Daria "Nookie" Stavrovich - a Russian rock/metal singer, one of the two vocalists of a band called The Slot and the sole frontwoman of her personal project Nookie. An amazing singer (as long as you're used to metal screaming type of singing) as well as an inspiring human being, from protesting irresponsible landfill placements to being openly vocally against the current war since day one.
In 2016 Daria took part in Voice Russia as one of contestants. More of a gag and a PR move, really, since she's been an established rockstar with her own fanbase by that point, but the conservative public was floored. Somehow the voting almost got her to win the contest, making Daria scramble and ask her fans to vote against her in order to escape the obligatory contract all Voice winners face. That's probably the only time in the history of Voice that the loser was so visibly happy to lose!
During the contest she sang Zombie by Cranberries, Army of Me by Björk, Chandelier by Sia, all with her own unique take on them, and, in the outstandingly ballsy move, literally a song that she herself wrote, Ripples on Water (alt. Circles on Water). Here it is with English subtitles, because the lyrics add to the flavor. Although, as many reaction YouTube channels agree, you don't have to understand the text to feel the sheer energy of her performance.
As far as Zombie and Chandelier go, however, I'd prefer to attach more recent performances from this (2022) year. Zombie especially hits hard these days.
Amazing vocals and strong moral ground where it counts the most aside, there's another reason this woman fascinates me to no end.
Namely, she's technically been murdered. To the level of clinical death, anyhow.
Trigger warning for stabbing below.
In 2014 an obsessed fan went out of his mind and, after repeatedly stalking Daria online and sending her unhinged messages, waited for her outside a concert venue, and with an appropriately dramatic "If I can't have you, no one can have you" stabbed the singer with a knife to the neck. And arms with which she tried to shield herself.
The man was apprehended, arrested, and later diagnosed with a disorder I won't specify not to raise prejudice, but the ambulance took 20 minutes to go arrive. By the time they got Daria to the hospital, her heart has reportedly stopped.
Thanks to the doctors (and also maybe providence, who knows), it started beating again. The knife also missed all the important points that would prevent Daria from singing ever again. So she recovered. And she sang again.
That was, mind you, prior to the Voice. And all the performances that followed.
If you're perceptive and nosy enough, you can still see the scars on her neck and her hands.
What earned her my additional respect, however, is her reaction to the whole ordeal.
"I think people around me were traumatized more than I was. Cash ((The Slot's second vocalist)) had to see actual therapist", she says. "I just woke up and felt like I was kinda born anew, you know? There's no fear, no flashbacks. Not to undermine people who do suffer from that, but I am fine, somehow. Everyone always asks, but, eh, I really am fine".
And then she adds:
"It does make watching movies where someone gets stabbed rather funny, though. I vividly remember laying there for 20 minutes, losing blood. That feels sort of like...slowly getting really, really cold. Freezing cold, even. From your feet and upwards. So whenever someone gets stabbed in movie and is immediately like 'Ack! Dead!' I'm always like, 'Yeah, sure' ". And she laughs.
I mean. That's some movie level of badassness, I think. How can I not be a fan of that?
- Inbetween being a badass and singing screaming nu-metal, Daria writes and performs songs for...children cartoons.
- She's a daughter of an opera singer. An untrained opera singer who, allegedly, was just that good (and the town they were living in was just that small), but still.
- She got expelled from her first music school for 'not fitting the format'. Moved to the capital, hid the fact that she was expelled and "transferred" to a bigger music school. Barely got in there too, for the same reason - but a good teacher stood up for her. The same teacher later recommended her when The Slot was looking for a vocalist. Now Daria gathers a small stadium worth of fans on her concerts. Who's laughing now?
I wouldn't know what to tell you or where to begin. Something about Nookie's voice and her singing style just speaks to me and my inner peace at another level. This is the first (and so far the last) time in my life that I get physically calmer upon hearing someone's voice. That I earnestly learned all her discography by heart (her solo project, anyhow). That I just fall through reality and dissolve in someone's songs. It does help that her personality also rocks. And she's totally chill with fans of all orientations and genders, which is always comforting.
The Slot - Obey ---
Forces United - We Cry ---
Nookie - Army of Me (Björk cover) ---
Linkin Park feat. Nookie (fan mash up) - The Catalyst ---