single and its music video, some of her collabs, and her time on children’s television. Read all about it below.
TYF: First of all, can you tell us about the making of your music video for your new single, “Who We Were Before”?
Yvette Nacer: It was a lot of fun to make, mainly because I got to work with some really awesome and talented people. I produced and co-directed the video alongside Miguel Ferrer and we shot it at Mount Pinos in the Los Padres National Forest. We spent a day there and then did the storyline portion on a different day. Being in nature was the perfect setting for this song, as I wanted it to be simple and yet cinematic. Speaking of cinematic, we recently found out “Who We Were Before” is an Official Selection at the Grace International Film Festival in Berlin, so that’s pretty cool! All in all, I’m really happy with how it came out and I hope you guys like it too!
TYF: What was the songwriting process for the single like?
Nacer: I was in a writing session with my buddy Gustavo Galindo and as we were wrapping up, I put a Tres Cubano (small Cuban guitar) in his hands and said “play something,” although he had never played that instrument before. He started playing something that sounded like a lullaby. I was going through a pretty rough time and the words and music came out pretty quickly. It was so healing for me to write and sing. That’s why I wanted to share this song with everyone…in the event it could help even one other person who might need it.
TYF: What is your favorite lyric that you’ve ever written?
Nacer: Good question! I don’t know that I have a favorite, but I’ll pick one from “Who We Were Before” that says, “we get old too soon and wise too late.” I think it’s just really relatable.
TYF: For years, you acted in Nickelodeon’s “The Fresh Beat Band.” What memories from that experience have stuck with you the most?
Nacer: I have so many wonderful memories from that show and I feel so grateful to have had that experience. I think some of my favorite memories were when we did a huge tour to promote the music. I had the honor of performing on such wonderful stages like Madison Square Garden, I got to sing a duet and share a concert with Jason Mraz at Carnegie Hall, and play at the historic Grand Ole Opry, to name a few. By the end, we played for almost a million people and getting to meet so many of the fans after every show was one of my favorite parts!
TYF: In addition to being in the Fresh Beat Band, you’ve played Cha Cha in “Grease: Live” and Vanessa in the tour of “In the Heights.” To what extent do you think your background in musical theater and children’s television has influenced who you are as a musician?
Nacer: The more artistic experiences I get to be a part of, the more I have to draw from and be inspired by. I’ve been blessed to work with so many incredible artists, everyone from Lin Manuel-Miranda and Jason Mraz, to Ne-Yo and Julianne Hough. It’s like a Master Class for me and each lesson, another tool in my belt. I think it’s really important to always keep pushing yourself and growing as an artist.
TYF: You’ve played the violin since age 3. Do you see yourself incorporating the violin into your solo music in the future, or are you blazing a different path?
Nacer: I always try to incorporate violin into my music whenever I can. You can hear it on my last record, “I Wish You Would” as well as “Havana.” The violin has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and at this point, I think we’re stuck together for life!
TYF: You used to record music as Ava Gold; what inspired you to record under your real name?
Nacer: I realized I was enough.
TYF: Do you have any advice for aspiring singers or actors?
Nacer: Keep growing and keep going.
TYF: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to say to the readers?
Nacer: I hope you like the music. I made it for you! Also, I want to hear from you guys, so come find me on social media & hopefully see you at some shows real soon!