Upgrade Yourself: Nabihah Iqbal

04 Jun 2020

The latest Upgrade Yourself featured Somerset House Studios artist Nabihah Iqbal sharing her experiences of being a music producer, DJ and broadcaster in London.

Watch the live streamed event below as Nabihah gives insight and offers advice, as well as shares her ‘what to’s’ and ‘what not to’s’ she has learned along the way. 

Please introduce yourself and give a brief description about your current role/career. 

My name is Nabihah Iqbal. I'm a musician, producer, DJ and broadcaster from London. My debut album, 'Weighing of the Heat' was released via Ninja Tune in December 2017. I'm currently working on my second album. I've been presenting a bi-weekly show on NTS Radio for 7 years now (!) and during 2018-19 I did a radio residency on the BBC, presenting shows on Radio 1 and Asian Network. I've been lucky enough to tour all around the world through my DJing and live gigs and it's been an amazing experience so far. I've also performed at the Tate Modern, Tate Britain, ICA and the Barbican - those have all been highlights for me as a born and bred Londoner. In 2018 I launched a project called 'Glory To Sound' at Somerset House. I put together a series of events - talks, live performances, club nights - the aim of which was to delve deeper into music and to try and understand more about the special power it possesses. Guests have included Wolfgang Tillmans, SOPHIE, David Olusoga, Kassem Mosse and Gilles Peterson.  

What is the WORST moment of your career so far, how did you show resilience and bounce back? 

The worst moment just happened to me recently - my music studio was burgled, and my laptop was stolen. I lost 2 years' worth of new music, and everything that I'd been working on for the new album. It still hasn't sunk in properly. I learnt my lesson the hard way: ALWAYS BACK UP! I was so angry and upset at the time, but there wasn't much I could do. Now I have to start the album again from scratch. It's hard to stay positive, but it's all you can do. Just gotta get on with it.  

What was the best piece of advice you were ever given? 

Health is wealth. 

As the world is systematically changing, what does a future Creative Career look like after C-19? 

It's hard to tell right now, especially for those working in the music industry. The whole world is upside down. Most of my income comes from gig fees but now that all my shows are cancelled, it's left me and many others in a very worrying position. I'd like to hope things will get back to normal soon but who knows. We have to find ways of adapting to the situation quickly and it's tricky. The special thing about music is the collective experience - being able to attend a gig or a club night and enjoying the music with friends and strangers alike. It'll be sad if we can't get back to the way things were and the way things should be. 


Don't give up. 

Grow a thick skin. 

Keep your mind and your body fit, healthy and strong.  


Nabihah Iqbal