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Santa Cruz Musician of The Year: Mak Nova

Presented by The 2023 NEXTies
Mak Nova
Ever since Mak was young, she loved performing “I knew in my heart of hearts that it was my life’s work. I got my start dancing in high school.” Mak Nova
(Mak Nova)

Mak Nova, a visionary rapper and performance artist from Santa Cruz, has won the NEXTies Musician of The Year award for 2023.

Her unique combination of Hip-hop, Afro-beats and Neo Soul creates a lively fusion that is intended to “empower and inspire” everyone who experiences her live performances.

Mak Nova began pursuing music with the help of her collaborator Eli Mabanza after college. Today, her fiery delivery, reflective lyrics, and soul-stirring dance moves draw in her audiences and encourage them to embody “their highest potential.” Her music is danceable, catchy, and complex, appealing to musicians and non-musicians alike.

Get to know Mak Nova below and be sure to join the NEXTies award show happening at Woodhouse Brewing on March 31. Get your tickets here

Describe what you do in two sentences:

Mak Nova: I am a rapper and a performance artist. I am a visionary.

What inspired you to pursue your current path, and how did you get started?

Mak: Ever since I was young I loved performing. I knew in my heart of hearts that it was my life’s work. I got my start dancing in high school. I always leaned toward the dances that were more influenced by storytelling and theater. After I graduated college in 2019 I decide to pursue music. My band mate and collaborator Eli Mabanza really believed in my potential, my gifts and that propelled me into my current path, the path of a professional performance artist.

What do you consider to be your biggest achievement so far in your career, and why?

Mak: My biggest achievement is winning musician of the year in Santa Cruz. Why, because it’s my first award as a musician! Also because I’ve been working really hard at my craft.

What are you most looking forward to in 2023?

Mak: Releasing new music!

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What are your future career goals and aspirations?

Mak: I want to release lots of phenomenal music, I want to go on multiple international tours, I want to collaborate with other phenomenal passionate musicians. I want to live a life with no regrets.
What role do you believe mentorship and networking have played in your success?

Mak: Networking is everything. That’s how I’ve been able to play so many shows and get my name and my band’s name out in Santa Cruz. Mentorship has also been crucial in my artistic development. Without Eli (my lead guitarist/band composer) believing in me, guiding me, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Mak Nova
Mak Nova, a visionary rapper and performance artist from Santa Cruz was awarded a 2023 NEXTie.
(Mak Nova)

How do you stay connected with your community?

Mak: Through Instagram mostly, live events, Facebook, email, and direct messages.

What does being a NEXTie honoree mean to you?

Mak: I’m not totally sure yet but at the moment I think it means that I touched people, I was able to reach them, connect with them, and make a positive impact in their lives.

Who will be joining you at this year’s NEXTies award show on March 31?

Mak: My partner and my band, The Kings.

Anything else you would like to share?

Mak: Thank you for this honor and this opportunity.

Get your tickets to the 2023 NEXTies award show today to hear Mak Nova live!

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