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Zay Nova is a new Canadian country singer-songwriter and radio producer. He was born in a small village called Sempan on Bangka Island, Indonesia. As with many kids, one of his teachers asked, “When you grew up, what do you want to be?” He answered the question by saying, “I want to be a songwriter!” As a 7-year-old he knew nothing about songwriting. Zay Nova was just a poor country boy who didn’t know music except for the lullaby his mother sang before he went to bed. He never saw musical instruments and did not know music at all because there was neither radio and nor TV at home where he grew up.


Electricity didn’t come to his village until 1990. However, Zay Nova left his hometown at the tender age of 17 and went to Madura Island in Java to study at an Islamic Boarding School. He was introduced to country music while Shania Twain was very popular in country music around the world. He started to learn and memorize some lyrics from the cover of her album and taught himself more English by listening to western country music.

After finishing school in 2002, Zay moved again to the Special Region of Yogyakarta close to central Java to study Arabic Literature. Shortly thereafter, he moved to the Communication and Broadcast faculty at the State Islamic University, Sunan Kalijaga, in Yogyakarta. In that city, Zay discovered western country music which was broadcast by a local Christian radio station. He fell in love right away with the music and started to teach himself to be a radio announcer and scriptwriter. When he felt confident enough, he applied for a job at the same radio station that played western country music. He was successful in his job application. From the very first day he was hired, he improved his English by bringing a dictionary to the station and practicing how to pronounce each word from many country songs on the daily radio playlist. In 2005, while attending university, he kept working at the radio station as a means to pay his university tuition. At the same time, he started a band and wrote many songs.

After the band broke up in 2010, he played solo at some local events and then moved to Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, in 2014. Zay started a new career in TV and as a radio producer, audio commercial production, and video producer. He also worked as a host for a Jakarta TV program. He decided to move to Canada in 2017 to start a new life and adventure. He chose St. John’s, Newfoundland, as his home. To this day, St. John’s is where his heart is. 

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