Nadja Benaissa (born April 26, 1982 in Frankfurt am Main) is a German singer, songwriter and occasional actress, who rose to fame as one of the founding members of the successful all-female pop band No Angels, the «biggest-selling German girlband to date, » according to the German media.
After a series of commercially successful releases with the group, Benaissa released her solo debut album Schritt für Schritt in 2006. The semi-autobiographical album was entirely recorded in German language, taking Benaissa’s work further into soul, R&B and jazz music, but enjoyed moderate commercial success. She’s currently recording her second solo album.
Benaissa is the second child born to an Moroccan father, Muhamed Benaissa, and a Bosnian-German mother, Sabina. Raised in a Muslim home alongside her two years older brother Amin, former chairperson of the AStA at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main, she spent much of her childhood in Langen, Hesse, where her parents worked in the catering business.
At the age of nine, Benaissa began playing instruments, learning the piano and the flute. Her early musical interest grew after having auditioned and won a role in the school stage musical Tabaluga during her first year at the Dreieich-Schule-Langen. In her early teenage years, she began writing songs, and at the age of 13 Benaissa started performing in several cover bands within the Frankfurt am Main area, eventually winning the second place at Jugend musiziert, a supraregional music contest for youths.
On October 25, 1999, at the age of 17, Benaissa gave birth to her daughter Leila Jamila, an event which she describes as «the proudest moment of her life. » Although Benaissa and her boyfriend ended their relationship, Benaissa began attending evening classes in pursuit of her O-Levels school certificate..