International Nova pretty much had no choice but to go into music. He grew up in New York City’s Bronx neighborhood surrounded by sounds from around the world. He literally visited the block, even the building, where hip hop began. As a child, he spent one summer listening to nothing but Tupac.
Over the years, he’s honed his own music abilities and performed with and alongside plenty of artists. Today, he’s pursuing his solo music and acting career in Atlanta.
International Nova recently released “Controla,” a single featuring the legendary Petey Pablo. He’s making plans for other music and charitable projects for the rest of 2021. He also has a new reality show in the works, “Off Air,” that shows the highs and lows in the Latin community.
AllHipHop: How’s Atlanta treating you?
International Nova: These days, the city is definitely the place to be. It’s where everyone is: music, entertainment. We never close.
AllHipHop: What was it like growing up in the Bronx?
International Nova: I couldn’t imagine growing up anywhere else. It’s the place that made me who I am, and not just music. Beyond hip hop, it let me hear Latin music, Caribbean music, Island music, West Indian. This neighborhood made me grow up fast. I loved it and still love it.
AllHipHop: Who are your biggest influences?
International Nova: I’ll start with Tupac which is where my love of hip hop started. Me Against the World – that album was what I listened to as a kid. We were around a lot of bootleggers. Once when I was little, I knew where he kept the box of CDs. I got Me Against the World, which I listened to front to back at around age 6, 7, or 8. Lately I’ve grown a little out of hip hop and more into Caribbean. There was Diddy, Jay-Z growing up. In the Latin world, maybe Daddy Yankees and Don Omars. I’m pretty much influenced by everything.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite Tupac song?
International Nova: “Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find.”
AllHipHop: That’s so full circle because you were in the Tupac movie, right?
International Nova: It was because of my friendship with Hussein Fatal from Outlawz – my favorite Outlaw. After I signed the deal for my first album, I contacted him asking if he could help with a record and how much it would cost. He said he’s a fan, so I sent him four records thinking he’d pick one and he did them all in a week.
AllHipHop: What was your highlight from shooting “All Eyez On Me”?
International Nova: Through Fatal, I was able to get a role as an extra when I moved to Atlanta. I was only supposed to be there for a day or two but ended up being around for two weeks and made some great connections.
AllHipHop: Talk about “Controla,” your new single out now. How are you feeling?
International Nova: People who follow me know that my last single “Wine for Me”, was on the Billboard charts for 3 weeks in 2017. I put this one out there to see what would happen and start the process. I’ve been getting bored with hip-hop. I’m having fun making music again, rapping, singing, doing English and Spanish. I’m excited.
AllHipHop: When did you finally get the inspiration to switch and step outside your comfort zone?
International Nova: My team had been trying to get me to do something different and ended up tricking me. I was in New York working on something for Rockwilder, and had free time in the studio so I started writing and singing thinking it was for another artist. It was in Spanish. When it was done, I told the producer to send it to the artist, but he said he wanted to do the whole album, and that my management had told him that’s what we were doing.
AllHipHop: How’s the reception been?
International Nova: I love it. This brought some excitement. It’s thinking outside the box and doing something new.
AllHipHop: What’s your relationship with Petey Pablo?
International Nova: I met him through Bonecrusher and we hung out and really connected. I had been producing one of his albums, and he said he wanted to be on one of mine. I told him it was Latin, and he said he’d still do it. I sent him “Controla” and in less than an hour, his verse was done.
AllHipHop: What was your reaction to his verse?
International Nova: I never thought I’d have a record with him, let alone call him regularly. It’s a little bit different from him – maybe something more for the ladies.
AllHipHop: Talk about shooting your Latin reality show, “Off Air.”
International Nova: I didn’t want to do any more reality after “Love and Hip Hop.” But Steve Newnez, the producer, said this one is more about Latinos in the game, including their failures, successes and struggles. It puts them in a positive light, which is needed.
AllHipHop: What is the gist of the reality show? What does it showcase?
International Nova: We follow these artists from the beginning of their career. Less drama and more reality. We’ve filmed a few episodes and we’re looking at networks that want to show it.
AllHipHop: How was your time on “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta?”
International Nova: It was cool and helped me connect and network, but it wasn’t really what I wanted my brand to be.
AllHipHop: What is sexy to you?
International Nova: Confidence that maybe gets too close to being overconfident. You need a little swag, some swagger, like a New York female. New Yorkers, we’re different.
AllHipHop: Do you have a type?
International Nova: Not really. I want a woman that is confident in herself. If she has a little swag about herself, I like that too.. Race doesn’t matter. If you have something that gravitates to me, that’s what I’m looking for.
AllHipHop: You’re an advocate for youth. Why is it important for you to give back to the community?
International Nova: So many people are trying to make it in this world, including DJs and models, and only a few of us can reach certain levels. Life can always change fast so it’s important to stay focused and be willing to help someone else with their dreams. Then they can pass it on to the next person trying to come up. Artists have a platform, and if we’re not helping, we’re wasting our energy.
AllHipHop: What can we expect next?
International Nova: We’re trying to figure out where and how to shoot the video for “Controla.” Here? In Puerto Rico? The Dominican Republic? We also have another single ready so we’re working on the visuals for that. The music part of the next album is done but we’re working on the business part. Lots of labels have been contacting me so we need to decide how to do this.
AllHipHop: One thing that fans may not know about you?
International Nova: I love remodeling. I’m doing my house now. I love to build tables. I watch anything on YouTube and think I can make it too. It’s not about money. We were asked to do a reality show about remodeling and selling homes, and we’re still thinking about this.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let people know?
International Nova: Thanks to all of the supporters, including those who have streamed our music. Our team is also appreciated for what they accomplish.
Follow me on social media @internationalnova, “Controla” is now available on streaming platforms.