Neia Nocturna (born Sivyan Neia'ren) is an Okaaráni singer, songwriter and poetess of Wejít ancestry. She is renowned for a wide voice range and flexible music style, and deep, mature song lyrics. She's also commonly accused of and criticised for using her visual disability as a leverage in her career, particularly early on.
- 1 Early Life
- 2 Musical Career
- 3 Personal Life
- 4 Discography
- 5 Backing Band
Neia Nocturna was born under the name Sivyan Neia'ren in a republican city of Okaaran, Western Nariyása, in 1509 (Gésh reckoning). Being the heir of a relatively well-off family, Neia'ren underwent a somewhat sheltered childhood. By her own words, her only friends were boarders at a local school for the visually impaired.
Neia'ren was always interested in dance and music, taking private lessons from early childhood, but only started intensive training in mid-teens (1524GR), after failure to enter the Okaarani Talents show, being placed #21 whereas there were 20 spots on the show for candidates. Over the course of the next three years, Neia'ren participated as a singer in several amateur bands until eventually joining with a group looking for a young lead singer capable of projecting an elegant but angsty image.
Nighttime Promenade (1526-1529)
The band ultimately decided to publish their début album under the name Neia Nocturna, thus merging the name of the lead singer and the original name they wanted (but couldn't due to it being already taken a long time ago).
The album had a largely electrogothic sound. The lyrics mostly concerned themselves with themes of alienation, powerlessness, social anxiety, imaginary or mythical monsters, and contemplation of afterlife. During concerts and in music videos, Neia would wear dark glasses or a blindfold.
Nighttime Promenade was met with impressive success, particularly among the teen goth demographic. However, musical critics denounced the album as overly brooding and exploitative, 'turning a life-wrecking tragedy into a scenic gimmick'.
The second album was largely financed by a media guild that decided to become the band's sponsor in exchange for a share of profits. Windsong mostly explores themes of spiritualism and nature, with with only a dash of implied misanthropy found in the previous album. The music has a quasi-clanland sound to it, and the videos were all shot in forests, deserts and mountains.
The album received a moderate success, but was deemed good enough for the record guild to continue cooperation.
Run was the last album produced by the original band. Under the guild's pressure, the decision was made to take a sudden turn towards a more cheerful, bright style. The band caught significant flak both from the old fans and from critics for whimsical, silly and somewhat misleading song names. Despite a 'childish and clowny' presentation, the lyrics subtly focused on serious matters, such as self-esteem, importance of a good psychological climate in the family, and constructive stubbornness.
A special mention is deserved by the music video for Blades, which is a four-minute continuous shot of Neia inline skating along a coastal sidewalk, with no cord nor guide in the picture. The video was met with controversy: some considered it a feat of spatial perception and coordination, others thought it was subtly edited from multiple attempts, and yet others saw it as a sign that Neia 'is not real'.
Overall, this album resulted in the first split of the fanbase. Some saw the new style as celebrating the perseverance and refusal to dwell on the negative, while others denounced it as 'sold out', 'foolishly optimistic' and 'health-threateningly saccharine'.
No Buts, No Whys (1533)
After in the year following the Run controversies, the band split up, with the instrumentalists ultimately joining other teams. In the split, Neia retained the rights to the full name, although not the good will of the sponsor guild. She immediately declared a crowd-funded project for her next album, complete with opportunities to pre-order it (with a then-controversial level of disclaimers). With an unspecified amount of crowdsourced help, Neia picked and hired a whole new team as a backing band, including a violinist and a dedicated dancer for concerts and music videos (two roles not present in the original band).
The songs themselves were heavily based on abandoned or unfinished drafts from the previous year (which caused some tension with the former band members), while the performance and the lyrics were fully the responsibility of the current roster. The album was lauded as independent, original and thoughtful. The music is best characterised as a mix of the first two albums, with a touch of Southern-Wejít classical sound (mostly represented by the new instrument). The lyrics were deliberately infused with oddnesses and irregularities, particularly usage of linguistic negatives to describe factually non-negative situations or states of mind, and an abundance of parenthetical statements both in song names and the texts themselves.
It was a hugely successful though 'slightly confusing' album, and firmly established the competence of the new Neia Nocturna.
Four seasonal mini-albums (1534-1535)
Following two years, Neia released four separate mini-albums [sic], one per season. Both the music and the lyrics of each reflected the mood of a particular season, with subthemes of both the fleeting, living nature (including people and their relationships) and near-permanent, non-living nature. As a matter of principle and an artistic statement, there isn't a single unifying album for the four seasons; they're only ever sold separately.
Clockwork Heartbeat (1536)
Neia's next album was a sharp turn from the previous styles. The music of this period is peculiar for having significant industrial influences, being heavier and less melodic than even the somewhat simplistic tracks of Run. While not as dark as those of the very first album, the lyrics were largely sarcastic or at the very least satirical; however, not all of them were negative - some went to further explore of seeing the good hidden under the bad in assorted phenomena. Music videos and concert styles were deliberately grotesque and mechanistic, particularly visible the dance movements of the performers.
The album was almost as divisive for the fanbase as Run was: while highly popular among some fans (including a large number of newcomers), it was seen as bordering on the antisocial by others. Overall, it was a success, but not without a price.
The Fireworks period signified a return to a more moderate, melodic style, albeit with subtle signs of the previous shift. The songs mostly explored themes of romance, with side themes of emotional moderation and transience.
It was generally a successful album, but often considered not as remarkable as the others.
49% (1539 - present)
There is very little known about the upcoming album, except that it will be named 49%, and will feature the theme of interplay between self-reliance and mutual aid.
Neia went through several different images throughout her career.
The pre-Run period is best described as stylistically gothic - dark and often impractical dresses, always accompanied by a white cane (though in practice not always white). Since 1536 (as a comment on the lyrics of Pity Sells, no less), Neia started openly admitting that the image was very much a play on the audience's pity: 'It was not a good thing to do, and I am glad it is over.'
Then there was the Run-era period, which was quite unremarkable: the usual young adult female pop star style; slightly tomboyish and athletic. The white cane was mostly kept out of sight, and Neia's dancing skills (and overall spatial coordination) were demonstrated in full scale, which was something of a shock to the people who only knew her from the musical career.
Finally, the post-Run period, which is still going, saw a return to elegant - but much more practical - dresses, accompanied by a cane as often as not.
In all periods, Neia always emphasised an overall high-class status. Not in the sense of noble birth, but in the sense of good manners and education, and took great care to make sure it doesn't come off as snobbish to the fans.
Neia'ren is the only child in a family of doctors. She admits to owing every success to the efforts they put into providing her with the best care and education during childhood, and spends significant time with them when not on tours.
The singer occasionally mentioned that she's unsure whether she wants to have kids of her own.
Ever since the breakup with the original band and the success of No Buts, No Whys, Neia contributed significant percentages of income to charities. Mostly these are projects aimed at long-term of development for the disabled. The singer is in favour of cutting back almost all disability allowances - except for the most severe cases, and instead investing the saved money into offering these people special training, equipment, techniques etc. that would allow them to earn their own salary. While originally she focused on special education, the singer's current stance is that it is better to focus on affordable medical correction (whether limb replacements, cochlear implants, or even experimental stimulation of cognitive development).
Neia'ren holds a somewhat vocal stance both against shallow, short hookups and against long-term, static relationships. The singer's private life has a distinct pattern of serial monogamy, with most romances lasting between a couple of months and a year.
Neia also likes to point out that most of the situations described in her songs are either fictional or heavily modified, and mostly reflect hypothetical musing, not real-life events. She's particularly disappointed when fans construct theories regarding her and Noel Anteris (due to them occasionally playing a couple in music videos).
- In the Dark
- Spectres In Me
- Into The Abyss
- Drowned In This
- All Alone
- Return To the Abyss
- But Stars Are There (I Know)
- The path
- My Hurricane
- Climbing Up This Waterfall
- I Will Always
- Stairs Back Home
- Win This!
- Tears and Smiles and Pretty Guys
- Family Matters
- Still Running
No Buts, No Whys
- Not an Instrumental (Bridgeburner)
- Don’t Ask Me
- Reluctant Admission Of The Negative (THIS is the Instrumental)
- Not a Love Song (Everybody Makes One, Why Not Me?)
- No Title
- Unrequited? Not For Me
- Will Be Back
- Not My Kind of Rain
- Revenge (Or Is It?)
- Arctica’s Embrace
- Southern Wind
- In Love On The Snow (Or Were We?)
- Cold Sun
- My Kind of Rain
- Enjoying the River (Are You?)
- Your Storm
- Desert Sun
- ? (Of Course You Will)
- Polar Day
- Clockwork Heartbeat
- Twisted, not Broken
- Papercut Romance
- Music Box
- Bleed, Crawl, Live
- Pity Sells
- Freedom From Choice
- Mechanical Poison
- Be a Tungsten Butterfly
- Oceans of Dust
- Like Wine
- What You Get
- No Need for Eternity
- In Warm Candlelight
Anzeros Iktari - lead guitar;
Grum Hesek - drums and percussion;
Kriks Zinor - keyboards, primary composer;
Elrek Weron - rhythm guitar;
Ilmen Hedem - bass guitar, secondary composer;
Koen Terthas - violin;
Noel Anteris - lead dancer;
Teros Zimsih - sound and video editor;
Tishi'ren 'Tish' Asakdari - choreographer and stylist.