I-Sha-Vii was born as Nina Sawicka in a small city that you'll probably never visit. Due to no one visiting and her passions being very social she ended up traveling everywhere... but we'll get to that in a bit.
She had started her classical music education (being trained in piano as her main instrument) years before she learned how to read and write. She played J. S. Bach's inventions about the same time as trying to figure 2x2 for the very first time.
During her music school years she received training in classical singing, as she was a part - later on a soloist - of a choir.
That's when she was named I-Sha-Vii by one of the people she loved most but we'll come back to it later.
It seems that although her mum really wanted her to play the piano, Nina's dreams were louder. Beetween the drums and the saxophone she picked up the sexier of the two, just so as to woo men.
[Years and instruments later she has not learned how to play the drums yet.]
As a teenager she received some vocal training at Blues Nad Bobrem workshops. That's where she was first noticed by Roman Puchowski with whom she later on recorded a few blues tunes and performed live as a guest of Puchowski's shows. Soon after that she performed an ad-hoc concert with Tomasz Kruk at Galicja Blues Festival and decided that’s it; that’s her calling.
Nina recorded her first original song Looking for a friend (music by Paweł Pilecki) with Easy Money. The song was published by Mediapixel on 'Krakowskie Klimaty Muzyczne’ - an album promoting the best around-the-blues musicians from Cracow.
In the academic year 2013/14 Nina began her vocals course at the Cracow School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, where she was trained by the best jazz and theatrical singers.
She founded Moonshine Oddity with Grzegorz Kosek in 2013. Soon Maciej Sitkowski joined on bass guitar/acoustic guitar.
In 2014 Moonshine Oddity run in the bands' competition at the Bluesroads Festival in Cracow. Nina got awarded in a category of ’stage persona’ that was created especially for her by Wojciech Waglewski (leader of the jury and Polish music legend). Waglewski reportedly said ‘vocals category is not what captures her work; she’s got the voice, she’s got the looks, she’s got great songs… it’s a full package’.
Nina picked up the guitar while hitch hiking around the USA [scroll down for more details] and in 2015 published her EP as Nina Ann.
In 2018 Nina decided to go back to the name given to her in the past by her friend Mikolaj: I-Sha-Vii. Here's her statement:
As a child, I had a dear friend – with whom I haven’t been in touch with for long years now. He called me I-Sha-Vii and said it meant ‘a night flower’ in one of the Native American languages. He chose this name because my purple hair made him think of a flower.
The things that brought us together were the music, Crazy Horse and Korczak Ziolkowski (links on the bottom). The beautiful stories about fighting for your dreams and freedom, and how your identity depends on what you believe in and what you love.
Something that’s always spoken to me.
It wasn’t until recently that I understood my friend’s wisdom. I now want to be, what he’s always been. I feel like this name will represent my path better than the names chosen by my parents.
In 2018 I-Sha-Vii toured around Poland opening for Chris Jagger and his acoustic trio. 'It was pleasure meeting Chris Jagger, Charlie Hart and Elliet Mackrell who had so much valuable experience to share. We started with sharing the van and meals and ended up stories and soon: the stage.'
On the road
Although Nina had previously hitched hiked around Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Gibraltar), 2014 was very different. She decided to travel around the US; it was her first trip of that length (time-wise: 3 months and distance-wise: over 8 thousand km) and the first trip without a companion.
Following tracks of the music that she loved so much (and the history behind her name, I-Sha-Vii), Nina began her journey in July 2014. On her way she met most beautiful people who later became topics of her songs. She also met some crazy people who became topics of her thrilling stories that she shared on a few radio stations and on her blog Hitch Hiking USA and, in real time, her Facebook page.
Most importantly though, I-Sha-Vii met herself. It was a spiritual journey of self-discovery, music's adoration, sharing dreams, learning and teaching how to be human.
I-Sha-Vii got her guitar in Charlottesville, VA. That's when she first realised it was her destiny, a part of who she was.
Later on Nina traveled around Europe and the UK, including the long treck of Italy-Monaco-France-Spain-Gibraltar in 2016.
Hitch hiking for freedom, she'd like to prove that seeing the world, experiencing, learning and loving is not about the money. It's about how much you want it.
To answer the reoccuring question of 'aren't you afraid?' and the often added 'especially as a woman on your own' I'd like to say 'yes but courage is not about the lack of fear'. And most important: why would I be afraid of following my dreams any more than the men are? Just because there are some evil people in the world and those who do not believe in equality, doesn't mean I will spend my life in fear of being treaded unfairly. I will go out and prove that I am no less and inspire all women, introverts, artists and people who were told they were less to follow me because it's the most amazing feeling to be proud of yourself; to look back and think 'I did something amazing, I followed my dreams'.
During her travels I-Sha-Vii got in touch with the universe and all living and experienced the most incredible things about which you can read on her BLOG. Here's just a few of them:
-getting kidnapped by a porn producer in a wheelchair
-getting kicked out of a country (joke of a country)
-dancing in the streets of New Orleans for a while night and a day to the music at Satchmo Festival (having never danced before)
-fighting with a monkey
-being saved by a universe and ending up with police rides across Texas
-finding one of her favorite US people in Barcelona
-bumping on her bosses friends in LA
-bumping onto Steve Cropper and running away squeaking like a little girl who just bumped on her hero and doesn't know what to do
-going to a hippie birthday in the middle of nowwhere with a desert rock band
-having conversations and connecting with people with no language in common
-appearing in a documentary about the music in the town of blues
-finding accomodation at a funeral home
-performing ad hoc at a Theatre
-meeting the king of the hobos
-lots of amazing lifts with people who changed I-Sha-Vii's life or whose lives she changed