BYU student creates music to raise awareness

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BYU commercial music student Nadia Khristean always dreamed of becoming a singer.

Khristean releases music videos through YouTube and other social media platforms to raise awareness about refugees, suicide prevention, bullying, addiction recovery and promoting inner beauty. She recently released a music video for refugee awareness and another for suicide prevention.

“I think I’ve always wanted to become a singer as long as I can remember, but specifically to become a social media influencer or a YouTuber,” Khristean said. “Growing up, I was always wondering how I could become a singer without compromising my values. When I came home from my mission, I had a very specific impression of what I had to do with music.”

Khristean said she wanted to use her platform and talent to spread awareness about issues going on around the world.

She produced an original song “Broken” that she co-authored with BYU student Travis Edwards. They released the song in February.

Khristean said she wrote this song for a songwriting class assignment with Edwards. A few months later, Khristean revisited the song and wanted to produce it for a cause.

“I do music for causes and I’m always looking for the right cause for the right song,” Khristean said. “While we were writing the song, I kept thinking what cause this song was going to be for. To be honest, I think it hit me when I was sitting in a sacrament meeting.”

Nadia Khristean performs at the American International School of Utah in an anti-bullying assembly. (Nathan Tanner)

Khristean and Edwards rewrote some of the song lyrics to gear the song toward refugees. They wanted to convey the message that “we are all humans.” Khristean said she wanted to portray a feeling through the lyrics that the audience could connect with.

In the music video, Khristean sings, “Let the world freeze, give me a moment and let me see that I’m not broken. If I’m in pieces, please don’t leave me there, ’cause just your presence tells me you care.”

“The statement we really wanted to make on this video was to explain no matter who we are, where we’ve been and wherever we come from, we’re all humans, and we’re a little hurt and we sometimes feel broken,” Khristean said.

The music video for this song features Mariama Kallon, a refugee from Sierra Leone, who left her country during the 1990s. Kallon served an LDS mission in Utah, stayed in the U.S. after her mission and is now a public speaker.

Kallon is seen in the music video writing in a journal.

“My whole family was killed, and I was the lone survivor. I am left alone to tell the story,” Kallon wrote in the music video. “I was saved by God.”

Khristean said she wanted to share the Kallon’s story to show others the journeys of refugees

Refugee Action Network Executive Director Cassandra Southam said Khristean is a beautiful person inside and out.

“She truly cares about vulnerable populations,” Southam said. “Refugees are a vulnerable population right now and she has chosen to promote awareness.”

Southam said Khristean’s inspiring music and music video can help people become advocates.

“I think anytime you can bring awareness to the forefront of people’s mind and to be an advocate — whether that’s through singing or any other media — it resonates with people, especially with music,” Southam said.

Khristean writes her own music, but also covers other artists’ songs. She released a music video covering Lady Gaga’s “Million Reasons” featuring Monica Moore Smith and Yahosh on March 22.

This music video features a young dancer who choreographed a dance sharing the story of her father’s suicide. Khristean said she wanted to create awareness for suicide prevention with this video.