Paulo Coelho’s 1988 novel, “The Alchemist,” tells the story of a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago who, after having recurring dreams of finding treasure in Egypt, travels to the Middle Eastern country in search of the foretold riches.
Santiago might fit the description of what Jahan Nostra calls a “sleepwalker.”
For the Stamford emcee, a sleepwalker is someone who “takes their vision, whatever their dreaming, and turns it into reality.”
Nostra is in pursuit of that same state of being on “Sleepwalking,” his debut studio album, which he celebrates with a listening party at SoNo Lounge, 11 Washington St., Norwalk on Thursday, June 20 from 9 p.m. to closing.
Recorded at Smoke House Studios in Bridgeport and the home recording studio of Stamford resident Poppa Pill, who also produced the record, “Sleepwalking” (EVER So Prominent Records) is a loose concept album exploring the significance of dreams — both in the our sleeping and waking states.
“Throughout history, dreams have been the curiosity of many philosophers and humanity,” said Nostra, who cites Coehlo, investigative journalist Gary Webb and film director Antoine Fuqua as influences on the album. “I’ve always been curious about dreams. We dream every day and dream every night.”
The concepts (Nostra also touches on love, social justice and the struggle of the independent emcee) are coupled with dense, gritty beats; chopped, eerie vocal and sound samples; and flourishes of live instrumentation, including Nostra’s own turn at the keys.
“I’m very inspired by Stevie Wonder,” said Nostra, who also counts 2-Pac, Nas, Lupe Fiasco among his musical influences.
Although “Sleepwalking” marks first full-length LP as Jahan Nostra, Nostra has been rapping since he was a teenager; at 13, he signed a record deal with the independent label BMX Entertainment to release his first album, “Da Shorty.” Since then, he has been growing his career bit-by-bit, releasing singles, EPs and mixtapes independently, while performing at local venues, including Two Boots and Acoustic Cafe in Bridgeport, and in New York City. His day job? Working in facilities at Tudor Investment Corporation in Greenwich.
On his journey in “The Alchemist,” Santiago meets an old king, Melchizedek, who tells him of the Personal Legend — “what you have always wanted to accomplish.”
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it,” the king tells him.
With “Sleepwalker,” Nostra sees himself inching closer to finding his Personal Legend, to making his dream a reality.
“Success stories come from diligence,” he said. “With this album, I see heavy buzz, label interest. I see heavier notoriety — enough to catapult me to where public will say this album deserves to be heard.”
Check out “Truthfully,” the first single from “Sleepwalking,” below: