[Interview] Nora En Pure's Ocean Conservation Efforts Bring Deeper Purpose to Her Music
Jul 26, 2022
7 min read
Throughout the planet's history, people have found the ocean inspiring, wondrous, and fascinating. Being what it is—an ecosystem that humans have explored less than the surface of the moon, is filled with millions of creatures, and supports all life on Earth—anyone could claim tertiary relationships like fascination, wonder, or inspiration. Such is not the case for Nora En Pure. The ocean is a part of her. It’s her deeper purpose. It inhabits her mind, her soul, and her dreams.
“I am not sure why, but I dream of the ocean, of dolphins and whales almost every week and those dreams feel very real. So something definitely got stuck in my mind or my soul,” says Nora En Pure (née Daniela Di Lillo) in answers provided over email.
From Di Lillo’s original music to her DJ sets, her label Purified Records, and most directly, her oceanic conservation efforts, that emotional connection has fueled her career.
Di Lillo is an ambassador for Only One, a global conservation platform that provides education and strategies that encourage conservation. And since 2020, she has worked with Beneath The Waves, a non-profit organization dedicated to implementing technology-based solutions to advance ocean health.
Nora En Pure
The release of “Aquatic” ahead of World Ocean’s Day in 2021 and her Purified Radio 300 live stream from the Bahamas were both in support of Beneath The Waves. And while she is proud of these efforts, she connects with the work on a far more profound level.
“This is one of the coolest things I have been able to reach or get into through my work and gives everything a deeper purpose,” says Di Lillo.
Growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa, she discovered this deeper purpose at a young age. She explored the various topographies of the African wilderness. Still, some of her most cherished memories are of the time she spent on South African beaches with her family, running from the waves and taking a boat out to get a closer look at the whales and dolphins they would see from the shore.
“I have a huge passion for nature in general, it's also where I draw a lot of inspiration from for my music, so it feels like a very organic fit,” says Di Lillo. “The ocean is deep, raw, untamed, dramatic, so powerful yet peaceful and playful. Pretty much exactly what I want my music to be. If a piece pulls those heartstrings in me, makes me feel overwhelmed with euphoria, happiness, and almost a touch of deep sadness at the same time, that’s when I’m truly connected with a track. ”
Listening to Di Lillo’s catalog clarifies her artistic vision in this regard. Her music rises and falls like the ebb and flow of the tides. Her 2013 hit, “Come With Me,” is a piano-driven appeal to the loneliness within. 2017’s “Tears In Your Eye” provides relief after a long period of struggle and pain.
The oscillating nature of emotion is just one aspect of humanity that relates to the movement of the ocean. Di Lillo seeks to translate that connection on all levels with her brand, Purified. Her label, radio show, and events acknowledge that darkness exists yet ultimately offer a respite from it.
“The [Purified] symbol should remind you of a water drop but in a crystallized, preserved form. Musically, it should make the listener feel free of worries and stress. Make them connect with the music on a pure level, just feel the rhythms, get lost in the melodies, and experience freedom.” says Di Lillo. “I think humans struggle a lot these days. We are so much more fragile than what we are trying to portray, I try to focus on that and make the listener feel an honest and positive feeling, like everything’s going to be okay.”
Nora En Pure swimming with Dolphins
Di Lillo’s drive to bring light to a situation that seems only dark punctuates her work in oceanic conservation. However, she is not naive to the grueling task ahead and often feels hopeless and overwhelmed even with her advanced means to contribute.
But this sense of realism has always been paired with Di Lillo’s relationship to the ocean. It is inseparable from her favorite oceanic creature, the humpback whale.
“Looking at a whale’s eye, it feels like you look at the soul of the ocean. I find it hard to describe, but it causes an uneasy feeling in me, a feeling that us humans let them down, didn’t take care of their habitat and the planet in general,” Di Lillo says.
This uneasy feeling is a motivator for Di Lillo. In her various conservation efforts. She seeks to demonstrate the lasting beauty of the ocean paired with a sense of urgency, displaying what needs preservation while providing hope to preserve it.
Nora En Pure with a hammerhead shark
Di Lillo’s manifested this balance with the Purified Radio 300 live stream from Exumas, Bahamas, the location of the world’s first land and sea park. She set up the decks on the Beneath The Waves research vessel, playing as the boat coasted on crystal clear waters.
“Playing on Beneath The Waves' research vessel and situated in one of the most stunning locations just made so much sense to highlight our partnership, linking mesmerizing views with our emotional music and give the whole stream a deeper purpose,” says Di Lillo.
Soon Di Lillo will explore that deeper purpose again through a multi-part mini-series documenting her connection to the ocean.
The first episode, “A Love For The Sea,” is live on the Nora En Pure Instagram and YouTube pages. It features Di Lillo swimming along the seafloor as she shares her thoughts and feelings on the aquatic force that is a part of her dreams.
“In the end it’s the source of life. The source of our planet that keeps everything in balance,” Di Lillo says in the video.
Now it's humanity’s responsibility to honor that balance and do their part. Di Lillio recommends an attitude of engagement.
“I know us DJs are not the best example, so without changing this lifestyle completely and giving up our jobs, I think the best way is to engage in the topic, maybe decide a monthly amount you are willing to give back to nature, this could be for any kind of projects. I sometimes choose shelters in India, bear rescues in Russia, rhino sanctuaries in Africa, Rainforest programs, ocean conservation, replanting of trees or mangroves,” Di Lillo says.
Beyond the dance music industry, Di Lillo recognizes that the individual impact only goes so far but that collective conscious living can make a big difference.
“Don’t waste, take only what you need, use several times, fix things rather than buying new, source locally, educate yourself on policies, stay active on petitions that give back to nature, make your voice heard,” Di Lillo says.