"Singing was not a personal choice for me but a compelling necessity."

Nervosa frontwoman Prika Amaral talks about her new role in the Thrash Metal group, the fresh album "Jailbreak," fulfilling her long-held dream, and her priorities in selecting new band members.

Amanda Dizdarevic


29. Sep 2023

Prika Amaral

Prika, your new album brings two significant changes. One of them concerns your role: You're no longer just the guitarist but also take on the vocals.

Prika: That's right! Singing isn't entirely new to me, but it's undoubtedly a significant change. In the past, I primarily focused on backing vocals and lower tones, which put me in the background. However, as the frontwoman of a thrash metal band, I can't sing solely in those lower registers. So, I had to venture into medium and high tones and learn different vocal techniques, and I had very limited time to do it.

How did you manage this challenge in such a short time?

Prika: I improvised in the studio and used different methods with each recording. Honestly, I couldn't remember much of what I did the day before because I was constantly trying something new. It was a very experimental process that was incredibly fun at the same time.

On "Jailbreak," you don't sound like a beginner at all. Your vocals are very confident.

Prika: Thank you! I didn't feel particularly confident during the recording. My confidence came once I was on stage. At some point, I reached a level of nervousness where I had to switch into a "fuck it" mode. So, I opened my mouth and went for it without specific intentions or expectations regarding my vocal style. After combining singing and playing guitar for the first time on our tour, I became much more confident and started to feel really comfortable. It was strange. At first, I had doubts about whether I could even do it, and now it feels like I've been doing it for years.

How did you initially approach singing? Did you take singing lessons or practice on your own?

Prika: Both. I learned the most important things from a friend who gave me lessons. Mayara (Note: Mayara Puertas, singer of the Brazilian band Torture Squad) helped me master different vocal registers, taught me proper warm-ups, and adjusted my lifestyle to protect my voice. She also taught me to appreciate my own style and just do what I could already do, but better. Her advice was extremely helpful. Of course, I practiced on my own as well. I remember setting up a small studio at home: I placed a microphone, lined the walls with blankets, and spent the entire day screaming in that room – without any guidance. My main goal was to practice the setlist and the old Nervosa songs and figure out if I could actually do it and if my voice could handle it.

The fact that you're now the vocalist also means you're leading the band.

Prika: That's right. I think it was clear because I'm the only remaining founding member of Nervosa and I bring the most experience. While Diva (Note: Diva Satanica) was our singer (Note: from 2020 to 2023), I consciously kept a low profile, avoiding giving interviews or speaking more than she did as a sign of respect. I would only answer when questions were directed specifically at me. I wanted to give Diva as much space as possible and put her in the foreground because she was the frontwoman and the singer, not me. When there was another change in the lineup, and I took over her position, everyone, especially Nervosa fans, felt more comfortable knowing that a familiar face was handling the vocals.

Has your approach to songwriting changed since you started singing?

Prika: Not necessarily because I had been writing lyrics and composing some vocal lines for Nervosa since the beginning. But previously, I only did it when inspiration struck me. I wanted to give the vocalist enough creative space. So, I made suggestions occasionally, that was all. Now, I have to take on everything myself and think about everything. Initially, it was a big challenge because it was so much at once. However, I enjoy it, especially since I had been doing the same thing for years.

Did you ever expect to become a singer?

Prika: Never! I've loved the guitar – and still do. I had the opportunity to sing once before, but at that time, I didn't see myself in that position and decided against it. Now I had to do it. Singing wasn't a personal choice for me, but a compelling necessity. I found it so hard to believe in myself.

Why was that?

Prika: Many people told me that I didn't have the right technique for singing and that I would only harm my voice and throat.

Did you actually believe those statements?

Prika: Unfortunately, yes. When I started singing, I quickly realized that all those doubts were not true. The tables have turned now. I hear so often that I should have been the singer from the beginning. I've asked myself multiple times if I should regret my past decision. (laughs) Maybe I do a little, but I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.

Not only have there been vocal changes, but also instrumental changes within the band: Instead of one guitar, you now have two.

Prika: That's right! This has opened up so many new possibilities for us. In all the bands I've played with before, there were always two guitars. That meant that when composing, I always had to think about two guitars. With Helena (Note: Helena Kotina) and me, we have two guitarists again. Helena is an extremely talented musician who can play everything. So, we could realize all our ideas, and it gave us a sense of freedom.

For "Jailbreak," you've invited two special guests, including Slayer and Exodus legend Gary Holt. How did this collaboration come about?

Prika: We have a list of musicians we'd like to have on our records, and Gary was one of the top candidates. I sent him a message and asked if he'd like to contribute to one of our songs. Without hesitation, he agreed, even though his schedule was already full. Collaborating with Gary made a long-awaited dream come true.

What about your second guest, Lena Scissorhands (Note: singer of Infected Rain and Death Dealer Union)?

Prika: We chose Lena because she has a great modern singing style. Her involvement is particularly special for us because she's the first woman ever to guest on a Nervosa album. In the past, we had some guest musicians on our records, but they were all male. That couldn't continue like that, so we contacted Lena, and she immediately agreed. The track with her turned out fantastic; she added a variety of new nuances. Our voices are quite different but harmonize well together.

Why did you choose "Superstition Failed" and "When The Truth Is A Lie" for Lena and Gary?

Prika: We selected "Superstition Failed" for Lena because the track has a lot of groove and contains both old-school and modern elements. You can hear Gary on "When The Truth Is A Lie" because it's an old-school song heavily inspired by Slayer. Plus, it has a longer instrumental passage where we could perfectly place an extended solo.

Can you tell me what didn't go well or what worried you the most?

Prika: Yes, getting everything done on time was a concern. We had many last-minute issues, including the lineup change. I was extremely unsure about whether I was good enough. But as I mentioned before, I hit the "fuck it" button in the recording studio and focused on giving my best. Inside the band, everything went smoothly, and we had a lot of fun.

It's great to hear that things worked out so well with your new bandmates. What was it like for you to find them?

Prika: It was really challenging to find new members because there are countless talented women out there. Many believed it was impossible for me to come back with a strong lineup. But I managed it. I found something truly special with Helena, Hel (Hel Pyre, bass), and Michaela (Michaela Naydenova, drums).

What did you focus on the most when selecting the new Nervosa members?

Prika: When making my decision, the geographical location, logistics, and personal goals of each woman played a significant role. The past lineup changes taught me how to assemble a good group. Although we have many options, there are some limitations: many women are very young, studying, starting their own businesses, or having babies. Some are initially convinced that they want to be part of a band. However, they soon realize how demanding it can be, and their opinions change quickly, which has happened frequently in the past.

Fortunately, your search was successful. With Hel, Helena, and Michaela, you've found outstanding additions to Nervosa.

Prika: Yes, I think so too. The most important thing is that everyone is happy and surrounded by people who are content with what they do. When someone's satisfaction starts to wane, it's time to take a new path. Such a decision must be accepted and respected by every individual. All Nervosa members, including the former ones, have always had great respect for each other.

Sign up for our Newsletter to stay updated on all things

Follow us on Instagram