Austria's Mavi Phoenix blends pop, rap, and R&B into a hard-to-classify but catchy mix. Born Marlene Nader to a family with Syrian roots (her grandfather came to Vienna in the '70s as a refugee), the rapper-singer/songwriter-multi-instrumentalist grew up attending English-speaking schools and listening to rock acts such as David Bowie and Queens of the Stone Age.
When she was 11, she began playing guitar and producing her own music in GarageBand after her father gave her an old MacBook. Her musical tastes grew to include Kanye West and Drake, as well as Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga, and Nader chose the performing name Mavi Phoenix as a tribute to actor River Phoenix as well as for its symbolic meaning of renewal. In 2013, Phoenix won Lautstark, an Austrian music competition; she followed this success with her 2014 debut EP, My Fault, which featured the single "Green Queen." Though she began studying political science in 2015, she released the M.P. collaboration "Little by Little" that year. In 2016, she issued "Quiet," the lead track from her 2017 EP Young Prophet, which also spawned the singles "Love Longtime," "Fly," and "Aventura." ~ Heather Phares