Nadia Ali

Nadia Ali @ PalladiumNadia Ali


iio is Austria-born Dj-producer-songwriter Markus Moser and Mediterranean singer-songwriter Nadia Ali, who grew up in queens, New York. "The name iio doesn't really mean anything," Nadia says. "It was inspired by my Sony vaio laptop computer that I used for writing lyrics," she explains. "At first, we called ourselves vaiio-with an extra "i"-because we thought it sounded very space-aged. A few months later, a friend advised us to come up with something different so that the folks at Sony wouldn't bug us. So we dropped the "va" and ended up with iio."

iio's roots trace back to the summer of 2000, when Markus and Nadia were introduced by a mutual acquaintance who worked with he exotic chanteuse at the Versace corporate offices in NYC. "I was struggling to find a talented singer whose mind hadn't been poisoned by the industry," Markus explains. "My friend said to me, 'I work with this girl and she's the sweetest thing, but she's insane. She's supposed to sit there and answer the phone but she sings all the time and she has a really nice voice.'" Days later, the two met and Moser was instantly captivated by Nadia's unique vocal style. "She's a tiny girl but her voice is very rich, emotional, sensual and mysterious, and she delivers it without velocity behind it-without belting," he says.

Markus was equally impressed by Nadia's imaginative lyrics. "They were emotional without being too abstract," he says. "You will never hear her sing the kind of cheesy rhymes that you will find in every terrible dance record."

"I believe songwriting should always be clever and poetic," Nadia explains. "I think of myself as a very sensual person and, of course, a hopeless romantic," she continues. "Like most women, I'm very emotional, but I feel like I was sent here to comfort and move others through music, which, to me, is the universal language of the human spirit."

Not long after their first encounter, the duo entered the studio and began working on a number of urban pop tracks, but they didn't find their signature sound until Nadia successfully prodded Markus to indulge her fancy to make a dance record. "I didn't want to do it" Moser recalls. " I had done done dance pretty much all my life because I come from a Dj background. I wanted to do something else because I like so many different styles of music that the thought of doing dance again bored me." Still, Markus was no match for Nadia's persuasive powers, which ultimately spawned "rapture."

The immediate success of "rapture" convinced Markus that, like it or not, iio's fate had been sealed. Why, then, has it taken three years for the album? "I really wanted to give people what I would like an artist to give me," Markus says. "I'm a perfectionist and I wanted to release the kind of album where every song could be a single. I want people to connect with our music so that when they put on Poetica in their cd player, they're like, 'man, this is some music that I can have on constant replay.'"