49: Nahko - Why is forgiveness another name for power?
Nahko is a singer, songwriter, and musician who blends socially conscious folk and rock with soulful, alt-R&B, genre-bending production. In a career built on reflective, deeply personal songwriting, Nahko’s new album, ‘Take Your Power Back,’ grapples with grief, trauma, reconciliation, and learning to face heartache head-on by embracing the peace and serenity that comes with understanding and acceptance. It’s an album of growth, courage, and resilience, a testament to the beauty and evolution that can come from fully inhabiting our pain. It’s also proof that our true power —spiritual, physical, and emotional — inevitably comes from within.
Born to a Puerto Rican/Native American mother and a Filipino father, Nahko was adopted by a white, conservative, Christian family in Oregon and raised under the name David Bell. He later learned that his birth was the result of a rape, that his biological mother had been fourteen and sold into sex work at the time he was conceived, and that his biological father was murdered. A sixth-generation Apache, he took on the moniker of Nahko — a play on his middle name, Nahkohe-ese, which translates to Little Bear — as a way of reclaiming his roots, and in his late teens and twenties began traveling the country, spending time in Hawaii and Alaska as he wrestled with identity, purpose, and perception.
Backed by his band, Medicine For The People, Nahko released his debut album, ‘On The Verge,’ in 2011, but his breakthrough came two years later with ‘Dark As Night', a critical and commercial breakout landing in the Top Ten on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart and earning festival slots at Outside Lands, Electric Forest, Wanderlust, Bumbershoot, and more. Over the next four years, he would release two more albums with his band, solidifying his reputation as an outspoken activist and advocate for social and environmental justice.
A few of my favorite songs of his are this one, and this one, and this one, and this one. Also, here is the song, San Quentin, inspired by the visit to the jail that he referenced near the end of the conversation.
Here are links to check out Nahko and his music:
Apple Music: apple.co/36Wz4sj
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